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Creating the right culture

For better culture and communication, start by listening.

Discontent thrives when communication is scarce. If your people aren’t given the information they need to do their job, they can feel disconnected, left out and unimportant. This breeds poor motivation, and lower standards of work.

By encouraging communication across every level of your business you can support and develop your people, making them feel proud to be part of the team.

1. Listen up

Listening is a great place to start. Get out on the ‘shop floor’, create internal social networks, talk to your teams daily. You’ll be surprised what you find out and how helpful it can be. Just by having conversations you can make people feel valued, boosting their sense of commitment and bolstering morale.

Once you’ve listened, you can give back, with appropriate responses. This could include:

  • Providing clear objectives – so that people understand your wider business goals and their role in helping reach them
  • Establishing a sense of fairness – so people feel there’s a consistent approach across the workplace, making decisions using the same guidelines and standards. You may find it’s helpful to lay all this out in an equal opportunities policy
  • Creating a feeling of ownership – so that everyone is clear on the part they play and the value they bring to the business
  • Offering a chance to feedback – so that everyone knows they will be listened to and any issues will be acted on
  • Ensuring continuous performance improvement – so every employee feels supported to succeed

2. Survey the scene

To shape a better culture tomorrow, you need to find out what people think about your culture today.

You can do this by carrying out a staff survey or holding some internal focus groups.

Think about where you want to make improvements and the sort of questions you could ask to get feedback on this.

Once you’ve gathered the survey results the real work begins. Remember to:

  • Maintain what is working well – and look for any improvements
  • Identify problem areas and gaps and make open plans to tackle them
  • Involve your people in developing a new vision and new initiatives they can really buy into
  • Ensure managers have the skills and capabilities to support the new culture and their teams within them
  • Don’t go back on promises – if you’ve said you’re going to make changes, make them 

3. Be clear

Remember to keep your communication simple. Avoid jargon and strategic waffle and whatever you write, use images and diagrams to help everyone understand.

Be honest with your people. You don’t need to get everything right instantly but it’s important that people see your commitment to making a change and acting on their feedback.