Creating a Positive Company Culture
Human Resources is not just hiring, firing and keeping personnel files. It is creating and cultivating a positive work environment through the implementation of a solid HR foundation. Positive morale and company buy-in does not happen overnight, but you can start by implementing the following three practices:
Create and Live By Policies
Contrary to the thoughts of many new business owners; employees LIKE rules. They like knowing what they are or are not supposed to do. After all – without rules there is no right and wrong. There is only chaos. Too much time is wasted by managers trying to determine effects and disciplinary procedures of employee actions on a case by case basis. Put it in writing and share with your employees before you have to refer to it or use it. importantly, if it is in writing…live by it. It is better to NOT have a policy in place than to have one in place and NOT follow it. Customize your rules and policies to fit the type of culture you desire to make.
Well-written, company specific handbooks and policy manuals are imperative for open communication between employees and employers. Policy Manuals and Employee Handbooks should always demonstrate:
- Fair & consistent employee treatment
- Expectations of your employees
- Safety policies and procedures
- Company specific benefits
- Your employees’ rights
Clearly Relate Your Expectations
Employees who claim to be disconnected with the company have more disciplinary issues and are less productive than those who are “in the know”.
First and most importantly, employees need clear direction and job duty expectations from their supervisor. This may be done in well written job descriptions or in less formalized formats such as hand written lists or memos.
The key is that the communication is two-way and that both parties are clear on the expectations and agree that they are realistic and that they can be met.
Second, be honest with employees. Do not sugarcoat or avoid confrontation. If employees are not doing what you expect of them, let them know. Too often I hear phrases like, “They know they are supposed to be doing this and they just aren’t doing it” or “I shouldn’t have to tell him when and how to do it…it’s his job”. Being a good communicator is beneficial for both parties and will result in a higher level of respect for the supervisor.
Treat All Employees as “Stock Holders”
Although your employees may not own stock in your company…they do have a vested interest in the company doing well. Therefore, it is to the company’s advantage to share financial information with them when possible. This is particularly true if salaries, bonuses and pay increases are based on the profitability of the company. Keeping employees in the dark about a company’s financial status lends to distrust, because the employee feels the owners have something to hide. Employees will also begin to believe that the owners and upper management are “rolling in the dough” while the employees are simply “working for pennies”.
Share information from one department to another. Employees need to feel that the whole company is a team and that they have a special role in making the entire company, not just their department, successful.
In summary, providing good communication, developing clear rules and policies and sharing information with employees will result in creating a positive human resource culture within a company.