Culture Chat

And other musings on humanizing the workplace
How to Truly Become a ‘Best Place to Work’

How to Truly Become a ‘Best Place to Work’

August 13, 2018
Charlie Judy

Every human resources veteran knows that culture is not a new idea. It’s something we’ve been talking about for literally decades. We put a few unique organizations on a pedestal and praise them for being a “best place to work.” But for the most part, culture has been a squishy, amorphous concept.

It’s time to end that. It’s time to start thinking about culture as something that’s measurable and changeable and unique to your specific organization. If you want to do culture the right way and become known as an employer that attracts top talent, you’ll need to invest time, energy, dollars and attention. You'll need to start measuring culture and engagement.

Here are three things to keep in mind as you start to measure and understand your organization’s culture, and truly become a “best place to work” for your employees.

Culture Is Not a Recipe, It’s a Methodology

Let’s say your company has already landed on a “best place to work” list. No doubt this generated a lot of pride and back-patting. Perhaps you even felt the envy of other business leaders.

Excuse me while I rain, just a little, on the parade. The problem with comparing cultures is that it doesn’t work. The key factors that drive your organization’s success won’t necessarily work for someone else, and vice versa. We have labels such as “the best,” and have pretended like there’s some secret recipe everyone can follow to get there.

Stop worrying about what’s happening around you in the marketplace, and instead start looking inward. A successful culture is the result of a focused methodology, not trying to copy someone else.

Culture Drives the Customer Experience

The employee experience drives the customer experience. Don’t believe me? Think of Walt Disney World. They don’t just sell tickets to theme parks; they sell an entire experience. The rides don’t change much from year to year, so it’s the culture of imagination and making memories you treasure forever that keeps us coming back. And that all starts with their employee culture.

With so many goods and services being commoditized today, it’s our company culture that will differentiate us from the market and drive the customer experience.

Values Vs. Valued

A lot of companies talk about their values, but the things that drive the organization’s success are what is truly valued by them. Values are only powerful if they are valued by people both internally and externally. If you have free lunch on Fridays or a beer fridge, that may represent a cultural value, but it’s not what drives the organization’s success. Your customers don’t value your beer fridge.

Instead, think about what drives your success. Once you’ve figured out the keys to your success, the challenge is making sure everything you do reinforces those values — the way you act, interact and behave. If you don’t actively build and reinforce your values, you won’t be successful — and your “values” will just be a smokescreen for real culture.
 
You can’t just wing culture. Plan for it. Measure it. Understand it. Take the time to have a course of action. Letting culture grow organically means it could evolve into something completely different. Culture has to be actively managed.

Only when you’ve solved the culture puzzle specific to your company can you truly become a best place to work.
 

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