On the second episode of this podcast, we discussed Culture and how it relates to the Customer Experience.
Culture is simply the way things are done. Culture is how it looks, feels, and sounds like to work with and for your company.
Culture is the environment.
Great cultures don’t happen by chance. They are thought out, planned, defined and then implement or integrated purposely and by example.
Every organization has a culture. It may not be the one you want unless you’ve been strategic and deliberate about building it into the DNA of your company.
The Culture Book is simply a book compiled of statements of how your individual employees see or define the culture of your organization.
Everyone writes a few sentences about your culture and what is great about it, the highlights, they way they would describe it to someone, how it makes them succeed or just happy to come to work everyday.
Everyone will have their own definition of the culture because it will mean something different and impact every single person in your company in a different way.
Tony Hsieh and his team at Zappos began creating their culture book to make sure that during their rapid growth and hired new staff, that they really understood the culture they were going to become a part of.
Zappos was very deliberate in crafting their core values and creating the culture they are known for. The core values are the foundation of their culture and play a big role in how they hire, train and develop their teams.
A strong culture means lower employee burnout and therefore, lower turnover. It leads to higher employee engagement and higher profitability. But really, companies should focus on their culture because it matters. Because it’s just the right thing to do. To quote Tony Hsieh, “Just because you can’t measure the ROI of something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. What’s the ROI on hugging your mom?”
How to create a culture book? Simple. Just ask everyone to write a short statement in 500 words or less about how they view the culture in your organization. They can give a few specific examples or simply say why they like it. There are no rules. That’s the key.
Remind folks that this is being done to create somewhat of a time capsule of the current culture.
What about a bad culture? Still collect statements, yet don’t publish this as a book. Use it as a starting point to build the culture you desire.
I think the culture book becomes even better when combined with or used in conjunction with the employee handbook.
Employee handbooks aren’t known exciting things to read. Most companies have them because they are somewhat required and folks read them Bec tase they are required to.
I recommend combining the two if possible. Have the desired culture statement at the beginning, but then drop in culture examples relating to different topics of the handbook as they are addressed whenever possible.
Next step – Discuss creating a culture book within your company written by your employees.
Use a negative culture as the impetus to create a culture group and discuss how they’d like to see the culture improve and ways to accomplish that.
That simple strategy itself improves culture. Employees like to be heard and feel they have input. They’ll feel empowered and more hopeful and positive when they see leadership actively making the working environment more beneficial for everyone.
If overall positive – publish it and celebrate it. Celebrate the realness of it. Celebrate your staff and their part in carrying on the culture you’ve work so hard for.
I’d love to hear about your culture books if you have them already or how it is going as you start to to create them.
The ROI on them won’t be measured directly on your bottom line, but it will certainly be felt by every person in your company and ultimately by your customers.