Maslows hierarchy of need states that we need food, shelter, love, acceptance personal growth (find and express personal gifts) and ultimately to know that we have made a difference.
Knowing that in some way we are helping others is one of the great joys of life.
Corporate Culture Is Misunderstood
Establishing a positive and empowering corporate culture is likely one of the most misunderstood business developmental principles. Whether or not you have consciously and methodically attempted to create a 'culture' every company has one.
If you have been in business for a number of years you will need to work hard to create a new culture. It will mean establishing new habits to ensure that you are hearing what the customers need and then providing it in the most efficient and powerful way possible.
The willingness to serve is at the heart of a great corporate culture. Remember, service is the number one value that inspires. This is what is at the heart of your staffs willingness to commit to a given set of values and behaviors.
You will need to work hard at communicating and practicing the values. In a sense you will want to etch these values into the mind and hearts of every employee.
It All Starts With Establishing Standards For Customer Service
Start with defining and establishing a set of values and beliefs about your customer service model. Set a number of strategic priorities relating to the customer service experience.
For example, lets say two of your core values are openness and honesty. Before communicating these values to your staff ask yourself:
- what is my commitment to this process?
- do I believe in the company's mission?
- do I believe in the strategy?
- do I respect my people?
- what effort am I willing to make?
- what values will I you use to measure my own performance?
Get Your Staff Involved
Then take your vision, values and communicate them to your staff. Ask them to think about and answer three questions:
- Do the company's stated values align or fit with their own?
- How will what they do, on a day to day basis, contribute to the strategic priorities?
- How will applying these strategic priorities make a difference in their work and the lives of our customers?
Engage your staff in an open and honest dialogue. Let them ask the tough questions.
As they observe the open candor and accessibility it will reinforce and build your culture. You can tell your employees that openness and honesty are important but they will only believe it when you actually demonstrate the importance of openness.
It IS Worth The Effort
If you do this you can expect the following benefits:
- Sense of stability: staff will want to stay and belong;
- A feeling of belonging, affiliation and alignment;
- Create a selection tool to assist in the recruiting and hiring process;
- The company becomes the product: the customer will 'buy' a sense of belonging, affiliation and pride as they experience the tangible and intangible benefits of new values in your customer service model.
When done effectively, even if everything else changes--the industry dips and falls, products and services or circumstances change, staff come and go-- the corporate culture will protect, serve and keep your dream alive. It will be that one constant in a sea of change and adversity that will keep people motivated and committed, and make a lasting contribution.