The power of winning culture

What characterises workplaces where employees want to work and go the extra mile? What value do companies get from being conscious of their own culture and working environment?

It takes focus and effort to succeed in creating a good workplace culture. Culture isn’t something built in – culture lives in the people who are working at the company, right here and now. As humans, we carry culture with us, and together, we make up the culture that exists at the company.

The value of having a good culture is that it moves employees in the same direction, helping them cooperate to achieve the goals set by the company. Having collected data over the past 30 years, the consulting firm Great Place to Work shows that high-achieving companies with a trust-based culture enjoy four times better revenue growth, 50% lower employee turnover, and halved sick leave. This shows how profitable it is to work on your culture. 

The consulting firm The Assessment Company (AC) works with management and companies that seek to develop their organisations and their employees. Culture work has been on our agenda since day one, and our ambition has been to create a consulting firm where employees want to work, where we do teamwork with a gleam in our eyes, and where our customers feel that working with our company is both inspiring and valuable. AC’s cultural recipe has been behind much of the company’s success, and has helped make us the fastest-growing consulting firm in the Nordics.

Drawing inspiration from sports

At AC, we’ve drawn inspiration from sports in our efforts to assist companies in developing their culture and organisation. If you build “the world’s best environment”, your odds of creating winners are much better than if you do nothing in this area. A keyword here is training.

Athletes excel at focusing on what they need to achieve their goals while constantly striving to do better. They spend 99% of their time training and 1% on competing. In working life, things are the other way around. Hardly any training takes place, but you have to “compete” 100% of the time. As a leader, you can set the direction of the company’s culture through clear communication on the company’s goals. We all have strengths and areas with room for improvement, and we use our own strengths to reinforce the company’s profitability and culture.

AC has built a training centre for the business community that we call PEOPLE LAB.™. Here, we perform everything from sales training to individual competence development for shop employees and managers. Like in sports, video is an important tool for analysing behaviours and helping us understand ourselves better. Training participants at our PEOPLE LAB.™ can test out their new skills in known work situations and receive feedback on their own behaviour, allowing for quick results.

“Walk the talk”

Managers are the most important drivers of culture, and they must both lead the pack and forge a path. The manager’s approach to conveying and communicating with employees is essential to a company’s culture. We all know good culture builders like Petter Stordalen and Ikea’s Ingvar Kamprad. These are strong culture builders and trailblazers who are clear about “how we do things”. They’re highly skilled at conveying the company’s vision in simple terms so that people can understand, draw inspiration from, and take pride in it. In challenging times, leadership is more important than ever, becoming crucial for creating and maintaining a winning culture.

6 concrete areas of focus for creating culture:

1. Make sure you have clear goals and expectations – and communicate them to all employees. A clear understanding of what the company seeks to achieve. When the goals have been stated, it is important that employees can feel they are a part of achieving them, and that they have an understanding of how they can contribute to this end.

2. Nobody wins on their own – cooperation and support are essential for achieving a common goal. No one is above the team, and it is important to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, experiences, support each other, and work together to achieve our goals. Teamwork over one-man shows!

3. Focus on recognition and feedback – employees must feel seen and rewarded when they achieve a goal. The sense of being included and valued is important. Motivated employees who are proud of their workplaces perform better and feel better at work than those who do not feel seen.

4. Focus on development – ensure that employees develop, either through internal measures or external training. Accomplishing something leaves us more satisfied, and learning new things helps employees develop themselves further. Remember to train – practice makes perfect.

5.Focus on customers by giving good customer experiences – develop an understanding among employees on how to satisfy the customers. Spend time on understanding who the customers are, what they care about, and what is needed to give them a good experience.

6. Walk the talk – lead the way as a good example. As a manager, you must be aware of your role and influence on the culture and working environment. 

Put the working environment on the agenda and make conscious choices to make the culture you are a part of into a “winning culture”. It’s far more exciting to be part of the winning team. Not to mention, it makes it a much more fun place to work. There is power in a winning culture!