6 Ways Company Leaders Can Improve Company Culture Development

Written By: Rich Mesch

May 22, 2023 – 6 min read

When teams are diverse, remote, or international, making a shift in corporate culture can be challenging. Ensuring that everyone in the organization is centered on the firm’s mission, vision, and values must remain central to achieving lasting change.

Culture change in the workplace is inevitable. There is no one-size-fits-all process for creating a positive culture; however, there are some things business leaders can do to ensure their workforce is centered on the organization’s mission, vision, and values.

Here are six ways company leaders can drive positive cultural adoption and strategies to improve employee performance.

1. Communicate

One of the most important factors to consider during a culture change is how the company shares the message. In a report by Deloitte, there is a high correlation between clearly articulated and lived ideals and strong business performance. When associates hear senior leadership communicate the company’s values and beliefs and then act in accordance with them, they feel happy and valued by their employer. When the messages from the C-Suite are inconsistent or not aligned with the culture, the impact can be significant, ranging from lack of trust to lack of performance.

The challenges facing global companies are substantial when compared to smaller organizations. In an article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reviewing some of the complexities of facing global businesses, there will be some differences that could be unique to countries or cultures.

“Multinationals can be consistent 80 percent of the time, and 20 percent may be different to comply with local culture, laws or habits.” Culture should be consistent for both employees as well as customers. To ensure a company’s values and mission are the same around the world, having local leadership dedicated to living the values must be a priority

To ensure a company’s values and mission are the same around the world, having local leadership dedicated to living the values put be a priority.

2. Demonstrate

From the executive team down, bounce each communication against the principles and values the company lives by. Are the words shared in a way that will build trust and support the corporate mission? Leaders who talk the talk must also walk the walk. Culture should be the driver behind what leaders do and the decisions they make. The adage, actions speak louder than words, applies to executives who live the corporate ideals so that others can see.

The expectations of managers have escalated over the last year and a half. It is not enough to demonstrate the corporate values; they must also steer their team toward living the culture. Are there individuals who need to adjust their sails and realign with the company’s values? If toxic behavior in a workplace is left unchecked, it can spread and be detrimental to the organization. With the right leadership and communication skills, a manager can remind their direct reports when their actions do not agree with the firm’s principles. Bringing an individual back to the culture is a way to establish that not living the values is unacceptable.

3. Encourage

During formal and informal coaching sessions, a leader can point out how an individual’s role supports the corporate purpose and impacts their customers. People crave purpose in work. They want reassurance that what they are doing is making a difference. Connect individual performance to corporate success and learn together to overcome the difficulties.

Everyone can bring value to the entire organization. Invite employees to share ideas for improvement and encourage individuals to be open to new ideas that will support the company’s mission.

4. Recognize

It isn’t just managers that are having to do more than ever before. In the last year, many companies had to furlough or lay off some of their workforces. In addition to doing their jobs, employees have had to step up to be SMEs for their teams, serve as liaisons with other parts of the company, or represent industry associations. Companies often lean heavily on these invaluable contributors to help onboard or cross-train new team members.

Individuals can be leaders without the title or paycheck of a manager. They are employees who demonstrate the characteristics of strong and respected leaders but do not officially manage others. These team members are great listeners, provide sound advice, and consistently work with integrity. Unofficial leaders are well respected, and others follow them because of the way they act. They should receive recognition for leading by example to bring value and support the corporate culture.

Unofficial leaders are well respected and others follow them because of the way they act. They should receive recognition for leading by example to bring value and support the corporate culture.

5. Connect

Don’t forget to include the “human” side of interactions with direct reports. Individuals are pressed to do more while still being isolated. Coaching sessions that do not begin and end with some personal connections can erode an employee’s positive feelings about their company and manager. They may feel their manager sees them as worker drones instead of valued contributors. The human side of a conversation should be authentic. Employees will see right through their manager if they feel that the line at the top of the meeting agenda says, “Ask how she’s doing.” Don’t be that manager.

6. Sustain

Building a positive corporate culture is work that never ends. When steps are deliberately taken to help employees clearly understand and feel more closely tied to the organization’s beliefs, behaviors, and purpose, success will follow. Leaders are responsible for establishing a great culture that draws in terrific talent, builds inclusivity, helps people feel valued, and keeps employees engaged.

When it comes to creating happy and high-functioning teams, company leaders must focus on keeping learning easy to access, efficient, and effective. 

Download our ebook “Creating a Future-Ready Workforce” which provides strategies you can use right now to keep employees motivated and engaged.

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