What’s Right for Your Culture?

What’s Right for Your Culture?

In the midst of the war for talent and a hyper focus on improving employee engagement, you may be looking at your culture and asking, “how can we compete?”

As an example, in 2004 Google wrote in their IPO statement that they provided employees with the ability to dedicate up to 20% of their time on innovative projects.  That’s basically one full day per week to focus on ideas outside of their regular work.  How many employers can afford to provide that?

But there are lots of things that you can do:

  • Have a vision for your culture. Know what you’d like it to be and share it with your team.  When an idea comes a long, it’s easier to ask, “how does this fit with the vision for our culture” and determine whether it is right for you or not.
  • Get input from your team. Often the things that employees want aren’t the most expensive or complicated things, so be sure to ask.  You might be surprised by the reasonableness of some small things that can make a big difference.
  • Do what you can afford. Every organization has its limits.  While it might be amazing to do it all, offering what you can is often enough.
  • Be creative. What works for one team may not be the answer for yours.  Needs differ greatly by industry, workload, personality, and generational differences.  Do what’s right for your team.

Still feeling that your competitors are offering more?  Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t.  Remember Google’s 20% time for innovation?  Shortly after it was announced, their employees reported that it was really more like 120% of time.  They said the time was available after you completed a full week of work, plus.  By 2013, it was reported as a dead policy.

It’s human nature to share the wonderful things that we do.  We share pictures of our favorite vacations on social media, but we’re much less likely to share pictures of our bad days.  Organizations are no different.  We share photos of the team building event on the ropes course, but not the difficult performance conversations.

Be yourself and do what’s right for your unique organization and culture.  Learn from the neighbors, but don’t feel like you have to keep up with the Jones’.

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