BY ADELE CASANOVA
The two most valuable assets of a business are the employees and the culture. Employees get the work done. They produce goods and services and serve the end-users. They are essential to success. The business’s culture is composed of the values, beliefs, and visions of the management. It is manifested in the working habits, manners, and style of the organization. A strong, successful business culture must be communicated to the employees by management and embraced by the employees who will then bring it to life. This embracing of the culture by employees has a direct effect on customer perception and satisfaction.
How does management of a company succeed in getting employees to own and perpetuate a business culture? Management must lead, first by example, demonstrating the company’s and culture’s values, and then by investing in employees for their own successes within the company. Here is how:
Empower Employees – The individual success of each employee within the company should be a number one goal of management. When people feel personally empowered to succeed, they are motivated to do so. This empowerment comes from adequate ongoing training and support. Inspiring employees to continue to learn and improve leads to additional success. Employees must know that management supports them with any tools needed for success. These can include training techniques, essential products needed to complete tasks and clear documentation of expectations. Employees can be inspired to succeed using the values held and enacted by management. Employees can actually learn to be leaders themselves when they are led to success by an investing management.
Value Employees – Rewarding employees with more than a paycheck can instill appreciation and loyalty. Management must include the concept of valuing employees for their hard work as part of the business culture. Incentives that show appreciation of employees can include flexible scheduling for family and personal time, incentives and rewards for achievement of set goals, and the opportunity for employees to voice their concerns and ideas in a receptive atmosphere. President Eisenhower once wisely said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Motivated employees will perform at peak performance to be a part of the overall success of the business, and this will strengthen the bond between management and staff, making the culture even stronger.
Let Go of Employees – Well trained and motivated staff can be “let go” to perform without micromanagement. The sense of trust employees will feel when allowed to perform their jobs with a certain level of self-management will lead to a strong internal business culture. Employees will then begin to become leaders themselves. They can first learn to lead themselves to success and then learn to lead others. When employees gain these powerful skills through effective management, everyone wins. What better testimonial for any employee or manager to be able to say that their experience working together has benefited not only the company but has empowered everyone involved.
When management and staff are able to engage together in creating and practicing a shared vision, a strong, successful business culture will prevail. By motivating, valuing, and inspiring employees, management will lead each member of the business community to realize his or her own potential.