Insider Intelligence: The Keys to Building a Company Culture

This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, be sure to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

Business leadership is harder than it’s ever been. Employee expectations have changed during COVID, and at the same time labor shortages have given those expectations more weight. Employees want more pay, better hours, better healthcare, and more freedom to work remotely. Staying ahead of it all can be a tall order.

Often the expectations of one employee can conflict with those of another, and when we fail to meet everyone’s desires, it can lead to the departure of good employees.

Get employee feedback

Now is the time to be as transparent as possible with employees. Let them know that their voices are always heard – and if we can’t answer every individual, we will always answer the team. Here are some simple things you can do:

Listen to them. Conduct employee surveys and give employees every opportunity to raise their concerns with management. Don’t judge them for having different opinions than management.

Act on their feedback. Be prepared to make changes to your team or organization based on collective needs. Let them know you are listening to them.

To assemble. Many employees have been isolated from an organization’s culture for too long. Let them be part of a bigger whole again. We are social animals and we do best when we know and trust each other.

Remind them why they chose to work here in the first place. Make your company’s mission and goals very transparent. Celebrate the ideals you are trying to achieve.

Be transparent. Share as much information as possible with employees and make it a shared experience for them. Let them feed on each other’s desires for success and win as a team.

How to build culture

The culture of a company is the accumulation of its employees and the environment in which they find themselves. As leaders, we are often taught to focus on having the right people in the right seats, and that is indeed key; however, we also need to focus on the environment in which these people work.

When we don’t actively manage the environment and culture of our teams and organizations, we end up with a “default” culture, and it’s rarely the one we want. Gossip, rumors and friction are often the result of these “default” cultures. Departmental silos are common and territories are clearly established. Trust can be hard to come by when the successes and challenges of a person or service are not known to others. Attempts to cooperate are often perceived as burdens.

Focusing too much on a person’s behavior can further isolate that person, or worse, lead to clicks. When we focus on the environment, it is our teams that address behavioral issues. Personnel issues between individuals become shared personality quirks between colleagues. Departmental silos become cross-functional teams and the leader begins to feel less out of control. Eventually, the main task of the leader is to choose among the best options presented to him by his teams or top teams.

It might seem like culture building is something beyond the reach of us normal people, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Focus on what we can do. Build transparency, listen to the feedback our teams give us when they react to that transparency, and build lists of follow-up actions derived from that feedback. Remind them of the greatness we all strive for and, most importantly, let them all share the challenges and successes together.

Creating a welcoming environment and culture will help keep your top talent engaged, happy and successful. Remind them that it’s not just money in a job. Let your team be a team, listen to it and let it win together.

Allen Riggs is chief financial officer of PSA Security Network. Request more information about PSA at www.securityinfowatch.com/10214742.