Not to boast (well, maybe just a little), but we have a great company culture at Select International. We have the "Best Place to Work" awards to prove it. Recently, I was thanked by one of our employees for helping to sustain it. As wonderful as it felt to receive this compliment, everyone at the company plays a crucial role in ensuring Select International remains a great place to work. Our leadership team empowers each employee to take an active role in making our culture what it is today.
Empower and Engage Your Employees
As an example, last year the company announced a new strategic direction. I wanted to make sure people were comfortable with it. So, I scheduled time to meet with each of our employees. My original goal was to get feedback on specific questions, including:
How did they feel about the direction our company was going?
What ideas do they have to help grow our company?
What questions or concerns did they have?
I’ll admit, I was unsure how these meetings would go. Would people want to participate? Would they be open and honest about their thoughts? And, if they were, was I prepared to hear it?
After several weeks of taking part in these meetings, my reservations were put to rest. The experience was amazing. Though each meeting tended to start off slow, people opened-up and spoke freely, which led to great conversations. I received feedback on concerns people had, what they could do to get involved, and great ideas to help build the company for the future. A nice side perk: I got to know our employees a little better and learn more about them, which was cool. I like to think they felt similarly about getting to know me a little better too.
Related: A Weekly Challenge to Empower Others
Patterns emerged from the notes of our meetings. I could see what excited people, what concerned them, and common ideas for innovation and improvement. From this, our leadership team could outline plans. At our next company meeting, we let everyone know that we took their feedback seriously and were taking action (which we did).
Prioritize Innovation and Communication
Following the company meeting, the feedback was great. Many of our employees felt their voices were heard and that the company valued their input. Additionally, based on the ideas I received during those meetings, I determined that I couldn’t wait another year to do this again. I established monthly “Innovation and Communication Meetings.” Every month, I block an hour of time in a conference room and also via Skype to tie-in our growing remote workforce. Anyone and everyone can attend and share ideas they have or ask questions.
The first Innovation and Communication meeting was only attended by a handful of folks. But the meetings have gained momentum and are becoming another important way we maintain the culture at Select International. It may have helped that I started bringing ice cream to the meetings (which was an improvement suggestion by an employee that I was only too happy to act on).
To maintain your company culture, you need to take steps to improve it each day. You cannot just say, “Our employees are our number one asset”; you need to live it - and give your employees a platform to play an active role in building your business and your culture. It’s what we’ve done at Select International, and I couldn’t be happier with the results!