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Calling All Founders: Company Culture Is Your Responsibility

Do you have a workforce that is disengaged, disenchanted, and disillusioned? Are your employees producing the bare minimum, lacking motivation, and mentally checking out?

I spoke to an employee recently who opens Teams, attaches their mouse to a desk fan and walks away. The fan drags the mouse every few seconds keeping Teams open and looking like they are active online… True story!

As a Founder or Leader in business, how do you re-engage a workforce that has spent the last three years being reminded that their job is never truly secure? A large part of this comes down to Company Culture. The Gallop State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report asked what employees would change about their workplace to make it better. The highest response (41%) was for a request for better Engagement or Culture. This was way ahead of requests for Pay and Benefits (28%) or Wellbeing perks (16%).

I’m sure we can all think of organisations that we would love to work for because they are so aspirational – and most of these are so because of the clear vision and direction set by their Leader. As a Leader or Founder in your business, Company Culture is Your Responsibility.

Culture should be an extension of your mission and vision. So I would ask you as a Leader - are you clear on your mission and vision? Are you super clear on WHY you do what you do? WHAT you are getting out of bed each day to do? And WHO you want to impact?

If you suspect your company culture is not what it should be, start by taking the temperature with your employees. This doesn’t have to be a formal survey. Spend time with them. Get to know their thoughts. And foster open communication.

Below you’ll find a few tips for Founders and Leaders keen to take an active role in shaping and influencing their company culture:

  • Define Core Values: Establish clear and concise core values that reflect your company's mission and vision. If you revisiting these core values, ask your employees to contribute to their development to foster buy-in to the company’s passion and purpose. Communicate these values regularly to ensure alignment.

  • Set Clear Goals: Define clear, achievable goals and expectations. When employees have a sense of purpose and direction, they are more likely to be engaged. But remember, defining and communicating values and goals is pointless if they are not authentic and exemplified by You… so

  • Lead by Example: Founders and Leaders should embody the values and behaviours they want to see in their employees. Be a role model for the culture you wish to cultivate. Bear in mind however that not all employees are driven to work 70 hour weeks. Thus you will need to...

  • Promote Work-Life Balance: he workforce is moving towards a time-based instead of productivity-based payment system and with this move, a greater expectation rests on employers to provide a healthy work-life balance by respecting personal time and offering flexible work arrangements when possible. This fosters employee well-being and loyalty.

  • Communicate Openly With Your Employees: Actively listen to feedback from employees and take their input seriously.

  • Empower Employees: Give employees autonomy and ownership over their work. When individuals feel trusted and valued, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to the company's culture.

  • Regular Recognition and Appreciation: Acknowledge and celebrate achievements, both big and small. Recognising employees' contributions makes everyone feel good and encourages higher performance in the future.

  • Invest in Development: Offer opportunities for professional growth and skill development. Show that you're committed to helping employees reach their career goals within the organisation.

  • Inclusive Environment: Create an inclusive culture where diversity is celebrated and all voices are heard. Ensure that your company policies promote equality and diversity.

  • Hire According To Your Culture: I can’t stress how important this point is. An applicant may be the most qualified person on paper for the role - but if they aren’t a good fit for your company culture, they have the potential to disrupt your workplace and negatively impact the team - costing time and money in addressing future issues. Skillsets can be taught. It’s far harder to teach intrinsic values.

Remember, you are going to need to Adapt and Evolve. Company culture isn't static; it should adapt to changing circumstances and feedback. Be willing to revisit and refine your culture as both the company and economic landscape changes.

Here's to a week of evolution and change!

Rachel x


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