What Even The Experts Miss When Building A Company's Culture

10/12/18 Mon by

You have a very clear mission and a set of values that your employees know by heart. The vision of your company is on point, and everyone believes in the big impact you’re making and is happy to be part of it. Yet there is a lot of noise in the workplace about unfairness and inequality. There is a low level of trust. To be quite frank, you’re confused. You followed the culture consultant’s playbook, but that’s the one thing that is falling apart — the company culture is failing on you.

Your Mission And Vision Are Not Enough

There’s nothing wrong with the approach many culture consultants take: placing the company value proposition and how employees understand and execute it at the heart of a company’s culture. However, there’s one important thing that this approach gets wrong: It’s not your value proposition that makes a great culture, but how much companies appreciate the work great employees do. And what’s the center point of having motivated, happy and thriving employees? A transparent and defensible framework about how employees are leveled, titled and compensated.

HR On A Mission

Defensibility is key. Having a consistently applied approach to leveling, titling and pay that is explainable and defensible is easier said than done. But it can either make or break your company’s culture. It might not sound very inspiring, so let’s refer to it as “people practices.” It’s great to have a well-crafted mission, vision and values. But if you do certain things wrong (e.g., promote based on inconsistent criteria or inflate titles for newly hired employees), it will foster a culture of unfairness and inequity.

When done correctly, the people practices you develop can help build a strong, thriving culture that motivates employees and encourages them to be the best versions of themselves and serve the company’s interests.

Five Pillars Of Success

There are five core aspects of the people-related practices, or the total rewards framework, that companies that want to build a strong culture or redesign their existing company culture should focus on:

• Job design: Rather than adding jobs based on the emerging needs of the company and demands of employees and candidates, think about your company needs strategically, and try to anticipate what type of roles, expertise and seniority you will be looking for. Then design the jobs and create an organizational chart that supports the company’s needs and aligns employee experience, expertise and responsibilities.

• Titles and leveling: If there is not clear criteria and processes for how your company makes decisions on titling, employees can view the culture as one that offers favoritism or focuses on keeping the squeaky wheels happy. Observe and analyze the current titles and job levels, and redesign them, aiming to align titles with job levels and expertise, creating an objective structure. In addition to that, refine the decision making process, and consider how you will respond in different scenarios of employee requests for promotions and pay raises and the impact your decisions are making on employee morale and culture.

• Pay structure: Review and establish a defensible framework for pay distribution and rewards, including equity compensation that takes into account not only employee’s title, level and responsibilities, but also their individual contribution to the company’s success, the type of employee cohort they belong to and what employee benefits they might value most.

• Career development: Develop an approach to employee performance evaluation and career development that leaves no ambiguity and sets clear expectations for employees, as well as communicates what the company will do to support their career development (including promotions). Explore unconventional ways to conduct performance reviews, as the traditional approach is becoming a thing of the past.

• Employee communications: Cultivate transparency and accountability among your employees and make sure that your communications about the initiatives above meet the par. Make sure that all employee populations understand the rules of engagement. Organize face-to-face meetings to communicate the changes. Get feedback on a regular basis. Observe the feedback employees share naturally through their actions throughout the year, and address any ambiguity promptly, rather than leaving them as agenda items for an annual board and employee meeting.

Does your journey finish when you’ve reached the point where employees are motivated and well-rewarded? No — it’s a day-to-day job and commitment to offering a work environment where employees thrive. Keep going. The work of establishing a healthy culture and maintaining it is never done. The hard part is paying attention to the small things and ensuring that seemingly inconsequential issues don’t grow into drags on your company culture. But the payoff is worth the effort.

Author: Joe Farris from Forbes

10/12/18 Mon by