How to create a company culture that is not commendable

Creating a healthy corporate culture begins at the individual level and branches out from there. This means that the smallest changes you make can impact the corporate culture as a whole. At the same time, changing nothing at all and maintaining the status quo can fuel an unfulfilling culture, according to Katie Kunker, Founder and CEO of The Art Of Hustle and Heart.

The Art Of Hustle and Heart, a mentoring and coaching firm for professional and personal development, has been working with men and women for the past two years since the company was founded. Kunker, a former chain executive herself, knows that a lack of passion, performance challenges, disengaged employees, or high turnover rates are all telltale signs of a “trustworthy” company culture.

The good news, Kunker told an audience of more than 400 attendees at The Channel Company’s Women of the Channel West 2022 event, is that even making “micro” changes at the individual level can add up and help. even the most toxic cultures to evolve.

Kunker shared her own story of feeling unsupported at her former companies and how she realized small changes could spread throughout an entire company. She explained how individuals can start the process, then with their teams, work to improve company culture with a focus on shared goals, accountability and gut checks along the way.

Here’s what Kunker shared.

bring balance

Most companies, large and small, know they have great employees and therefore believe their culture is amazing because they hire great people. But the truth, Konker says, is that business shapes culture, but individuals can change it. For example, are you booking meetings at 5:00 p.m. for your employees, are employees having lunch at their desks, or are employees being asked to fly in for an event on a Sunday? It’s small changes managers can make (or stop making) that will make a big difference to their teams, she said.

To begin, individuals need to ask themselves how they need support, what keeps them going, what their stressors are, and what they prioritize.

“What is culture for you? ” she asked. “I challenge you to think one way: Am I creating and contributing to a culture that I crave or a culture that makes me cringe? It all starts with you.

Vision and alignment

Once individuals define their priorities and what the culture means to them, they can bring it to their teams and collectively work on a vision, Kunker said. This step is important because if people don’t know where they are going, they won’t get there, she says.

Teams should discuss what makes them feel comfortable so they can understand each other. These factors vary from person to person, she said. Some people have limitations on working outside normal office hours, while others may take time out of their workday to pick up the kids from school and then return to work later, for example, a Konker said.

Teams can then move forward with those plans to stay aligned with each other. And staying aligned sometimes also means connecting with each other on a personal level. Teams can leave a few minutes at the start or end of a meeting to chat, or just call each other for a few minutes to discuss non-work related topics, Konker said. This makes employees feel more appreciated and connected.

“That emotional perspective — aligning with what people seem to need is really important,” she said.

Communication and accountability

The only way people can begin to realize their responsibilities and cultivate a culture they want to be part of is to become aware of what they say and do and how it affects workplace culture at wider. A big part of that is communicating and holding people accountable for the things the team prioritized during their vision conversations, Konker said.

“It matters a lot. You can have three people say things in three different tones and it’s taken three different ways,” she said. “Mean what you say, say it clearly, and understand that delivery matters.”

Impulse checks along the way

Individuals have the power to create the culture that makes them most effective and productive. Along the way, they need to check in with themselves to make sure nothing has changed in terms of priorities and to make sure they and their teams are meeting their goals.

The most important message Konker likes to leave with people is that they are “badasses” and it all starts with each individual deciding to understand what they need to be more successful and bringing those attributes to their team. Everyone deserves to work somewhere they love, she added.

Every day we shape culture. We do the individual work first, then when we bring our most valuable attributes to a team – and we know what that is – we team up and we win. ”