8 ways to align culture across borders
The saying “culture eats strategy for breakfast” might be a cliche, but it’s true. A strong company culture, where people feel connected and aligned with its values, is one of the best routes to success. But how do you achieve this on a truly global scale, ensuring alignment no matter where people are based?
We spoke to business owners and HR leaders to get their insights. From offering the right training, to leading with empathy, here are their top tips on aligning culture.
Offer relevant training
Culture is created through the way employees think and act, so it is important that the goals and values of the company are reflected in the way employees behave. Employees should be made aware of the company's values and how they relate to their job duties. This can be done through training and development programmes, employee handbooks and company newsletters. By having employees understand and embody the company's values, it can help to create a cohesive team that is committed to success. Additionally, it can foster a positive work environment that encourages creativity and innovation. Finally, it can help create a sense of camaraderie and community among employees.
Bring in the right people
I like to think of this idea in the reverse. Instead of better aligning your culture, values and goals with your people, why not create the company culture you desire powered by your vision, and then fill it with talented employees that share your passion? They will take that vision and drive it into the future.
When you are looking for employees to fill your company, having a very clear framework of the job and what it takes to be successful in that role has a ripple effect on the person you bring in to fill it. Then, using a competency-based assessment tool takes the framework that you have established and helps to identify people aligned with the role and your company.
When you bring the right people in, you create a harmonious environment for your employees to thrive. When your team is happy and fulfilled, your customers will feel it too — and the success of your company will continue to grow. It's a win-win.
Enable location agnostic recognition
Workforces are becoming more and more global. This can be challenging from a culture perspective, so it’s important to create an environment where everyone feels part of a shared purpose or goal. Empower managers to reward and recognise team members in any location, regardless of how many people are actually in that location. It’s not just about managers either. Enable employees to recognise each other — whether it’s for good work or even personal milestones. This peer-to-peer element can really help you build a strong culture, regardless of whether people are working in an office, on a site, or remotely.
Show appreciation with handwritten thank you notes
We believe that one way a company can better align its culture, values and goals with its people is by handwritten thank you notes to employees. Every quarter, our CEO does this for each and every employee. In addition to thanking them for their hard work and dedication, she also takes the opportunity to share her thoughts on the company's progress and what she sees as our key priorities moving forward. This simple gesture has had a tremendous impact on both morale and motivation. Not only does it make our employees feel appreciated, but it also helps them feel more connected to our company's culture and values.
Create company culture through storytelling
Great organisations always tell stories about the right behaviours. For instance, if your company encourages employees to submit positive stories about colleagues, these can be shared company-wide. You are creating a storytelling culture that will reinforce the values you want the organisation to embody. That will translate to your customers. They will see you as authentic and effective. Your company should be able to identify its uniqueness and create storytelling around that quality.
Focus on people enablement
People enablement is about making the employee feel valued. It shows them that their individual success is an integral part in the success of the business. Giving employees a seat at the table when it comes to decision making allows them to feel and know that they are valued. Enabling them to share their ideas, thoughts and concerns gives employees a chance to align their own values with that of the company, therefore fostering a stronger work ethic.
Understand and embrace diversity
By increasing everyone’s understanding of diversity and embracing the different ways people think, you can bring individuals and teams together and foster a deeper understanding of each other. This in turn will lead to staff feeling valued, respected and listened to. Eventually, this creates a socially-conscious working environment where business goals, staff and clients can work in harmony with each other.
Lead with empathy
Success for your business starts with the small things you might take for granted. Like having team leaders with a flair for motivating staff, or management that are open and positive when engaging with employees. Empathy can be a powerful tool in your company employee/employer skill set. Having an empathetic culture means that employers understand individuals' personal circumstances and capacities. Being frank and transparent with employees is also appreciated by staff. Managers don't need to show off their authority but they need to be good communicators of where and how the business is achieving its aims. Being humble and asking for suggestions is also a good recipe for success.