Take Control of Your Company Culture Using a Strengths-Based Philosophy
Building a good company culture begins long before the first client and the first hire. Good company culture starts when a company is founded. The trick is creating a culture that complements the organization’s core goals and keeps employees engaged. But, without constant attention, it’s natural for companies to experience drift. The answer is to steer the culture as the company grows and changes over time.
With CliftonStrengths at the core of your company culture, you can correct the drift and get your company culture back on track. Keep reading to learn what good culture looks like, why you should want it, and how to achieve it. I’ll even throw in some tips on what to avoid as well!
“Fostering a community that embraces a fundamentally sound understanding of strengths and weaknesses will make achieving ambitious goals not only possible but inevitable.“
What is good company culture?
When you think about work culture, a water cooler where employees share brief conversations about sports and the weather might come to mind. And while those interactions are part of a work culture, they don’t even begin to scratch the surface. As I said earlier: You already have a company culture. It encompasses everything from onboarding and employee development to the nuts and bolts of what you do for your clients or customers. Does your onboarding process have a defined structure, or is it left to managers? Are the standards involved in handling the customer experience clearly defined? Do employees need to clean out the break room fridge at the end of the week? All of this is part of your work culture, even the small stuff.
CliftonStrengths can be a powerful tool for creating a robust and positive company culture. Using CliftonStrengths to assess the current state of your team is imperative before trying to make any broad changes. Steering blindly forward can land you further from where you want to be and make it even harder to course correct.
Now that we’ve established how pervasive your work culture is, we can address what comes next.
Why should we strive for good company culture?
Creating a good work culture can seem daunting, especially if you have a large company. I can tell you from experience that the investment of time and resources is not only good for employee wellbeing (which is reason enough!) but also for your bottom line. Companies that implement a strengths-based philosophy have seen an average 29% increase in profit.
Let’s break down why that happens. Simply by having employees take the assessment, employers can look forward to a 7% boost in employee engagement. Companies can craft a fully realized strengths-based philosophy by using that buzz as a springboard. Once CliftonStrengths has been woven into your work culture, employee engagement will surge. And with that shift will come an increase in sales, profit, and employee and customer engagement.
How do we get there?
While each company is different, there are some strategies I’ve seen that work well. Broadly speaking, we can start with leadership, move on to employees, and then focus on the organization as a whole. The central theme I’ve seen work is that everyone from the CEO to the newest hire helps each other grow and develop into the best version of themselves. Read on to find out how we get there:
Stage One: Leadership
To truly start crafting a good work culture, start at the top. Begin by having the CEO, or whoever drives the organization’s philosophy, take the CliftonStrengths assessment. Seeing the process firsthand is a surefire way to get things moving. Moving on to managers can be an excellent next step. They are the leaders that your primary workforce should be looking to for coaching and support. Allowing them to use the assessment and experience coaching will enable them to better integrate it into their workflow and the employees they manage.
Stage Two: Employees
Now it’s time to debut the shift. With leadership already onboard, this step can be genuinely transformative. We recommend allowing every employee to take the CliftonStrengths assessment. Coaching employees through the process should be a breeze if we’ve adequately prepared leadership and management. But if there are hiccups, don’t worry! You may hear things like, “This isn’t how we’ve always done things,” and that’s natural.
See my section on what to avoid, where I’ll discuss this more. Another situation you may encounter is an employee or manager who has an idea for integrating strengths into a facet of your organization you haven’t thought of. Embrace that! Those emergent ideas will be vital to making your work culture unique and compelling. It needs to grow and expand to fit the people who fill your ranks.
Stage Three: Bring it together
By following a carefully crafted plan for execution, you can build a company-wide network of Strengths Coaches & Champions that will bring positive change and growth. Integrating strengths into your internal programs and onboarding can be a fantastic way to keep these ideas fresh and accessible.
What to avoid?
I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t warn you about a few potential pitfalls to avoid. The good news is that we’ve seen it all. Here are a few to look out for as you start your journey toward a new, more strengths-based work culture:
It won’t happen overnight
What you’re doing is shifting a mindset, and that takes time. Every company is different, but we’ve seen that doing it well can take about 2-3 years to see the full result. Investing in any program can fall flat if it’s not fully embraced and integrated throughout the company structure.
Ongoing feedback instead of too-late reviews
By providing consistent and regular feedback on their strengths and performance, employees will develop much better than with traditional reviews conducted annually. Corrective actions taken during reviews are often too little too late. With CliftonStrengths, you continually assess and develop people, so their potential is not wasted.
It doesn’t end with the assessment
After an employee takes an assessment, it’s easy to feel like something has been accomplished. And you’d be right. As I said earlier, you can see a jump in engagement simply by providing the opportunity to take the assessment. But leaving it there is wasting an opportunity to leverage their newfound strengths and weaknesses in ways that will benefit both them and the company.
Focusing on strengths doesn’t mean ignoring weaknesses
When an employee sees their weaknesses, it may feel like they’ve been given permission to perform poorly at tasks that require that skill set. The opposite should be true. They can use their strengths to correct any weaknesses they find. And being aware of their weaknesses can, and should, show them that they need to pay closer attention to tasks that require those skills. I mentioned earlier that a good work culture is one where everyone helps each other grow. Awareness of weaknesses is a perfect example of how others can help an individual succeed.
Fostering a community that embraces a fundamentally sound understanding of strengths and weaknesses will make achieving ambitious goals not only possible but inevitable. Your work culture will already come preloaded with its strengths and weaknesses. Intentional assessment and strategies for implementation can correct a drifting work culture if done well.
Taking control of your work culture might seem daunting, but with CliftonStrengths coaching and assessment, it’s possible! We will help you integrate a strengths-based philosophy into your company culture and establish a positive environment for everyone to thrive and become their best.
If you would like to give your employees the skills to succeed and thrive at work, get started with these steps:
- Schedule A Call. Set up a complimentary 15-minute call. We’ll discuss how to help your business leverage CliftonStrengths to craft a good work culture.
- Get A Plan. We will help you craft a customized pathway to success.
- Carry It Forward. Help your company take the skills you’ve given them and keep the positive momentum.