It’s the final day of Culture Week at CWT. There have been lunches and learning sessions, community service and constant activity on our internal network ranging from a diversity and inclusion charter to votes for carbon-offsetting projects.
Under a six-word-story thread, a post from Christine stood out: “22 years, 12 years, growth and development.” Anyone who has seen David Brent’s character in mockumentary series 'The Office' knows, company culture is rarely middle-of-the-road. It’s either a car crash or it leads to statements like this one from Christine.
CWT has over 18,000 employees and over 90 nationalities. Like with all global companies, culture is harder to build than in a smaller outfit. But it’s just as critical.
According to Deloitte, 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success while only 19% of executives believe their company has the ‘right’ culture.
“I’m reminded that what strengthens a culture isn’t a single program, meeting, survey, or celebration," says Michelle Frymire, Executive VP and Chief Financial Officer, "These activities all have value to the business, but to accelerate performance through innovation, empowerment, and customer focus, we each need to make a personal connection. Because ultimately, people build culture.”
So how do you foster a positive company culture? Here are three ways.
1. Talk about your values
Make your company values clear to prospective hires. Ask interview questions based on your company values, put up posters in the office that promote them and be sure that on-boarding practices set clear expectations. Keep your values front and center on an ongoing basis by raising examples of them in action during team meetings.
2. Keep lines of communication open
The best way to degrade culture is to stop getting feedback from employees. Or worse – make them fearful of providing it.
“First and foremost, collaboration is about our people, but it is also enabled by technology and through both physical and online spaces.” says CWT’s Chief Traveler Experience Officer, Niklas Andreen,
Maintaining an open-door policy helps your business stay grounded. Encourage opportunities to share experience through formal channels like an anonymous employee pulse survey or via cultural ambassadors and online communities.
3. Be flexible
Giving employees freedom to explore different methods and take risks allows them to be more innovative in providing ideas. Spending time understanding their motivations and work-styles also leads to a stronger culture and more cohesive teams.