7 steps to set the right culture at work
No hierarchy, no appraisals, open door policy – seems like a perfect company culture? Not really, especially if it’s not well-defined and set as a part of the culture.
Kenny was unhappy, his performance was low, frustration was rising and he didn’t know what to do. Kenny worked for a small firm that was growing at a faster rate. Company was getting big clients and had great projects. The company staffed around 180 people and Kenny was one of them. Being a small company, they didn’t have any one helping them with HR. The company started with two partners and grew into managers and a big team. The admin person was given the charge of handling HR – that is taking care of attendance, keeping a track of leaves and forming the HR policies. Having no prior experience in HR, she downloaded a HR policy booklet along with vision & mission from one of the HR sites and ensured it was implemented.
Thus, the employees were not aware of what the company wants to achieve, how their work is affecting the final product and had no knowledge about the company. Policies were blindly followed and there were no initiatives for motivating and inspiring the employees.
Kenny was a college topper and had an excellent command on the subject matter & hence was hired by the company in the first round itself. He was the best candidate they could have hired. However, one year down the line, Kenny couldn’t perform. His performance was worse than the lowest performer. Managers tried reasoning, giving him small projects, but there was no improvement in the performance.
When Kenny joined, he looked forward to an excellent start. However, all that he encountered was employees cribbing about the pay and HR policies. People just looked forward to the end of the day and weekends. Kenny had lot of ideas and suggestions, but no one was open to listening as the partners were always busy and the managers had no time or interest in listening.
In the initial three months, Kenny used to perform exceptionally well but there was no word of appreciation given to him. However, a small mistake from his side invited a lot of criticism and shouting from the senior in front of everyone (and sometimes in front of clients too). Kenny being just out of college and with no prior work experience found it difficult to work at the client place without any prior training or knowledge sharing from the company. All this led to a slump in Kenny’s performance. Eventually, company had to ask Kenny to leave on grounds of low performance.
But Kenny could have been saved. Kenny could not only have survived but could have become the most influential and awesome employee in the company, had the company invested little time in setting the right environment for high performers to exist.
So what is the right kind of environment? It’s a positive environment:
- Where the team is aware of the company goals, updates and purpose
- When the management listens to their ideas & talks back with them (not via emails and phone) but face-to-face
- When there is a growth path envisioned for them
- When they get all the guidance and mentoring required to perform the job
- Where there are regular feedback sessions
- When their training & learning needs are taken care of
- When they get credit & word of appreciation for their job.
These seven steps could have saved Kenny, had the company given some importance to HR and culture. Companies lose a lot of Kennies and the cost incurred is very high. To reduce the cost, it’s very important to have the right culture and HR processes. Is your company killing Kenny?
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