The Trend of Company Culture & How to Achieve It, The MDC Group

The Trend of Company Culture & How to Achieve It

These days, culture is trending. But moving from a set of written values & mission statements into something that is a thriving and integral part of your company’s daily operations can be tricky. Here’s how we’ve managed it at the MDC Group.

1. Have a plan

To develop a healthy and thriving company culture, you have to start with the ground work. Yes, every work place has a culture, but without careful development, you can end up with a toxic environment and embittered workers. Even with the best intentions, trying to enforce cultural ideals like positivity and teamwork without clear expectations and a plan for roll-out and continued support can seriously backfire.

Start by identifying your company’s core values, as well as your vision, mission and purpose. If these are not already established for your company, consider developing a task force or committee, and utilize feedback from team members at all levels. If you do already have these features established, determine how well day-to-day operations reflect these goals. How are these topics communicated and discussed throughout the company? How well-known are they by team members? Having clear vision, mission, and purpose statements as well as core values that reflect the company’s daily operations are an important first step in establishing company culture.

Next, create the foundation for an improved company culture by understanding your starting point. What is your culture like now? Is there open communication and trust? Are employees encouraged to share ideas or problems? To better understand your starting place, consider creating an anonymous questionnaire. Hopefully, you’ll receive lots of feedback to learn from, but getting little engagement can be a learning opportunity as well. If you don’t get many responses, it may be that employees are unengaged or are uncomfortable pointing out company short-comings.

2. Communicate Clearly & Follow Through

Once you know what you need to change and you have a clear plan in place, it’s time for the roll-out!

No one likes change. Even when you’re making improvements, many people are likely to be skeptical or confused by cultural changes. Be sure to communicate any new expectations clearly and to use multiple channels—like social media, email, and meeting presentations—to disseminate new goals. Your teams will feel more at-ease if they know exactly what is happening and what is expected of them.

This is also a great opportunity to reinforce those values and vision, mission, and purpose that you clarified in the planning phase. Relate these clearly and regularly to your teams, and try to show how their work fits into the company’s overall goals. Help everyone feel like their work contributes not only to the success of the company but also to the success of a healthy and balanced work culture for themselves and their peers.

Another important thing to remember is that developing a healthy company culture is a long-term process. This is not a project for Q1 and Q2 that is forgotten about by the end of the year. In fact, a lack of follow-through after a big roll-out can make things worse not better, and if your employees lose trust in the process, trying again down the line will be that much harder. Therefore, follow-through is key—and accountability needs to come from the top down. When it comes to a healthy company culture, leadership should take the lead to ensure that operations align with cultural goals.

3. Treat People Well

You many think this can go without saying. As an abstract ideal, respecting workers is valued at most companies. But when it comes down to the day-to-day reality of it, how respected do your workers feel?

Respect, recognition, and understanding are the keys to creating a strong company culture. And these elements can be more important that you realize. According to a Glassdoor study, 56% of workers said that a good company culture was more important than salary, and 75% said that culture plays a part in their application decisions.

Instead of leaving this up to chance, ensure that elements of good treatment are integrated into your company culture. This can take many forms. Recognition and rewards are an excellent place to start and will help employees feel valued and their work seen. Good treatment also comes from seeing employees as whole persons. In other words, value not just their work or what they produce but also their personal successes, ideas, and experiences. Leave room for humor and fun, both in the day-to-day and with special events. (We love a good practical joke here at MDC!)

Finally, be flexible. Workers are people, and people are fallible, which means eventually everyone is going to make a mistake. Treating people well when they’re at the top of their game is good, but having a response plan in place that encourages growth, helps address mistakes in a constructive manner, and supports individuals when there are illnesses or family emergencies is where a company culture can prove that it’s great.

4. Build Community

Our final suggestion for developing an active and constructive company culture is to build strong relationships that form a community. Everything else discussed above will help when it comes time to bring people together. Community and relationships are important both within teams and between departments and levels.

For team development, plan fun events (that aren’t completely cringe-worthy) or volunteer together. Strengthening these bonds can not only help with overall culture but can lower turn-over and encourage employees to stay at the company long-term. Offer mentorship programs with promotional opportunities, and schedule one-on-one meetings or meals between leaders and employees.

Establishing a culture of respect and community often comes down to leadership. Flexibility, transparency, and a willingness to accept feedback are critical to the long-term health of a company’s culture. Managers and administrators—those who work directly with the majority of employees—also need to be committed not just to the ideals of a good company culture but to the daily elements of communication and respect that is required. Healthy company culture grows from the bottom up, but it requires attention and intention starting at the top.

Want to know more about how our daily operations help build the culture at MDC? Drop us a line!