POST WRITTEN BY Skyler Ditchfield
CEO of GeoLinks, the Fastest Growing WISP in America named 2018 “Most Disruptive Technology” for its ClearFiber™ Network.
Curating a productive and positive company culture starts from the top. Thus, a company’s CEO must lead by example day in and day out. Here are five true and proved ways that as a CEO, I have found effectively create and maintain a positive company culture.
1. Hire Smart
People are the foundation of culture. Thus, it’s imperative to create rigorous hiring and vetting processes to weed out those who are not cultural fits from the get-go. For example, our company does a multipart interview that puts candidates through both a skills test and cultural review panel. We recruit interviewers across a variety of our departments to weigh in. At the end of the panel, once the candidate has left, each team member gives the candidate a culture score on a scale from one to ten — one being not a fit, ten being a great fit. If even one member gives an unqualifying score, six or below, we do not move forward. Being a “cultural fit” in our eyes means the candidate demonstrates attributes that suggest he or she is positive, innovative, respectful, accepting, a team player and has the ability to leave their ego at the door.
2. Give Shout Outs
Recognizing and commending both individual and team wins is extremely beneficial to team morale and culture. I offer these shout-outs through various avenues including emails, verbal shout-outs in the office and individual meetings.I’ve noticed that when people feel recognized and appreciated, it increases not only their energy and happiness but their overall motivation and productivity as well.
3. Work Hard, Play Hard
University of Warwick found that happy employees demonstrated a 12% spike in productivity, while dissatisfied members of organizations showed a 10% decrease. Thus, live a little folks! Schedule interdepartmental company get-togethers, host office parties, let your team go a little early on a Friday — do things that appeal to the social side of your team, and it will pay off two-fold in both the short and long term.
4. Acknowledge Personal Milestones
I don’t mean that you should only acknowledge that Susy hit her sales goal that month. What I mean is take the time to get to know what is going on with your team outside of work! Ask questions, check in weekly, have a genuine conversation that isn’t work-related once in a while. If you know Jack’s daughter has her middle school graduation on Thursday, let Jack leave early so he can get a good seat. Realize that most people work to live, not live to work, so supporting their life outside of work life will make them not only grateful, but excited to come to work to share what’s new in life with their team!
5. Encourage Your Team To Take Risks
Verbally encourage your staff to take risks, ensuring them that failure is OK. This inspires innovation and shows employees that they are trusted. Great things never came from staying inside one’s comfort zone — and getting new or different results means you must stop doing something old. If you do have an employee who “fails” or makes a mistake due to trying something new, compliment their efforts and brainstorm together what can be learned or changed in the future.
With the country’s unemployment rate at a staggeringly low 4%, it’s essential to retain good employees when you find them. With clear statistics supporting the notion that overall workplace happiness directly correlates to a company’s productivity and bottom line, I believe companies need to focus now more than ever on cultivating and maintaining a positive company culture. Still not convinced? Consider that disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion, annually. Case and point.