New Year's resolutions are all about improving your life and becoming a better person, so in the spirit of growth and meaningful change, we'd like to propose a resolution that you can actually stick to - and one that'll affect lasting change.
Because most of our time is spent in the office, it seems like the most logical place to make a difference. Fostering a healthy, collaborative company culture can do just that, so it's definitely a worthwhile goal for the New Year.
So what exactly is a company culture?
A company culture refers to the shared values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs and habits of people within an organisation. It is maintained and passed on to new members of an organisation - whether intentionally or not. Most importantly it affects every interaction between every stakeholder of the organisation.
It's the reason that companies like Apple and Google are rated as some of the best places to work in the world, while at the same time making it onto the list of organisations that boast the most exceptional customer and user experiences.
It's simple, happy employees that don't work in silos but rather as one functioning ecosystem tend to be happier, less stressed and more efficient. They also embrace their own personality, and especially with customer facing staff, they find it easier to listen and help customers when they work for an organisation that listens to them and helps breakdown the barriers preventing them from doing their job.
company culture happens whether you plan it or not.
But if you're actively managing and planning it then company culture becomes a vehicle for doing better business.
A vibrant company culture starts with the individual. What can you do to brighten your work space? How can you help your colleagues? What are the little thing you can do or change to make everyone's lives more pleasant?
It's a nice thought and granted it will do a lot to boost morale and make everyone feel more at home, but it isn't all sentimental. For a company culture to thrive, it requires organisational commitment and support. This means that it is processes and internal mechanics need to be turned around too, and employees must be allowed to actively contribute to this process.
Just like shedding those extra KG's or kicking a bad habit, it's not going to happen overnight and it takes continual effort from everyone to keep it off the ground. That being said, company culture isn't just a buzz word, it's actually rewarding to work in a space that supports you, with people who understand you and a shared purpose to keep you focussed.
In a few simple lines, the best way to build company culture is to:
Get everyone on the same page (this is where the big team building events and presentations come in).
Create an ethos and something to aspire to, customer centricity is a good place to start.
Transform the physical office space into something inspiring that reminds everyone why they're there.
Take the time to do the fun things that build spirit, even if it does seem silly at the time.
Promote discussions, and use modern technology to connect your office and keep engagement going.
Encourage individual growth, goals and commitments.
Make sure that change is measurable; keep track of perception shifts by asking the right questions.
Ensure sustainability by using a strategic rollout with plenty of opportunities for reflection and consolidation.
Most importantly, building a company culture that lasts is just as important as a customer experience, in fact they go hand in hand. As a Customer Experience Consultancy, it's most definitely the case that when we do employee experience building of any kind, it has a marked effect on the bottom line of Customer Experience.
When a company culture is defined and shared by the organisation, it has the follow-on effect of making customer experience simple to deliver and a reward for employees rather than a requirement.
Even if every one of your personal and professional resolutions come crashing down by February, this particular one should be a priority for the year - try it out and you won't be disappointed.
Interact is a Level 2 BEE brand experience and research consultancy. We use innovative technology and propriety methodologies to provide comprehensive insight into the consumer's mindset and how they engage with brands.
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