Do you have a sense your company culture could improve where you work? You are not alone! Every year, thousands of people quit their jobs because they feel that they have no say in the culture, and see no improvements being made.
Sometimes you look around, and all you see is a team that is unmotivated and confused about the direction of the business. You might see that colleagues are taking frequent time off, and there’s a sense of lack of teamwork. Perhaps you hear complaints around the water cooler, or worse, gossiping by email or messenger.
It’s time for you to do something about it!
Before you do though, a few words of advice…
It’s not just your manager’s responsibility to improve your company culture. She may already be very busy, and tied up with concerns you are unaware of. For a culture change to really go positively everyone within the organisation needs to be supportive of the idea; however at the end of the day, if management won’t lead positive culture change, it is destined to fail.
It’s not uncommon for people to blame their managers for something they don’t like. Make sure you consider what can they do to resolve the situation – are you just blaming your managers for your bad moods?
Issues that are really more personal issues or opinions about management styles really can be left for another discussion. Blaming company culture for why you and your boss don’t see eye to eye isn’t helpful for the overall cause.
Having said this, here are a few suggestions on raising the issue of company culture with your manager, without upsetting or offending them.
Talk situation – don’t make this personal
Giving feedback that could be construed as negative by the recipient is hard. It’s even harder if they become defensive or dismissive. Ensure you keep it to the situation, and don’t make it a personal attack.
Don’t get stuck on the negatives
If all your feedback is purely negative, then it is likely not to be received well. Try stating something along the lines of positive and negative, such as ‘It’s great that everyone in the team gets along really well, however I believe we could improve it further by…”
Explain the benefits of company culture improvement
It’s important that your manager understands why a focus on improving company culture will provide real benefit. We have a number of statistics and quotes in recent blog posts that you could arm yourself with, such as Employee engagement strategies save money and Benefits of engaged employees.
Explain why you’d like to see improvements
Whenever you give feedback to a manager, explain the rationale about why you are thinking about it. Give them direct examples on how it will improve your position within the company. For example “If everyone took more responsibility for their work, I would feel less stressed and it is likely I would see fewer production issues”.
Provide solutions and not complaints
This point applies anytime you give feedback to anyone else. Instead of just stating “It would be better if we…” try framing your feedback along the lines of “We could try doing X which would improve Y because…”
Be doing this, it demonstrates that you have a solution available, instead of sounding like you’re just thinking aloud about an issue or outright complaining.
If all else fails, or you don’t feel comfortable about raising the issue for fear of being demoted or fired, perhaps a nicer way would be to write it all down in a polite email, read and re-read it a few times to be sure.
Then you can sign up for a free web email address, and send the email to your boss from there. Make sure though that you don’t sign it using your real name!
Your boss loves your ideas, so now what?
Be the champion
If you can, you could offer to be the company culture champion, or that you will help your manager research further on positive company culture strategies, and work with them to determine how to begin changes.
Get the entire team on board
Depending on the size of your team, this could be purely a discussion over lunch, or it may need to be something for a larger team conference.
Survey the team for suggestions
Don’t just ‘tell’ everyone what is the best way to improve your company culture; invite feedback and solutions from everyone in the team. This could be done informally over Friday drinks, or could be a survey you place on the company Intranet.
Be open to their suggestions, and ensure you listen well; it is often how they say it, as well as the message, that gives the true underlying motivation.
Implement an employee feedback system
For example, using employee feedback survey software like 6Q would add great benefit and insight into how the changes you or your manager are making are affecting morale amongst the team. In an ideal world, you would start the baseline surveys prior to making the changes, so you can accurately see a reflection in the changes over time.
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
– Winston Churchill
Don’t just sit back and watch a negative company culture drive talented people such as yourself out of an organisation. Stand up and do something about it. If management won’t fix the issue, then at least you can say you tried your best.
Keep positive and ensure every day in your employment affects those around you positively; don’t let negative company culture get you down.
Best of luck!