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  • Writer's pictureNancy H. Cummings

Workplace Culture - Isn’t it Something that Just Happens?

Workplace culture just happens, right?

Yes, it does. If you are not careful and you do not have an intentional plan to create, empower and live your culture everyday; it will evolve on its own. Every company has a culture, whether they choose it or not. If you want raving fans who tell all their friends about your product and share it across social platforms while strolling down the sidewalk, you need to have a strategic plan for your culture.

You’ve been here before, right? “We were so busy we all agreed to not do annual reviews this year.” “She joined us during peak season, so we couldn’t formally onboard her. We thought on-the-job-training would be good enough.” “We have plenty of online modules he can watch. Everything he needs to know is in there. It’s like YouTube University. All the answers are in the videos.”

Something to be mindful of - your company will self-select a culture if you do not guide it and train it and celebrate it. If you want to be the best in your industry or your region or your sector, you need to take the time now to define your culture. And, while you’re at it, you may as well design a culture that is rewarding, sustainable, has positive impact and is fun. Otherwise, you’re just another company doing what gobs of other companies already do.

The Importance of Workplace Culture

While everyone focuses on their bottom line and debating whether or not they should scale in the coming year, one thing most people fail to recognize is that few things will ever be as important to their company’s future as their workplace culture.

Workplace culture is what guides and influences organizations. It’s whether or not people fit in. It’s letting all your stakeholders know what to expect. It’s what aligns everyone together. It’s what moves your company forward.

According to Gallup, workplace culture is as simple as understanding and communicating “this is how we do things around here.”

Each company has a unique way of work. How companies go about their work (or stated differently, how companies live out their mission and vision and core values) is the differentiator.

Hundreds of companies can make the same widget. How each of these companies makes their widgets isn’t what creates success. Wild success comes from how these companies uniquely carry out their brand promise to their customers. Meaning, success comes in how they express their culture while they make the widgets and deliver it to their customers. And, how everyone in that process carries out the brand promise. And, I mean everyone in that entire process. Not just the customer-facing stakeholders. Everyone.

You hear this statement all the time - “Culture rolls down from the top.” This couldn’t be more true. Team members will default and mimic behaviors that they see company leaders display. Worried, doubting, procrastinating, bossy, micro-managing, cutting corners. Look around you. Positive, innovative, encouraging, on-time, present, collaborative. Look around you.

It is rare that a company takes on a culture that contradicts the behaviors and personality of the company leader. Many company transformations occur when the leader is brave enough and honest enough to stand in front of a mirror.

So, what now?

If your company has a mission, vision and core values that all your stakeholders live out daily, and they clearly align with the way your company does business, consider this next step to take your business to new heights - consider unreasonable hospitality.

Unreasonable hospitably is what everyone feels when you take your company (and your product and/or service) and deliver it in a way that is absolutely unexpected. Your product is the best on the planet. Your service is so spot-on, it cannot be improved on any level. Your customers and clients no longer make suggestions about what you can do to improve. Your store or venue or online platform is impeccable and everyone feels welcome. There’s nothing left at this point to improve except the customer experience itself.

Okay. So, how do we do that?

Once you are totally confident that your mission, vision and core values are simply and practically defined, think about the following questions:

  1. What do we really do?

  2. What are the recurring moments that happen in our business? And, how can those be reimagined in a more considerate, unreasonable way that leaves everyone feeling so much better when it’s over?

  3. What do our customers actually need?

Taking the time to consistently rethink this and plan for unexpected ways to showcase your appreciation is a genuine display of high-quality customer service. It’s an incredible way to serve your customers well. Opportunities to create unreasonable hospitality are everywhere. Slow down enough to see what you really do and all the touch-points that could become unreasonable gestures of hospitality will become obvious. These will become the moments that redefine your culture.

Something to keep in mind about workplace culture - in order for your Team to give unreasonable hospitality they must feel like they receive unreasonable hospitality. This is so important because the mindset of unreasonable hospitality and amazing workplace culture a grounded in good, giving relationships. It’s what paves the way forward.

Finding the unique niche for your company to display unreasonable hospitality will elevate your culture and your brand. Company’s who can master this find themselves as frontrunners in ways they never imagined possible.

If you’re curious about how to transform your workplace culture, give us a call. We’d love to set up a complementary session and get you headed in the right direction.

Chief Collaborator,

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