Culture Audit to Keep a Business Thriving

business culture 13.06.19

Collaborative environment. Flexible schedules. Free coffee. Happy hours. “Unlimited” paid time off.

Sound familiar? This is a generic list of workplace perks and benefits often found in job descriptions spanning multiple industries. Today, there is an increased amount of attention placed on company culture. But this term is a bit open to interpretation, and not every culture is created equal.

In fact, some of the aforementioned perks can be quite the opposite, depending on the types of employees and the nature of the work being performed.

Often, employee morale is still at a low, even with the so-called perks and benefits that the workplace offers. So what gives?

Sure, free coffee is great. Don’t get rid of that perk. But often those in positions of leadership fail to use perception and observation skills to get a true sense of morale among employees. This lack of attention to detail can be destructive for a business, as staff turnover is a problem that is difficult to overcome.

Observation and communication are easy to implement ways to take a closer look at the workplace culture and employee morale of a business. Through simple observation and open communication, any workplace can be improved, which leads to greater success and higher quality work.

Observe and Report

Observation is a powerful skill, and it’s one whose benefits are often underestimated. Every business is busy, and it can be difficult to set aside time for tasks that aren’t directly related to revenue-earning work.

But employee morale and the environment in which employees work should still be a priority to every leader. After all, engaged employees will be better performers and need less correction, which only serves to improve efficiency in the workplace.

Take a step back and simply observe the employees at work. Have conversations with them, openly and without judgment. Watch how they interact with each other.

What do you see? Do you see grumpy-looking small groups that seem to love to commiserate with one another? Do you see employees taking too much time to check their phones and social media platforms during working hours?

It’s easy to jump right into problem-solving mode, singling out employees who seem to be “troublemakers” or less productive than their counterparts. But don’t act impulsively. Remember, the task at hand here is simply to observe.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Simply observing employee interactions and then immediately trying to solve every issue that comes up isn’t always the answer. Instead, use this new information to then facilitate open and meaningful communication.

This can be done in several ways. Surveys are an informal way to gather feedback, and some employees may be more open given the more anonymous nature of such methods.

Small groups can also be utilized for facilitating conversation, as can one-on-one meetings. Be careful, however, not to invite an employee into a situation in which he or she may feel trepidation or fear retribution for communicating openly.

Instead, try to find ways to invite employees to speak freely, opening up a dialogue that can lead to improvements. After all, those in positions of leadership are not always privy to the more minute details of a more junior employee’s workday. Ask for this insight, rather than assuming to know already.

Company culture is a concept highly touted by many modern businesses who boast about casual attire and open offices. But appearances can be deceiving. A business that truly cares about employee engagement and morale will take a deeper look, a more observant one, and find ways to make improvements along the way.

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