It’s well known that a positive company culture attracts top talent and improves customer service, thereby retaining customers. COVID has only reinforced the importance of creating a community where employees can face challenges together.
On January 12, 2021, we invited three Kansas City executives to join moderator and Miller Group CEO Sean Miller in a discussion over how their companies built award-winning cultures. Featured panelists were:
- Brian Leitner, CFP, ChFC, chief practice management officer at Mariner Wealth Advisors
- Debbie Wilkerson, president/CEO at Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
- Ramin Cherafat, CEO at McCownGordon Construction
To see their conversation and get specific ideas on creating a strong culture, the full panel discussion is now available to watch.
Don’t have time to watch? Here are a few key take-aways:
Hiring and HR Practices
Hiring the right people is key. Employees should embody your company’s values and have a genuine interest in the mission. Once they are there, make culture a part of the review process. For example, are they meeting teamwork expectations?
Another idea is to get employees involved in the decision-making process by asking employees at all levels for feedback. This helps you hear different perspectives (and potentially great ideas) from associates throughout the company.
Communication & Surviving Challenges
The saying “communication is key” is not hyperbole. Employees value transparency and authenticity, plus it builds trust. This is especially key during organizational changes and challenging times such as COVID. These are times when communication must be more frequent, whether it be through weekly emails, in-person or virtual Q&As with leadership, or videos from executives explaining the latest developments. Have transparent conversations about where you are as an organization, both financially and operationally. In return, you’ll keep rumors at bay and help employees understand their role in the organization’s health.
There may be times you don’t have all the answers or details to share, and that’s okay. Be open about what you do and do not know while trying to provide a timeline for when you will have answers.
Keep Values Top of Mind
Your company values should guide the organization’s and employees’ decisions. As the panel put it, culture is an embodiment of your values. Really lean into your stated values when making big decisions. Also remind employees of the values frequently, such as at the beginning of employee meetings. Ramin suggested giving yearly awards recognizing team members who best embody the values.
The panel also discussed:
- Demonstrating company values through the decisions you make
- Involving employees at all levels when making big decisions
- How they successfully maintained culture during COVID
- How changes made during the pandemic will carry on post-COVID