Peter Drucker’s quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” resonates as we reassess workforce virtuality. An opportunity has come to reassess and double down on corporate culture. I prioritized culture in founding RareMed, hired with intense selectivity and constantly work on it. The result is a workplace with unmatched engagement and documented satisfaction.
But culture is a nebulous concept that requires constant attention to maximize its potential. To cultivate a workplace culture where people can thrive, you need:
- A defined experience. Culture sets the context for every workplace action. Leaders must carefully define which experiences they want to promote with a desired culture, then identify systems that manifest those experiences.
- A unified message. A culture must symbiotically relate to mission and values, as these define expectations to strive for and emulate.
- A strong narrative. Leaders need to invest in a narrative that connects the company’s mission to employees’ hearts and be open-minded and listen to employees to cultivate that bond.
- Foundational values. Respect and inclusiveness are foundational. A value-generating culture thrives on interactions, and employees must be given a safe, level playing field to engage with each other.
- Active management: Leaders must actively cultivate culture and individuals or systems that sap cultural strength must be removed. Savvy leaders remain vigilant in weeding out detractors while growing culture champions.
- Constant assessment: Culture is dynamic and responds to exogenous shocks and neglect. Leaders must continuously assess the corporate culture’s health and manage supporting systems to maintain engagement and alignment with mission and values.
Culture into satisfaction
Employers should invest in building sharable, relatable messages about the significance of culture. Video series, web interfaces and immersive experiences can provide tastes of culture to new hires. To turn culture into satisfaction:
- Collect feedback. Collecting authentic feedback is critical to managing a dynamic culture and can ensure investments in culture translate to results. Displaying an openness to feedback can bolster engagement and perceived authenticity.
- Act as role models. Leaders who lead by example and actively hold themselves to the same standard as their teams can bolster culture. Leaders should display buy-in to culture in visible ways that encourage others to follow.
- Provide transparent communication. Creating opportunities for team members to have direct, transparent dialogue with leaders fosters unity. Employees trust leaders who sit eye-to-eye with them to authentically answer challenging questions.
- Offer quantifiable benefits. Employee satisfaction can boost productivity and improve quality, but it can also drive organizational magnetism — the ability to recruit and retain employees. Happy employees stay longer, are vocal about positive experiences and lead others to join.
Corporate culture sets the context for every action in the workplace and creates the basis for durable associate satisfaction. Leaders must invest time, thought and resources to define and cultivate culture to maximize its impact.
Dr. Gordon Vanscoy is Chairman & CEO of RareMed Solutions