Characteristics of Highly Effective Cultures


Many studies have been conducted into what creates a successful culture at companies of any size, from start-ups to mature corporations. Developing a strong company culture is not impossible and many companies have achieved it. A recent survey conducted by a Gallup poll studying 3,477 managers and over 30,000 employees found six key characteristics to create a culture that improves the bottom-line.


1. Invest in your Employees: Some companies with powerful cultures go as far as creating custom training and employee development programs aligned with company objectives. However, this can be simple as compensating employees for personal development literature related to work and allocating more hours to training. The investment may seem as though the business does not immediately benefit, particularly if the business is small or a start-up. However, data shows that the time and effort into training and professional development of staff is planting the seed of improvement later on.


2. Communication and Collaboration: Working remotely is becoming an increasing trend at all levels, but may be sacrificing personal elements of one-on-one verbal conversations, degrees of understanding and trust or engagement. The ability to collaborate with teams rather than directing individual employees has also been shown to have an impact on performance. This can not only strengthen the relationships among personnel, but genuinely increase the project performance through a balanced combinations of strengths and weaknesses.


3. Create a Customer Focused Strategy: A trait of successful companies is their focus on creating value for the customer and the community, communicated through their purpose, mission and brand. Developing a culture around the customer becomes visible to them and creates a better opportunity to outperform the competition in fulfilling customer needs and gaining their loyalty. This can be structured from a very early phase in any businesses life as they develop the brand.


4. Increase Multi-Level Leadership Capability: Companies that perform well have a characteristic of balanced leadership, in that employees engage in regular communication about the company’s future and initiatives at many levels. Trust and inspiration is instilled and all employees have the opportunity to engage in strategy where they can play a role.


5. Create Empowerment and Authority: Many successful companies have the ability to have strategic foresight and stay ahead of their competitors by being innovative and meeting market demands. Making employees during any phase of a business from start-up to expansion feel more empowered and developing a mission around this customer focused foresight aids success.


6. Implement Performance Management: Rather than having abstract goals and incentive systems, companies that have strong cultures that contribute to the bottom-line, tie goals into them. When an employee achieves a milestone, rewards are transparent and shared with the team in many cases. Define standards and expectations, rewarding their outperformance and clearly articulate them to everyone regularly.


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