Employers: Would you like to improve team culture in your business? If your employees are often unhelpful, disengaged, unproductive or even absent, your culture might need attention.
Employees: Are you and your team-mates often unhappy, unmotivated, and do you need more support? This may indicate that your team culture could be improved.
The demands of business operations can result in team members feeling disconnected from each other, and disengaged from the vision and goals of the business.
It’s common for businesses and organisations to lose focus on team culture while they expand. And over the last few years businesses have faced many challenges to team culture, including Covid forcing reductions in staff numbers, and team members working from home.
So what exactly is team culture?
A team culture in a business or organisation can be defined as a standard to which everyone performs, which is a result of team members’ beliefs, values and attitudes. This means the culture is underpinned by beliefs – but expressed in the behaviours of team members. Let’s look at two examples:
Beliefs: A business with a poor team culture may have team members that don’t value their customers, don’t believe hard work is rewarded, and who don’t see honesty and integrity as important.
Behaviour: The behaviour of these team members may include covering up mistakes, not finishing tasks, or not responding quickly or helpfully to customers.
Beliefs: A business with a strong and positive team culture may have team members that believe in the vision of the business and the value the product or service provides; know their contribution is appreciated and rewarded; and enjoy each others’ company.
Behaviour: Their behaviour is likely to be helpful, encouraging, supportive and driven.
The behaviour of your team will indicate whether or not you could improve team culture.
We like to keep it simple and refer to culture as “the way we do things around here” or “the vibe”. And it’s not only felt amongst the team – the culture of a business is felt by customers, clients and suppliers too, as our team members interact with them.
Every team already has a culture. If it’s positive, we can document it in a culture statement to ensure it continues and is strengthened.
If it’s not so great, and we need to improve team culture, we can define the culture we want through a culture statement, which then becomes the guidelines of behaviour for the team.
How to improve team culture with a culture statement
Every business benefits from a clearly written, understood and practiced culture statement.
Larger organisations have the ability and resources to use external companies to assess culture and recommend improvements.
If your business is smaller, and you don’t already have a culture statement, let’s look at how to create one to improve team culture.
If you already have a healthy team culture, think about the behaviours your team members display, and what values those behaviours represent. Words such as helpful, kind, proactive, driven, or collaborative may come to mind.
If you want to improve team culture, define the values and behaviours you want to see in your team. If easier, think about the current undesirable behaviours and state the opposite. If you are observing behaviour that appears reactive – you could write ‘proactive’. Or if disrespect is an issue, you could reverse it to ‘respect’.
When you have a list of words, the next step is to write a short phrase about what each means in your business. For example:
Respect – we treat ourselves, our team-mates, clients and suppliers with respect at all times.
Proactive – we take initiative and continually look for ways to improve our systems and efficiency.
Here on our ‘about us’ page is our culture statement as an example.
There is technically no limit to the number of points of culture on your culture statement, although we recommend at least four, and no more than seven, to capture all expectations of team behaviour.
Drafting your culture statement, then introducing it to the team for their comments and suggestions, are the next steps.
We’ve written a free e-book that provides more detail on how to create and use a culture statement in your business. Simply request it here to get your copy and improve team culture in your business.
If you’d like assistance developing a strong team culture, business coaching, leadership and management training or team development workshops are available through Yellow Coaching. Get in touch to discuss your challenges and we’ll tailor solutions to meet your needs.