There is an age-old debate as to whether the chicken came before the egg or vice versa. A similar debate is occurring in regard to company culture and leadership. Some insist leadership shapes the organization’s culture while others argue the company culture shapes its leadership.
The truth is leadership dictates company culture, regardless of whether it is for the better or worse. Every leader should be aware that organizational culture stems from leadership. In fact, recent research conducted by Deloitte found nearly 95% of executives and 90% of employees insist a distinct corporate culture is essential to a business’s success. The challenge lies in determining how to best improve leadership to promote a positive work environment and inclusive culture that makes employees feel comfortable.
How To Improve Company Culture with Exemplary Leadership
Most people assume employees leave businesses as they are unhappy with the work or the pay. However, a 2018 study of 25,000 employees reveals poor management is actually the top cause of employee departures. The truth is employees typically leave jobs based on the people they work with instead of the actual work. Workplace culture largely hinges on company leadership. Leaders are challenged with establishing an organizational vision, the company’s values and also expectations of the group as a collective. Let’s take a look at a few ways leaders will be able to make a positive impact on their company’s culture.
1. Foster A Learning Environment
Learning should not cease at the time of college graduation. If your team feels as though they cannot learn anything new at work and are simply performing the same activities over and over again, it is only a matter of time until they look for greener grass elsewhere. Do your part to create a work environment in which employees have the opportunity to learn and they will prove that much more inclined to remain with your business for years or even decades.
2. Look Beyond Simply Productivity
Productivity is certainly important yet it is not the only thing that matters. Your company’s employee retention rate will climb higher if you partially shift your focus to what makes your company an attractive place to work. Provide opportunities for advancement, evaluate employees based on productivity as well as their impact on the workplace as a whole and your leadership in company culture will be respected. Continue to make progress and you just might create a workplace that attracts “rainmaker” employees rather than drive them away.
3. Provide Clarity in Job Positions
Employees need and deserve transparency in terms of their role at work, which positions are soon to be available and the specific functions of each job. Make this information perfectly clear to your employees and they will prove to be more likely to stay with your company and also spread the word about your company's merits as an employer.
4. Maintain Ethical Standards That Support Company Values
If your company’s ethics don’t align with your values, employees will identify the hypocrisy and venture elsewhere. Rules pertaining to workplace activity should reinforce your organization’s overarching values. Make these rules and the logic behind them crystal clear and your team will revere your leadership that much more.
5. Hold Yourself Accountable and Lead By Example
Employees pay close attention to how executives and other leaders conduct themselves in the office. If you make a mistake or violate a workplace rule, hold yourself accountable. Make it clear the rules and overarching workplace accountability are also applicable to leaders and your team really will be that much more motivated to give their all at work.
6. Sweat the Small Stuff to Develop The Right Company Culture
The subtleties of your leadership style and the manner in which executives interact with staff members ultimately determine the resulting culture. Though no one seems to want to admit it, the truth is the actions and words of those in positions of power really do influence the workplace culture as well as employee opinions and their resulting actions. Do your part to create a healthy work culture and your star employees will remain on board for the long haul, performing that much better as a result of benevolent leadership.
Reach out to our experienced HR professionals today to find out more about how to foster a healthy culture at your company that proves mutually beneficial for your organization’s leaders as well as its hard working employees.