Companies spend years striving to create a positive company culture, but what can be done to create a culture of motivation, enthusiasm and commitment? Red Letter Days Motivates outlines steps organisations can take to create a cohesive culture

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There are some organisations that pride themselves on their company culture, they have spent years purposefully nurturing it, to ensure that everyone who works there is on-board with, and represents the values of the business.

Other companies struggle to create a cohesive culture, leaving employees susceptible to attaching themselves to a sub-culture within the office environment, which may or may not be compatible with the company’s ethics.

Savvy businesses spend time and energy creating and strengthening a culture which sets them apart from others, one which reflects the essence of the company’s values which, in turn, become a pervasive force flowing throughout the organisation.

A culture which has been carefully designed and cultivated can be one of the most powerful tools available, one which attracts not only customers and partners, but also attracts the best talent. What’s more, a strong and positive culture has the potential to permeate every part of the organisation, improving areas such as output, motivation, happiness, team spirit, sickness, and staff retention.

So, what can you do to create a culture of motivation, enthusiasm, and commitment?

1. Be clear about your organisation’s values

Before you can begin to shape the culture of your company, you need to ascertain exactly what it is that you want it to be.In other words, what do you want to be the dominant ‘personality’ of your business? What impression do you want to give to clients and partners? What are the behaviours that you want to see proliferate throughout the organisation? Spending time to distil these ideas into clear and concise words will help you to focus on what you want to achieve, and where you are headed.

2. Lead from the top

There is nothing worse than working for an organisation where the senior managers operate on the basis of “Do as I say, not as I do.”  Your senior management team have to be confident at leading the way, and must act as role models to all other staff members. If, for example, you have pinpointed that one of your core values is having strong and cohesive teams, then senior management have to prove that they too are team players, who are willing to get involved with their co-workers, and not just closet themselves away in their offices. This is true not only when it comes to formal work situations, but also when it comes to situations such as eating alongside colleagues in the office canteen, and participating in social events.

3. Set out your stall

You cannot expect your culture to take hold by osmosis. In fact, you will find that, at least at first, you will need to be explicit in what your expectations are. Organise a launch week for your new mission statement, where you explain to your team exactly what you are trying to achieve, what your goals are, and how you plan to get there. Use the language that you want them to use, be positive and upbeat, make it exciting and fresh.

4. Reward the behaviours you want to encourage

A reward programme is a great way to encourage the behaviours that you want to see replicated throughout the business. Whereas many businesses focus their rewards and incentives programme on easily measurable outcomes such as sales figures, or calls answered, this doesn’t suit every organisation, and nor is it necessarily the most effective way to motivate staff. Instead, consider looking at ways to reward positive contributions to the company culture.

5. Ensure your communications are getting the message across

75% of businesses use an incentive scheme, but they are not always well promoted within the organisation, and in fact only 58% of workers are aware that their company has one.[1]

Once you have set up an incentive scheme, don’t just leave it at that, make sure that you keep it at the forefront of people’s minds. Assess targets regularly, and don’t be afraid to change them if needs be. Find different ways to share and celebrate achievements with weekly cheerleading huddles or monthly rewards lunches. Involve as many people as you can in promoting the culture, encouraging peer nomination and reviews.

6. Make your rewards desirable

Despite what you might expect, cash has time and time again been proven to be pretty ineffective as a motivational tool. In fact, personalised praise has been shown to be more effective at influencing behaviour, and is the number one most successful form of reward.[2] Beyond this, other non-financial rewards prove to be far more covetable than money, and create a positive buzz around the workplace when they are promoted. Get creative and consider incentives such as days out to share with family, invitations to corporate hospitality events which are traditionally reserved for senior leaders and important customers, gift cards, or travel experiences which are usually a little out of reach as an annual holiday.

A robust and cohesive company culture, which flows throughout an organisation is something that every business should strive for. Based on the distinctive values of your organisation, the culture will be unique and inimitable. However, what they should all have in common is that they will all be powerful devices when it comes to improving and sustaining levels of motivation.

Reward and Red Letter Days Motivates are blogging about motivation and engagement. FOLLOW THE SERIES HERE

[1] The State of Employee Recognition, 2012 Berstin by Deloitte

[2] Motivating People: Getting Beyond Money, McKinsey & company 2009

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