Assembling a great team for your organization is a difficult task, and finding the right person to fill each role is what makes this process so time-consuming. Hiring the right people to fulfill your vision is essential. Something equally important—and equally tricky—is building, maintaining and enhancing healthy organizational culture.
What is a healthy organizational culture? Many organizations do not explicitly define their culture, which can obscure expectations and lead to dissatisfaction among team members. As recruiters, we have worked with thousands of organizations and thus have witnessed the importance of explicitly defining and maintaining a healthy culture at all levels. Here are four things you must do to build a healthy organizational culture:
- Define a set of values and standards that is both cohesive and understandable. Define a set of values and standards for the organization. Have all team members sit down and work together to decide what principles are important to them, both professionally and personally. Then, refine those ideals into a finite set of core standards that will govern how you conduct business and how you conduct yourselves. This set of standards must be cohesive— each standard must harmonize with the others and be all-encompassing. This set of standards must be clear and easy to understand, such that all team members are able to adhere to the defined standards. The set of values does not have to be permanently fixed— it’s productive to review it and improve upon it as your team evolves. It is critically important to discuss these standards with new hires, as this will allow you to gauge their enthusiasm for and willingness to uphold them.
- Prioritize your organization’s culture just as you prioritize results and productivity. Business is a numbers game. Metrics and targets are expressed in numbers, and success is often defined in quantities. However, if numbers become your only focus, the morale of your team will suffer. Your team may become hyper- focused on results and end up neglecting collaboration, despite the fact that collaboration is crucial to professional development and growth. The team may become burned out and exhibit decreased productivity. If the numbers become their only focus, the team’s camaraderie with one another will certainly suffer. When you prioritize your organization’s culture as much as you prioritize results, you are also prioritizing the individual. Prioritizing the individual results in a higher degree of employee satisfaction and retention, as well as increased long- term productivity. Prioritizing the organizational culture builds an environment which team members look forward to participating in each day.
- Embrace individuality. There is a wide range of talents, personalities, and attitudes among colleagues of the same field. Employees have different strengths; allow team members to grow and develop these strengths. Don’t assume a new hire has a particular fixed set of strengths and weaknesses— the person with no marketing experience could end up being responsible for your next big hit! The knowledge that a spectrum of strengths is accepted and supported creates an improved work environment. Embracing individuality allows individuals to pursue growth, which in turn contributes to a healthy organizational culture.
- Live out your values in every interaction with every person. The organizational standards you establish should manifest in daily behaviors. These values should be present and identifiable in every interaction with every person. These values should be present in every interaction between managers and new hires. These values should be identifiable in every interaction with the tech department, outside vendors, and C-level individuals. Foster a secure and growth-promoting environment by fully implementing these values. As a leader, you want to lead by example—if you embrace the standards and work according to your organization’s values, your team will follow suit.
Hiring great people and assembling a great team are two different things. The right hires, working in a healthy culture, can be an unstoppable team. When you establish your organization’s core values and standards, it’s important that each team member understands these principles and adheres to them. This process doesn’t have to be tedious— it can be a great team-building exercise that ultimately results in a positive, productive work environment – and remember, culture building is a journey, not a destination.