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10 Tips to Build an Effective Work Culture

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10 Tips to Build an Effective Work Culture

Based on my 11 years of experience building CommLab India, here are some tips that can help build an effective organization, buzzing with energy, delivering results, enjoying working together and growing individually and as a company.

1. Employees first: Most organizations believe in putting their customers first, but I believe that we should put our employees first. If we take care of them, they will take care of our customers.

2. Respect the person, not the designation: We should imbibe a culture of equality among all our employees, whether executive or manager. Respect each other as human beings first.

3. Encourage “no excuses”: When an employee wants to take leave or comes in late, don’t ask WHY? This helps build responsibility among employees. It also builds a culture of freedom and shows that we trust and respect their decisions.

4. Praise in public; give feedback in e-mail: Encouragement is a great motivator. If you find an employee worth praising, do it in front of his team. When you wish to give him or her feedback, give it in a formal mail. This will reduce emotions and help us give rational inputs for improvement.

5. Celebrate results rather than activities: Bring in a culture of respecting results rather than actions. Results should be encouraged and methods need not be monitored extensively. Deciding on a result and giving freedom with set parameters to execute the result will encourage creative thinking and smart work.

6. Encourage brainstorming sessions: This is one effective way of teaching working creatively in groups, while also helping to get creative ideas and build synergistic teams.

7. Build cooperation rather than competition: Do not make your employees compete with each other. Collectively, we should compete with the world. Eliminate a competitive spirit among teams, instead encourage cooperation and teamwork.

8. Eating together: This is personally my pet tip. If we eat together, we stay together. Eating together in the company cafeteria is a great team-building activity any organization can have, especially if it is a perk that employees don’t pay for. This goes a long way in retaining employees and making a great family.

9. Small courtesies go a long way: Saying ‘Thank you’ and ‘Sorry’ should be part of your daily vocabulary. This really helps people be human. A small ‘thank you’ is the immediate and the best positive stroke an employer can give his motivated staff.

10. Involve teams in social responsibility: Serving the needy and instilling a sense of contribution in every employee is what every human being looks for. Involve all your teams in activities to help the poor and the needy. This builds a sense of gratitude and abundance among them.

What are your tips to build an effective work culture? Love to hear and learn from your experience.

Ayesha Habeeb Omer

Building Self-Directed Teams

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  • Oscar van Rooij

    Thank you Ayesha for sharing these valuable tips, especially in a time where companies sometimes seem to forget what is most important.

    When you’re managing people and you think there’s a gap in from where you’re now vs where you want to be when it comes:
    – to coaching people
    – utilising talents & potential
    – focussing more on the what vs the how
    – results vs process

    Or when you just want to become even better then you all ready are, I can highly recommend the book:

    “First break all the rules” by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman

    Wishing you an inspirational week!

    Oscar

  • Michael J. Spangle

    Don’t preach the desired behaviors, model them. Especially do not say one thing and do the opposite.
    Hold yourself to a higher standard than you hold others.
    Lift others up instead of stepping on them.

  • Thanks Michael and Oscar for your comments.

    Really appreciate it.

    Ayesha

  • ABDUL KHADIR

    Quite interesting inputs. Thanks for sharing it. Keep posting as much information as you can.

    With profound regards

  • Hi Ayesha,

    A colleague of mine directed me to this article. I wholeheartedly agree with everything that you’ve written.

    Irrespective of culture or industry business is about dealing with and working with people. Everybody has their own set of values and personal needs which need to be met if they are to be fully engaged.

    I write similar articles on my own blog.

    Many thanks for providing such an insightful outlook.

    With best wishes,

    Keith

  • Ask employees how they want to be rewarded.

    My experience:

    Babyboomers tend to want parties.
    X Generation tends to want time off.
    Y Generation tends to want a gift card or an tech item.

  • Thanks Keith and Kathy for the comments.

    Regards

    Ayesha

  • Clear values shared by all
    Teamwork and collaboration
    Openess and honesty

  • Calvin Wilson

    Hello Ayesha

    Having the ability to put one across the employees/team unbiased and transparently and tackle issues upfront!

    Rgds
    Calvin

  • Donna Pence

    A leader will practice ethical behavior and shape your workplace where others will be able to follow easily and know how to do the “right” thing in their interactions with others.

  • Regina Cain

    I loved the list and the article. Number 10 is often left out but is a vital point as it shows your community that your company is there for them. I would only add “Don’t gossip. When a boss or employee gossips with another employee it builds an atmosphere that negates the other items on the list.”

  • I would add that it starts at the top. The C-suite and the senior management team need to lead by example, and act in their daily interactions and processes in a way that fosters the culture that they want to breed in the organization. If a leader acts in a way in his or her daily activities that inhibits communication or teamwork for the benefit of his or her schedule, workload, or political ambition, it sends a message to others that it’s acceptable.

    I might also add my own qualifier to your third bullet — praising in public can be done via email since it can reach a wide and varied audience and can be used to forward examples of work. Regarding feedback, I personally believe giving feedback via email should only be done after giving same feedback face to face, or at least over the phone if teams are spread out over several physical locations or geographies.

  • Hi Ayesha,

    I agree with your list. I also believe that leaders need to take a strength-based approach by assisting indivdiuals to know their strengths, and to use the strengths and talents that are meaningful to them.

    Crystal Dolliver
    Northern Lights Canada

  • I believe that it also helps to ask permission to give feedback and that the person providing feedback take ownership for their perceptions. All it is – is perceptions, shaped by our own life experiences, etc. Our perceptions of others behavior can be very helpful to to others if framed appropriately.

  • Sarah

    Ayesha,
    I like your points the only one I wasn’t too fond of was give feedback in email. In this society if we constantly avoid trying to give bad news to people it just makes things more cold and more difficult to digest. I would prefer my manager spoke to me privately to let me know what I could improve on. This would also allow for a discussion and it can also contextualize their feedback.
    If someone sent me an email providing me with feedback it would make it awkward the next time I saw them.. I would think why wouldn’t they just have a face to face conversation with me rather than avoiding me?

    Here are my ideas of what it would take to make a positive organizational culture:

    First give your employees the benefit of the doubt and don’t micromanage. Micromanaging creates a lack of trust and loss of motivation to do the job done the way you want to.
    Second,the ability to give employees the capacity to be innovative..if employees can use their creative energies this will induce passion and motivation because it allows them to have some form of control. Lastly I would say shared decision making.. rather than telling the team what they need to do ask for suggestions first. Let them see that their opinions matter and embed some of their ideas into the organization.

  • Caroline Carr

    I read the full article and agree heartily with all points. Seem so simple, dont’ they, but have to wonder why only a few are followed on any regular basis. One thing I would change and that is our dependence on email. My experience has shown that face-to-face gets things done quickly and without the possibility of misunderstandings that emailing is known for. In cases where the recipient is offiste, a phone call is #2 where a tone of voice and the spoken word carries sincerity and interest. In the end, “respecting the person” should be our #1 focus. Not only is that the right thing to do but it builds stronger relationships and leads to ensuring business success.

  • Dear Sarah and Caroline

    Thank you for sharing your views on giving feedback through email. I agree to your point of view. It depends on the situation. When we give feedback in email, we will be less emotional and balanced. But it is effective if we meet and talk directly.

    Regards

    Ayesha

  • Excellent list to which I would add: ensure that everyone knows what their responsibilities are and what management expects from them in terms of performance.

  • Raza

    Great question, Leadership aims for values in action, walk the talk

  • I agree with Mr. Abbas–walk the talk. We role-model what we believe.

  • A bold but a seminal read. In our org, its nice to realise we practice some of the above points. Our work culture is healthy and yet informal.

    One point that I would like to add to the above list is “easy access to our senior management”. For some reasons, if our leads or managers are not availble to discuss some issues, the senior or next level managers are always available at our disposal. We are not bogged down by any strict process or procedures to discuss issues or concerns.

  • This is continuing the discussion in many places like linkedin where we are talking about keeping the employees engaged. This really is about having managers that are engaged. We need to get back to the relationship aspect in managing to have employees be involved and know their worth.

  • Manisha

    1) Promote team work 2) Openness in expression should be appreciated. 3) Recognition is must 4) Constuctive feedback should be promoted