BY PETER HILL
Whether you own a company or hold a position in leadership, a thriving company culture is the backbone of any organization. Creating a culture that promotes both personal and professional development, focuses on values and purpose, and always welcomes new ideas is a positive step toward building a thriving team.
In today’s world — where employees work and live in different environments — communication is more important than ever in cultivating a stand-out company culture. Communication connects employees to a shared purpose, makes them feel part of a community and fosters a strong sense of obligation to the whole team.
Implementing open communication
Frequent, open communication at all levels of staff is the glue that holds an organization together. Instead of the typical company suggestion-box where employees anonymously report issues, at our firm we keep staff informed with:
- 5-minute daily huddle calls (via Zoom) where employees quickly report the current status of key projects or department initiatives. For example, green status means on-track while red means currently off-track. Staff members can also ask for help or offer assistance to others. This is an efficient way to interact, keep abreast of the bigger picture and address issues on a company-wide scale.
- Weekly departmental meetings focusing specifically on departmental issues and progress towards goals.
- Weekly e-newsletter to consolidate current company news as well as to share milestones, birthdays, anniversaries, reminders, company events, committee updates, new staff member spotlights, share kudos received by staff members and more!
- Quarterly staff meetings where each department provides an update on progress toward goals. Here we communicate topics impacting our business, provide company news and updates. We also spotlight a subject matter expert within the company, so others get to know them and their area of expertise better.
- Recordings of staff members covering industry related topics and company processes for future reference and for training.
These are just some examples where we work to ensure awareness and company-wide inclusion. These things collectively can make an impactful difference.
Integrating core values
Developing and implementing core values is a crucial aspect of any company culture — not only to ensure values are set in place, but to ultimately encourage team members to emulate them. A company is better able to define its culture by identifying its core values, going beyond the services or products it offers. Try shaping your company’s purpose around enriching and fulfilling the lives of others.
Once core values are established, it’s important to highlight employees who are working to incorporate,
follow and embrace the values set in place. For instance, at our company, employees nominate one another when they observe someone representing a core value. Those nominated receive recognition and a reward by management.
Another helpful tactic includes integrating core values into the employee review process. When conducting reviews, core values can be utilized to determine if a team member is actively leveraging them for success in their everyday work.
Leverage reading resources to empower company culture
Incorporating a company-wide channel to share new resources can help to improve company culture as well, as they often introduce creative strategies and generate discussions on new ideas. The following books introduced by staff have become required reading and enhance the cultural backbone of our firm.
“Traction” by Gino Wickman, serves as the roadmap for how we run our business — from goal setting to prioritization of initiatives to the way we run more effective meetings, Traction is foundational to our business and a contributor to our growth and success.
“Ensemble Practice: A Team-Based Approach to Building a Superior Wealth Management Firm,” by Phillip Palaveev, primarily written for individuals in the financial planning and advising world, can help leadership teams with decisions on the future direction of their company. This book helped us decide that ownership shouldn’t reside with a handful of people and that a seamless transition of ownership to ensure the perpetuity of the company and culture were very important to us.
Another helpful resource for building a flourishing company atmosphere is the book, “Delivering Happiness,” by Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO. This book offers an alternative method to improving company culture that focuses on the simple concept of making the people around you happy, and by doing this, increasing your own happiness. One strategy in this book that can be incorporated into improving workplace environments includes creating a “Chief of Happiness Officer.” Seeing how Hsieh improved his company culture incentivized us to implement a “Chief of Happiness Officer” within our own firm. Designating an employee for this role will help enhance and grow our culture not only internally but at the community level.
If your company culture is due for some fine-tuning, try implementing some of these strategies to continuously improve and maintain it. When the culture feels a little off track, sometimes it can be easy to forget about your core values and the importance of integrating them back into the daily environment. Collecting knowledge from other outside sources, such as Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT.org) meetings and workshops, can also offer new opportunities to grow and expand your existing culture.
PETER HILL, ChFC®, is a partner and financial advisor at Vision Financial Group and Vision Network as well as a Registered Representative of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. Hill is a 26-year MDRT member with 5 TOT qualifications. Since 1993, he has been helping clients make sound financial decisions. Hill currently serves as chair of the TOT Benchmarking Committee and is a member of the MDRT Foundation Life Insurance Task Force. He is active in his church as a high school youth ministry leader. In addition, Hill’s office hosts an annual golf tournament that raises money for local Miracle Leagues. Members Qualify for the MDRT based on meeting a certain level of premium, commission or income during the year in addition to meeting ethical standards. This recognition is not representative of any investment performance or returns.