How to Build a Positive Work Culture by Embracing these 4 Values

Several years before ‘employee engagement’ became a talking point in boardrooms everywhere, an associate and I had the opportunity to work with a group of young managers whose fresh ideas on workplace culture still resonate today.

 

These six managers, who were developing and building a new manufacturing company, were convinced that if they had the “right culture” they not only could build a great organization, but also one that could be sustained for many years.

 

In addition to making a great product, they also knew that if they were to be successful, they needed all employees to believe in and see this new company as theirs. They wanted all employees to behave and act as entrepreneurs. They wanted the employees to worry about the quality of the final product, to have “direct line of sight with the customer”, and to be concerned about each others’ safety. They truly wanted the company to be like a family.

 

They were convinced that if the company was to be successful, they would need a philosophy of management that would allow every employee to be deeply involved in the company. They coined the phrase “Hire for values and train for skills” and were able to expound upon their management values by developing the simple acronym C.H.A.T.

  • C- Courage
  • H- Honesty
  • A- Attitude
  • T- Trust

 

The new philosophy became laser focused and was present everywhere, from banners to preshift meetings under the encouraging slogan “Let’s Have a C.H.A.T”.

 

Courage

They wanted everyone to understand that they, as managers, were going to stand up for the company values, and expected others to do the same, even if it wasn’t the popular choice. They emphasized that even though other competitors abide by the status quo, employees and managers were encouraged to take risks, because without risks there would be no progress.

 

Courage was also found by looking out for each other. They believed it was easy to stay silent and allow standards to slip, but it took courage to make sure everyone wore safety glasses and wore the proper PPE.

 

As managers, they displayed courage by allowing themselves to be vulnerable. They clearly understood that they had the authority of the company, but they also wanted the power of the people. They did not have to make all the decisions, nor did they have to ok every purchase. They allowed the people to think and act as owners.

 

Honesty

They also believed in the value of honesty, and they wanted to hire people who lived by that same value.

 

Honesty is a simple concept, but one that affects every facet of your organization. They simply guided their employees to remember that there are no secrets; you should share you information with others so that everyone can make the right decisions. Avoid being misleading or deceptive and always do what you say you are going to do. Simply put, “just tell the truth.”

 

Attitude

Each one of these managers used the term “look in the mirror”, meaning that the team’s attitude is the reflection of the managers’.

 

If you want others to be positive, then you must be positive. If you want people to care about others, then you as managers need to care about others. If you want employees to be concerned about quality and customer service, then they as managers had to demonstrate the same concerns.

 

They knew that an environment of positive people is necessary to be successful. The management team realized that one’s attitude may be the only thing in life under their control, but that their attitudes can greatly affect the emotions, behaviors, and responses of everyone they come into contact with.

 

Knowing this, they fully encouraged employees to interact with customers and external vendors. Not only did this encourage more positive attitudes, but it spread the word to current and future customers – “this is a great company.” Employees felt they could make a positive difference, and so they did.

 

Trust

After a strong focus on courage, honesty, and attitude, the management team knew that something else was needed to hold their organization together, they decided on trust. Trust

was the glue that holds all relationships together, and it would be the glue that would hold their new organization, and their “family”, together.

 

As a group they determined what trust would look like in the real day to day life of the company, in both the form of a noun and a verb.

 

Trust as a noun was a responsibility placed on everyone – management and team. They knew they had to be trustworthy in every aspect of their business if they expected the others to trust them and ultimately reflect their values.

 

And trust as a verb was an outward example, obvious to everyone, of how they thought about the team. They trusted team members to do the right things, they trusted everyone to not just pass the buck, and they showed trust by sharing financial numbers with the team and trusted in their ideas by asking them to come up with ways to improve quality, production, and reduce unnecessary cost.

 

The new, young managers were convinced that if the company cared about the success of their employees, and the employees cared about the success of the company, that they would have a winner. And they and their company culture are still thriving under these simple yet focused values today.

 

“The behavior that best creates credibility and inspires trust is acting in the best interest of others.” – Steven M.R. Covey

 

Roger has spent his entire 49 year career working with and growing people on all levels. His experiences have made him an expert in the Operations Management and Human Resources fields. Connect with Roger on LinkedIn and follow PPI on Twitter for weekly news, trends, and insider insight.­

Personnel Profiles Of Columbus Works With Ohio School Board Association To Achieve Their Mission Of Educational Excellence

Personnel Profiles of Columbus (PPI) has joined with the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) in their efforts to lead the way to educational excellence. After a very successful pilot program, OSBA has acquired exclusive rights from Personnel Profiles to use their Achiever Assessment in all Ohio K-12 public school employment searches for three years. It is OSBA’s hope to expand their search capabilities in using the Achiever for leadership positions in Ohio school districts, including school principals, teachers and other district personnel. Kathy LaSota, Director of School Board Services, and her staff launched the initial campaign in 2014, adding PPI’s Achiever Assessment to aid in the recruitment and hiring of superintendents and treasurers.

 

Prior to launching the pilot, PPI conducted a work force study by testing successful superintendents and treasurers. The results of the study enabled PPI to build customized benchmarks, representing successful on-job performance, across each of the six mental aptitudes and ten personality dimensions that the Achiever measures. As a result, OSBA and each respective school board using their search services can compare a final search candidate’s results against those performance benchmarks to assist them in the final hiring decision.

 

In addition to the benchmarks, the Achiever report also provided behavioral interviewing questions customized for each candidate to assist LaSota’s staff and the school boards. LaSota noted that it greatly amplified their ability to find the right candidate.

7 Simple Actions for Success that Great Leaders Know

Engaged teams really do want to make their company successful.  Companies know that if their employees succeed, then in all likelihood the company will also succeed. This concept is as old as time – it is called a symbiotic relationship.  When two organisms of different species “work together,” each one benefits from the relationship. There are many examples in the animal world, like birds eating ticks and insects off the body of a water buffalo – the birds gain food and the buffalo gains much needed pest control.

 

Symbiotic relationships also exist in the business world, and a company culture that engages employees will foster and develop this symbiotic relationship. If the management team is committed to follow through and implement just seven simple actions, then an engaged workforce will emerge and become the partner in the symbiotic relationship that the company needs to thrive.

 

Engagement brings about an environment where employees act symbiotically, where they succeed and the company succeeds.  None of these seven actions are difficult, though some may surprise you; it just takes a strong commitment and a strategic plan to make it happen.

 

  1. Foster a respectful environment 

    Conduct an exercise with your managers; ask them to think of a manager they respect and brainstorm for the characteristics that they say make them respect that manager, then compile a list. I’ll bet you will find things like: honest, respectful, fair, good communicator, shows appreciation, teacher, trusting and trustworthy, results oriented, calls me by my name, takes time for me, good listener, has a sense of humor, is a planner… and the list goes on.If your manager can develop a list of what caused them to respect someone then why don’t they use that as their guideline of how to treat people with respect? In his book, Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with The Principles of Respect, Dr. Paul Marciano emphasizes that while recognition and rewards are good, they don’t foster long-term meaningful results.

    It should hopefully come as no surprise that basically everyone just wants to be treated with respect and dignity, so building an environment that reflects those principles will create more long-term success for your company.

 

 

  1. Promote and encourage open communications
    John H. Mc Connell, founder of Worthington Industries, said that one of the reasons for the success of the company was their ‘unique’ management system, simply, “We talk to one another.”Employees like to know what is going on in the company. If they have valid information they can use it to make decisions that will help the company. All managers need to be good communicators and be clear about what they are saying. Don’t blow smoke up people’s shorts, and speak from the heart. Speak with honesty and sincerity and your people will respond in kind.

 

  1. Make sure that you and your leaders use the common niceties in life
    This might seem incredibly simple, but get back to using “please”, “thank you”, and “I appreciate that” in your daily work life. We need to get away from always telling and start asking. It cost nothing and gains so much.

 

  1. Know your people
    They are all different – age, gender, religion, ethnicity, political motivation, etc.  Take time to find out what is important to them. Why do they come to work? What do they do for leisure? Do you share common interests? Have a meal together and figure these things out. Not only will you often uncover talent, but you’ll bond with your people.While coaching at Notre Dame, Hall of Fame football coach Lou Holtz used to end a weekly team meeting by asking “Does anyone need any help, need a ride, need a tutor?”.  His theory was that those who help others are helped the most, and you can see this premise at work in successful businesses around the world today.

 

  1. Be a good delegator
    Engaging leaders understand the value of delegation; they give employees opportunities to be involved in important projects. Not only do employees learn and contribute, but they become more engaged and invested in the overall good of the organization.Ask for employees’ ideas and encourage critical thinking. Make sure to follow up on ideas and communicate with employees which ones will be pursued and why. But most importantly, don’t be afraid to let an employee tackle a new task. Not only will they build skills, but also confidence, and a stronger sense of being part of the team.

 

  1. Be involved in the community and encourage others to do the same
    Employees of all ages enjoy working for organizations that are involved in the good for the community. Speak positively about donating time and talents to help in community endeavors and offer your employees the opportunity to be teachers and coaches.When your good employees get involved in the community, they will also be spreading a positive message about your organization. This is one of the best branding tools available, and it benefits everyone involved.
  1. Include spouses and families as much as possible
    Spouses and families offer support and encouragement. If they feel included in communications, learning opportunities, brown bag lunches, or open houses and picnics then they will be more supportive and positive about the company.I have known many employees with excellent attendance records who give a lot of the credit to their spouse who encouraged them to get up and out the door because their company loyalty had also been fostered.

 

The above seven ideas might look as if they could be simple to adopt, but it takes a coordinated commitment by a company and its leaders to turn them into actions. Others will look at this and think they will be just too difficult to accomplish. To those people I say, just give them a try, you have no idea what symbiotic relationship you could be missing out on.

 

And remember, as Jon M.  Huntsman said in his book Winners Never Cheat, “The surest path to success is the one where others walk with you.”

 

Performance Evaluations: Are You Doing it Right?

With annual performance evaluations for 2014 drawing to a close, I thought it would be a good time to visit how well your company’s leadership performed. Did they use this critical time to invest in building meaningful relationships with your employees?  And did they design a blue print to improve employee engagement for 2015? To figure those questions out, let’s reflect a little deeper on the following:

 

  • How important is one of your employee’s annual evaluations? To you? To them?
  • How well does your company’s process work? Does the evaluation contain performance measurements? Can you measure key behaviors that drive performance? Was there a section on planned development? And were the evaluations completed on time?
  • During your evaluation, did you effectively connect performance measurements with the behaviors that actually drive performance? How difficult was it to “objectively” discuss the employee’s behaviors in the context of their overall job performance?
  • What was the spirit and intent in conducting the review? How comfortable were you in conducting the evaluation? Were you an effective communicator and coach in this process?
  • What was your objective of having the review?
  • What did you accomplish?

In an effort to answer these questions and measure how well your company performed in conducting employee performance evaluations overall, I suggest we use the Gallup research that was conducted to measure the levels of employee engagement in the work force. You may recall that they have surveyed in excess of ten million people to arrive at some fascinating and useful findings that connected employee engagement directly to profitability, productivity, employee retention, quality and service.

 

So, if we were to conduct a survey of all of your employees who recently received their annual performance evaluations, how would they respond?  Because they are tested and proven, we’ll use some of the Gallup survey questions to really measure how well you did when performing the evaluations.

Gallup suggested that when measuring the core of a strong and vibrant workplace that, “Great Managers” ideally should get each of their employees to respond, Strongly Agree to each of the following survey questions:

 

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

So how well do you think your employees would respond to these six questions? Was the time and energy that you devoted to conducting these evaluations an investment in or a cost to your organization?

 

Often when Personnel Profiles, Inc. works with a client who has people issues and concerns, we use these six questions to measure leadership’s commitment to investing in their people relationships. We simply ask the owner and his/her leadership team, independent of each other, to grade their own level of organizational effectiveness in addressing each question by using an A, B, C, D or F grading scheme.

 

I highly recommend that you consider doing the same when evaluating your organization’s performance of conducting employee performance evaluations, as well as maintaining or increasing the level of engagement overall in your work place. Remember that “Talented employees need great managers, how long employees stay and how productive they are while there is determined by their relationship with their immediate supervisor.” – “First, Break all the rules”, 1999

 

As a part of the services we provide at Personnel Profiles, Inc. we have been able to streamline and turn around the stagnant assessment process at many companies and provide them with verifiable results that were a true investment in their people and their future.

 

One such District HR manager from UPS reflects, “I still recall the difficulty I had in getting our managers to complete annual evaluations on time, as well as doing a thorough review of their people’s performance. They agonized over the connecting of behaviors and performance. The problem stemmed from their inability to objectively measure behavior. They were O.K. with quantifiable performance measurements, but struggled with connecting a person’s failure or achievement of their measurable goals with something they were or were not doing behaviorally. Personnel Profiles’ assessments provide valuable insight into a person’s behavioral DNA, giving our management more useful information from which to complete these evaluations”.

 

If you’re ready to finally make those annual evaluations effective, Personnel Profiles, Inc. is committed to partnering with you to find solutions that meet your needs and grow your business!