As culture settles in as a legitimate business concern in the larger discussion of work management, so do methods for measuring and managing it. Here are five key touchpoints of culture that all businesses from startups to blue chips can use to build employee engagement — and extra profit — from day one.
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She sat in her office wondering what was wrong. Though meeting her financial goals, the company she set out to create was evaporating as it grew in size and staff. Success was causing the problem, but it wasn’t growth that was the issue; it was the engagement of her team.
This scenario is not uncommon. When businesses scale, operational concerns often take priority over people concerns. When left unchecked, rapid growth begets disengaged workers. The problems mount when leaders realize how difficult it is to hire and retain top talent. (High-performers can smell a poorly managed culture from the front door.) The urge to grow and the focus on culture have an inverse relationship that’s challenging to shift once a company is in the throes of expansion.
Add to the scenario the ever-shortening tenure of employment — soon predicted to average a mere 15 months — and the prospect of building a strong, sustainable culture grows even more grim. Turnover isn’t just a financial burden; it’s a culture roadblock. For the seasoned organization, culture is inextricable from brand — with years of momentum, the regular ebb and flow of employees is less problematic than for startups that have just come into their own.
In the face of business realities and a drastically changing work world, how can businesses scale in size, revenue, and culture? They need a measurable strategy that addresses the core aspects of company culture and adapts to changes over time. We’ve identified five touchpoints — package, potential, people, purpose, and perception — that startups can use today to guide company culture and tomorrow to course-correct.
About the Author: For over 15 years, brand strategist Josh Levine has helped local and global organizations engage customers and empower employees. Most recently Josh helped found CultureLabX, where he leads brand development. His writing has been featured in publications including Fast Company, The Design Management Journal, and 99u.com. Josh teaches at California College of the Arts’ renowned MBA program in Design Strategy and is principal of Bay Area brand consultancy Great Monday.