We all know companies that are committed to culture tend to perform better. According to London Business School’s research, for every dollar invested into culture, businesses see a $6 return. Another study, conducted by Columbia University, shows that the probability of job turnover at a company boasting a rich culture is just 13.9%, while the likelihood of turnover at a company with a poor culture is 48.4%.
Within busy days filled with budgets, steering committee meetings and information overload, executives can forget the importance of investing time, energy and focus in organisational culture. As a result, some leadership teams are making incredible company culture mistakes.
Let’s look at the top five mistakes that kill organisational culture.
1. Lack of clarity
When an employee makes a decision, it is imperative that they understand the company’s goals, values and behaviours. Failure to communicate vision and strategy leads to a confused and unfocussed culture.
A clearly communicated vision gives employees something to rally around. Employees who feel they are part of something bigger than themselves are more engaged and go above and beyond for the organisation. Therefor clarity helps to create a cohesive organisational culture, and strategy should be translated into department goals, which inform employee KPIs, and day-to-day actions.
2. Lack of consistent communication
Organisations that don’t communicate enough, only use corporate speak or don’t deliver upon promises are more likely to fail as they don’t listen to employees and consequently miss risks and opportunities.
Messaging should be transparent, frequent, come via multiple channels and be authentic. If employees need a dictionary to understand the CEO’s message, it’s lost on them.
A successful culture is one that encourages honest two-way communication. Key messages and leadership behaviour need to be consistent and in alignment.
Employees also need to feel they have opportunities to provide their input. Develop a culture of excellence in which all team member input is encouraged and valued.
3. Lack of feedback
Poor feedback, review and performance systems can be extremely damaging to an organisation.
Without adequate feedback, employees can become anxious, disengaged, unproductive and even rebellious. This leads to increased absenteeism, missed targets, poor working relationships, blame, and more time spent in meetings fixing things rather than planning and implementing.
Encourage leadership teams, line management and other team members to give constant feedback, whether it is downwards, upwards or sidewards.
Consistent and predictable feedback processes, such as regular team meetings and performance discussions, help provide staff with platforms to discuss what they are feeling with the right people. The result is a culture of continuous improvement.
4. Lack of professional development
Development of staff is an investment in the future of both the individual and the company. For many Australian companies training still isn’t part of their corporate DNA. Without training and an environment of sharing knowledge and skills, a culture can become aggressive, as everyone is forced to fend for themself.
Seven out of ten Australians say they would be more likely to stay with an employer that invests in their professional development, and just over 80% say they believe their performance would improve with training.
Development of staff encourages innovation and helps businesses gain an edge over their competition.
5. Poorly designed reward and benefit schemes
Incentives provide us with the ability to influence results; therefore reward and benefit programs must align with strategy.
An effective reward and benefits program is developed with the understanding that different things motivate different people. Your schemes should be meaningful to your talent, and motivate them to strive for high performance.
When employees don’t feel rewarded, their performance diminishes over time. Consider the last time you did something for someone and they didn’t thank you. Did you question whether you’d do the same person a favour in the future?