A successful workplace is built on culture, not strategy. Strategy ensures your workplace has a path to success and longevity, but culture is what determines if that path is followed and achieved.
As the nexus of any workplace, employees determine success. Without them, the mission, products, services, and strategy would not be possible. It is essential that employees work in an environment that provides them with opportunities to thrive.
A workplace culture that empowers employees is one that is intentional and sensitive. It also embraces safety, respect, collaboration, diversity, community, communication, and inclusivity.
Luann Boggs, the VP of Business Development at bloomfield knoble Advertising, a marketing and advertising agency that embraced workplace culture from its inception more than 20 years ago, states that it has resulted in more efficient processes, collaborative and motivated employees, and a unified front that delivers quality work. “Creating a space in which the best employees feel comfortable and encouraged is a place where success is fostered,” Boggs says.
It is essential to build an empowering workplace culture for employees to ensure company success follows.
A successful workplace is built on culture, not strategy.
Create a Safe and Collaborative Workplace Built on Constant Improvement
Building an empowering culture takes more than a few extra meetings. There is a word in Japanese called “kaizen,” which translates to “continuous improvement”. As a business philosophy, it pertains to continuously improving processes and operations, including the environment and the people involved.
Kaizen requires continuous effort, discipline, and intention. Culture isn’t built overnight.
Embrace this and you can focus on building a wholesome and collaborative workplace culture, hiring employees from every walk of life to reflect diversified perspectives, encouraging them to confidently speak up and be genuinely listened to, and enabling each employee to function in multiple roles.
When your culture emphasizes these principles, your employees will flourish as leaders, self-starters, and empowered team members trusted to do what they do best.
“A successful and conscious company attracts successful and conscious people,” says Chris Weatherley, bloomfield knoble Partner and Creative Director.
It also provides a fast-track for new hires to successfully carry out their responsibilities. They will have a team to rely on, and will not fear bringing mistakes to leadership and taking initiative in their position.
This results in employee satisfaction and success, and when your employees feel this way, they stay. With quality employees developing quality work, others will be enticed to join.
Take Action in Building a Diverse Team
An empowering workplace culture must also empower everyone equally. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women account for nearly half (47%) of the modern workforce, so companies should deliberately set out to build a culture that reflects both women’s needs as well as men’s in the workplace.
Taking deliberate action to diversify should never be done to meet a quota. Instead, it should be done to embrace the strengths that come with different perspectives. Neil Patel, co-founder of NP Digital says, “Knowing that good decisions can come from anywhere and expanding employee freedom are cornerstones of attracting talented individuals who will fit into the culture if you let them.”
It is employees like these who go above and beyond to achieve business goals and often find themselves working on weekends or until the job is done.
Engage in Your Internal and External Communities
Incorporating external communities that align with your workplace mission and culture is also essential.
CEO of IT company cloudEQ, Sean Barker said in a Forbes article, “Create – and maintain – a culture that encourages and allows independent thinking and independent donating. Embrace your employees’ passions and support charities and organizations that are important to them. It will encourage them to do it. As long as it’s a reputable organization or community group, don’t govern what they do or where they donate time – it should be 100% up to them.”
External communities can mean many things, such as organizations, leadership foundations, diversity and inclusion programs, and more. Whatever it is that fits your culture, welcome it.
This will enable you to continuously learn, implement, and adapt your culture and be sensitive to the individuals who make up your workforce. When you do this, your internal community of employees will proactively engage as well, creating quality work as a team with reduced conflict.
Organize An Open Line of Communication
An available line of communication is essential for employees to be their own leaders. Executive coach Heather Backstrom wrote about open-door policies and says, “It’s not enough to just say you have an open-door policy; as a leader, you have to earn it. While your door may be open, it’s a problem if no one walks through it or is reluctant to do so. You have to create an environment where employees feel comfortable coming to see you. In other words, you have to earn a real open-door policy.”
Communication ensures your employees can find help, bring up struggles, and get ahead of potential problems.
Indeed, there is nothing more effective in preventing issues than embracing open communication. Internally, individuals can bring their struggles to leadership and team members, and departments can collaborate, preventing issues that arise when employees are not in sync.
A communication-sensitive workplace also means employees know they have a voice and can make an impact, both internally and externally. This shows them that they are trusted, respected, and empowered to take initiative in any way that they believe can benefit the workplace as a whole.
Choose Inclusivity Over Exclusivity
Choosing inclusivity over exclusivity means listening to your employees, looking at the person as a whole in the hiring process, and understanding how you can make different people fit.
Rob Catalano, chief engagement officer at WorkTango, stated that “Top-quartile companies in ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed those in the fourth quartile by 36% in profitability.”
As Alison Coward, founder of Bracket Creative said in a recent podcast interview, “A team culture depends on who’s in it, what they’re working on, the nature of their work, what that team looks like together, and the environment that they’re working within.”
To build an empowering culture for your employees, you have to look at all these elements. And the best way to do so is to increase collaboration, respect, communication, and engagement in every way you can.
Making an exerted effort to forge a culture that empowers your employees will ensure their collective talents can create a powerful engine for improvement on all levels of the business.