Business coach John Spence knows developing a winning workplace culture is a leader’s most important mission.
According to Spence, who was named one of America’s Top 50 Leaders To Watch by the American Management Association, excellent culture starts with excellent people and strong core values.
His motto, “making the complex … awesomely simple,” ties into his simplified formula for business excellence:
(Talent + Culture + Extreme Member Focus) x Disciplined Execution = Business Excellence
Culture is a key component of the formula. When you think of culture, you might think of adjectives like “hip” or “fun.” But to understand what makes a culture “good,” you have to go beyond the surface.
According to Spence, the key attributes of a winning workplace culture can be broken down into 10 components: fun, family atmosphere, friends, fair, freedom, pride, praise, meaning, and results. A bonus: Spence says implementing these attributes into your organization's culture won’t cost a single cent.
Here’s Spence’s take on what each of these attributes might look like from an employee’s perspective:
You don’t have to have a ball pit in your office to be a fun place to work.
Having a fun culture could mean your workplace is a place people enjoy going to each day. That could translate to a relaxed dress code, engaging meetings and an inviting office atmosphere.
No one likes awkward, forced small talk at the water cooler.
An organization with a family atmosphere is a place where people genuinely care about each other’s lives. Maybe you keep a calendar of birthdays and send “get well” cards when anyone is ill, or host a congratulatory happy hour when someone gets engaged.
When your team feels like a family, the whole organization will be stronger.
A workplace where people refer to each other only as “co-workers” outside of work won’t have very strong teams. At the very least, you want your employees to be friends.
While you can’t force friendships, the best you can do is hire people with similar work ethics and offer opportunities for team bonding.
Fairness doesn’t just mean fair pay —which means 10% above or below what other companies pay for the same job.
A truly fair workplace must be fair in terms of hours, treatment and avenues for growth. If someone brings an issue to HR, they should be listened to, validated, and their case should be handled appropriately.
Those who go above and beyond should have equal opportunities to advance, and everyone should feel like their best ideas are appreciated and acknowledged.
Employees should be equipped with the resources and training they need to do their jobs, and given freedom to work independently.
Your employees should be proud of the work they do and the company they work for. They should be excited to tell people about their jobs, and how it creates a bigger impact.
Employees should receive praise at least once every 7-10 days, either from supervisors or other team members in their department. Foster a culture where people recognize others’ accomplishments for a more motivated team.
Your employees want to feel as if they are making a difference in the world. If a project doesn’t seem meaningful at first glance, make sure you communicate its value and impact.
The projects you assign must have measurable outcomes so your employees are motivated to achieve the desired results and can look back and acknowledge their hard work in a concrete way.
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Ashley Neal joined the Sidecar team in March of 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down life as we knew it. Having to adapt, overcome and predict the changes needed to survive in the new normal, Ashley now has the skills needed to juggle any obstacle thrown her way. A graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University in the field of Strategic Communications, Ashley spends her days balancing her work with her love of dogs. Taking her large pack of dogs to restaurants, hiking trails, vacations and even participating in dog shows and sports is the highlight of her weekends.
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