How to drive a high performance culture
Company culture is hard measure and harder to change. Many leaders decide to let the culture form itself, but this is a missed opportunity. If you as the leader of the business take an active role in forming the core of your company culture and base it on your values, you can drive higher productivity and business growth.
Steps to drive high performance:
Make an emotional connection
In order for your employees to bring their A game to your business, they need to be personally invested in it. Creating a deep emotional investment in the organisation comes from having a purpose and a north star to strive towards. Employees who connect with and believe in the purpose of your business are far more likely to work towards achieving that purpose every day.
If you have a strong purpose or company mission, but you find your team aren't connecting with it, try re-communicating the purpose and embedding it in more of your day-to-day. Simply stating it on your company website isn't enough. Communicating your purpose internally as well as externally will bring a sense of pride to your employees as they reach milestones that bring them closer to the purpose.
Trust is a two-way street, so not only do your employees need to trust you, you need to trust them too. Often times trust from a manage to an employee looks like taking a step back and allowing them more autonomy in their role, or allowing them to make a big decision for a project.
When your employees trust you, they follow your decisions. They believe that even if they don't know all the details, you are taking them in the right direction and they're willing to work harder to reach that destination with you.
If you're struggling to trust your employees, ask your managers to send you some examples of work their team did that they were proud of. It doesn't have to be technical, but even examples of the team supporting each other, offering ideas, and personal improvement and things your managers could be proud of. Bringing yourself closer to these day to day achievements will help you build trust in your team.
Hire for passion, not just experience
When an employee loves their job, they give 100% of their effort. Passion often falls lower in the priority list when recruiting, but when it comes to drive and motivation, it's one of the largest factors. Hiring someone who may be missing a few skills, but expresses extreme passion for the position will add to your culture of high performance.
Skills can always be learnt, and someone who is passionate will do their best to learn quickly.
Beware of overwhelmed employees
Large business change can happen suddenly and without warning (just look at the entirety of 2020). Whether it's a merger, acquisition, fast growth, or sudden downsizing, your employees can become overwhelmed by change.
The change may also come with expecting more of your employees while also giving them less, as has happened in 2020 and often happens with downsizing. Leaving your employees hanging with promises and intentions of hiring more people or providing them more resources only helps for a limited amount of time.
During these times, it's important to keep an eye on the performance of your employees, offer flexibilities, request and accept feedback and suggestions, and reduce workloads where you can.
Document your culture
Here at Perkbox we have a global culture book and a local culture book for Australia. The documentation of our culture helps to set expectations in new hires, and guides employees who've been around longer.
The process of documenting our culture involved input from many employees, required us to examine and question our culture, and left everyone with a stronger sense of what our culture is.
To make high performance part of your culture, formally including it in documents that are well circulated and shared with employees is necessary.
Set and measure goals
It's incredibly important to have one overarching goal that all employees feel they can influence. The most obvious one is revenue, but it doesn't have to be! This is what you can measure all employees against as a collective, but smaller goals for departments, teams within those departments, and individual goals are equally important.
When you've got this many goals at this many levels, your managers and leaders need to act as coaches who push every individual closer to their goals (team or otherwise). Investing in training for your managers is a must so they feel equipped with the tools they need to do their jobs.
Measuring these goals is the last step. It's not realistic to expect to hit every goal every time, so when you do experience falling short of a goal, it's important to do this together as a team as well.
Provide the right space
Your physical work environment impacts your productivity and mood. If your employees are working on equipment that's old, slow, or even falling apart, it's going to impact they every day work. Similarly, a fresh coat of paint, a good clean out of items that are collecting dust, and providing access to some natural light and clean air can do wonders for your team's morale.
Most of us have genius ideas when we're walking or in the shower. Encourage team and social events to be held outside for the added creative thinking benefits.
Don't forget to stop and smell the roses. Designate regular intervals to take a step back and look at everything you and your employees have achieved within a certain time period.
Shout out the people who pulled it together, the teams who contributed, and link it all back to your purpose and the bigger picture.
Spontaneous celebrations the moment a milestone is reach are of course encouraged. Capitalising on the adrenaline and in-the-moment joy brings you and your employees closer together as you share the experience.