My favorite definition is your company culture is what happens when you, as the owner, are out of the office.
Do you have an engaged, productive and dynamic culture? Or do you have a culture of resistance and challenge?
Why does it matter?
Your culture determines the productivity and engagement of your team, your ability to hire and retain the best people, as well as how your customers experience your company.
And your culture is ALWAYS determined by the lowest common demoninator.
In other words, your culture is determined by your team members who are not engaged or not winning at their job.
If, for example, you have built a strong team except for one or two people – those one or two people slow down or create a challenging workplace for the rest.
Take a look at your own team and you will see this happening. The weakest link creates a bottleneck.
Now I am a firm believer it’s all about the fit. You want the people on your team that are a good fit for your company and their role.
Your job is to find, train and retain the right fit team members for your business.
To use Jim Collin’s terminology – you want to get the right people on the bus, and then get them in the right seat (from the book “Good to Great”).
If you have too many people who are not winning at their job it will impact your whole company AND you may lose the right fit team members who are working.
Productive team members want to work in a productive culture, and they won’t stay with a company where they don’t feel they can do their best work.
The question is – if your culture is not where you want it to be – where do you start?
You have to provide your team with the framework on how to win at their job.
Each team member needs to understand what their responsibilities are with clear performance standards, as well as understand how they are being measured.
And then you must hold them accountable for producing results and meeting the standards.
When someone is failing at their job, the first step is to provide feedback (and training if required) to help them improve so they start winning in their role.
If with feedback and training the team member is still failing then begin the Corrective Action Process.
The purpose of the Corrective Action Process is to provide the support and direction to have them win.
If however the team member does not improve so they meet the standards of the role, then you must let them go.
Just because someone is not a good fit with your company doesn’t mean they won’t fit somewhere else.
Corrective Action Process:
1) Verbal Warning on the issue(s)
2) If the issue continues – a Written Warning documenting the team member’s name, position, date of Verbal Warning, date of Written Warning, description of what is not working, standard you expect them to meet, the timeframe to meet standards, how you (or their supervisor) will support them, and a place for both the team member’s and your signatures. This document goes into their employee file
3) If the issue is still not resolved, or improvement does not meet standards then there is a Final Warning (date of Final Warning captured on Written Warning document).
4) If improvement continues to not meet standards after the Final Warning, the next step is Termination if someone is not performing to the standards of their role (including fitting in with the company) and you have gone through the Corrective Action Process you MUST let them go.
Not only are they not producing the results of their role, they are impacting the results of the entire team. Give them the opportunity to find out where they are a good fit.
Does that sound overwhelming? It may feel that way in the beginning, however you will quickly pick up traction and find by dealing with the issues as they come up you are laying a foundation of success.
Rule of Thumb: What ever you correct or don’t correct is how you are training your team on what is and what is not acceptable.
Tip: be consistent. If you have an issue with your team members being late to start their shift – don’t correct it sometimes and let it go others.
People want to win at their job, they want to be part of a successful team that makes a difference.
Who is creating your culture?