Great company cultures matter. The big question, is how do we get everyone to buy in?
5 Steps to company culture buy in.
One of the most quoted examples in Jim Collins’ seminal book on excellence, Good To Great, concerns the importance of “getting the right people on the bus” and then “getting those people in the right seats.” That’s crucially important. But to continue the metaphor, so is figuring out what the bus should look and feel like, determining where it’s ultimately going, and making sure everyone on the bus is excited about going there. It’s not always easy to get everyone rowing in the same direction culturally. But when it comes to building and curating your company culture, it’s crucial you do. Here are five ways to help make that easier:
1. Include your team in the process
Yes, you’re a leader. But that doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers. Company culture works best when everyone is involved. For starters, company culture is fluid. In addition to its normal ebbing and flowing, you also have employees constantly entering or exiting your culture which affects it as well. Giving your team the opportunity to make suggestions, call out what’s not working, and hold each other accountable is far more effective than dictating a culture that has to be followed. Empower your people to be builders and then watch what they build.
Congruence is the great key to building trust. If what you say and what you do perfectly align, people will learn to trust you. Nowhere is this truer than in a company culture. There are plenty of companies that talk a good game. And if that’s all it is, their culture is destined to fall apart. When you make good on the things you promise – even when things get hard – people buy in. They’re more understanding. And in our experience, they work harder to make things better.
3. Pay extra attention to newbies
When you’ve had a thriving company culture for years or even decades, it’s easy to forget that not everyone has been there for the entire ride. Company cultures have their own institutional knowledge and for new employees, an established company culture can be a bit intimidating. Intentionally, or not, companies develop a shorthand. Many of us have years of shared experiences newer employees simply don’t have. One of the keys to a great company culture is remembering to pay extra attention to employees who are first joining you for as much as the first year. Connection and belonging are foundational elements for building a great company culture and this is often where their greatest opportunities lie.
4. Constant review
If you want your team to buy into your company culture it cannot be an afterthought. It can’t be something you discuss once a year. And it cannot be something addressed with passive communication.