Changing Company Culture Takes More than Words

Have you ever been to a restaurant that was dirty, noisy, and uncomfortable?  If so, you probably wanted to get out of it as quickly as possible.  The fact is when we are in a toxic environment our natural response is to leave.  This is not the best result when it comes to businesses, however.  Businesses cannot afford to have employees walking out the door as a result of poor company culture.  Instead, it is up to the managers to change the culture in order to make it more enjoyable for employees.  The company culture contributes to the identity and values of the company.  A strong company culture also attracts better talent and retains that talent.  Therefore, company culture is an important part of any successful business and must adapt to the needs of the employees.

Changing company culture isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.  For today’s businesses which employ a large number of millennials, these young professionals are quick to notice inauthenticity.  It is not enough to simply “talk” about making changes.  Today’s workforce needs to see it in action in order to believe it.  What this means for today’s managers is that making half-hearted attempts at engagement efforts won’t cut it.  These young careerists are in need of seeing actual change. Here are a few tips for driving a culture change that will stick.

Be an Inspiration

When it comes to cultural change, simply explaining the need for change isn’t enough.  To really get employees committed and on board, they must feel a deep desire to change.  A great manager can do this by finding ways to inspire their employees.  This can be done by encouraging employees to take part in community service activities, being part of a nonprofit campaign, or even allowing employees to choose a charitable project that the whole team can be part of.  The manager is inspiring change by giving employees a purpose.

Make Note of Progress

People want to work in a place where accomplishments are celebrated and hard work is recognized.  In order to create a culture where employees feel valued, managers should take time to recognize a job well done.  Maybe there is a board in the office where accomplishments are noted or maybe the manager makes a public announcement at the next meeting.  No matter how it is done, a positive work culture is built on positivity and encouragement.

Harness Networks

Effective change makers are good at gathering a network of people who support their mission.  Managers can do this by recruiting employees to be part of different committees such as “party planning committee” who recognizes staff birthdays and plans holiday gatherings.  There could also be a “suggestion committee” who is responsible for taking employee suggestions such as casual days.  This fosters a culture where employees work together to accomplish a task.


Finally, the most important thing a manager can do if they want to foster cultural change is to listen to employees.  Let their voices be heard and actually hear what they have to say.  Make notes of their concerns and suggestions and actually do what you can to take action.  For example, if your company claims to be a culture that supports a “work/life balance” but employees feel overworked and never get a break, consider implementing flex scheduling once a week to show employees that their concerns matter to you.