If you believe perks are a substitute for human intervention you have missed the culture target.
I recently read an article about the four ways to make your people love you more – all ironically had to do with culture. Not one had to do with process or hard skill development. In this day and age when businesses are looking for differentiators that can drive innovation and attract the top talent, I challenge that it is time to get back to basics.
Recent studies show that almost 70% of employees want (and expect) constant feedback and open communication with their supervisor. These same individuals ranked these things higher than cafe’s, free dry cleaning and even salary. Yet in today’s world of tight budgets and reduced spending, culture development opportunities are very often the first thing cut.
If you are a young business beginning to see growth I challenge you to be deliberate about HOW you are building your culture. I have yet to see a culture that wasn’t a focus grow into something healthy. Here are a few easy to implement steps to begin building a culture committed to innovation, creativity and accountability.
- Hire BEYOND skill and resume. If you aren’t using one of the many fantastic tools that give you scientific insight into how good of a fit a person is for the role and company, find one. The cost to savings ratio will always be in your favor in terms of reduced cost of turnover and higher retention rates. Why do you need these? People, smart people, when being interviewed will likely tell you what you want to hear. They will play the part and say all the right things – after all they are auditioning for a role, a role they desperately need. Utilizing a tool like PDP® (this is the tool we recommend to clients) tells you if they are role-playing or showing you who they really are. It can tell you how easily they can move through their day-to-day activities without much guidance and can easily predict success. Remember that hard skills are the easiest thing to train – it is behavior, culture fit, values that give you the most trouble so eliminate these before they become an issue.
- Recognize and reward those who not only successfully execute the duties of the job but also live within the culture. If you don’t have living within the culture attached to performance reviews, you will likely always be disappointed with how people behave.
- You must lead by example. I can’t tell you how many employees use the leadership’s inability to live within the culture as their excuse to ignore it as well. As silly and simple as it sounds, your team members will follow your actions over your words so make sure you are upholding the culture as well.
- INVEST in your culture. Publicly and privately celebrate the wins, give people an opportunity to share in the wins. Provide development opportunities around leading within the culture.
Employees today are competing for what I call discretionary energy and commitment. It is this 30% or more that typically is the difference between clocking in doing the job and clocking out rather than going above and beyond to drive innovation and growth. Investing time and money in your culture will pay dividends so be prepared for creativity to take over.
Choose the right target that your employees are asking for and need.