Companies always run the risk of hitting a plateau, where growth halts and stagnation occurs. So how do they avoid this or overcome it and continue to expand? They change their organizational culture to focus on developing the employee.
Yet, according to the 2015 Talent Mobility Research Report, more than 40 percent of the 257 organizations surveyed said they rarely, or never, provide career planning or development.
The lack of interest in talent mobility is disturbing, considering the fact that most American workers feel disengaged in their work. Currently, only 32 percent of the 1,500 workers surveyed by Gallup say they feel engaged at work.
It’s time to shift toward investing in employees. After all, when employees grow, the company grows as well.
More From Entrepreneur.com
Here’s how to change the organizational culture to create a company focused on growth, starting with the employee and extending those progress efforts company-wide.
Create a talent mobility initiative.
How can a company grow if they don’t help each team member become their best self? Start a talent mobility program to initiate the culture shift. A group of professionals, who have a growth mindset, are driven to push themselves to constantly learn.
Offer career development resources, such as career coaches, online training, guest speakers, tuition reimbursement, mentorships and other educational programs. These options encourage the staff to define their career path.
Talent mobility initiatives also help companies attract top talent. Job seekers and employees alike know the value of professional education.
What’s more, according to a May 2014 study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 42 percent of 600 employees surveyed say their organization’s commitment to professional development is “very important” to their job satisfaction.
Even when companies offer such programs, they continue to struggle with scaling the business. Why? Because they don’t have a goal in mind.
In the words of Stephen Covey, begin with the end in mind. Without a goal, companies have no sense of direction and therefore no plan. After all, what good is a group of employees who have the motivation to grow but lack a clear strategy?
First, help employees set personal goals. If a customer service representative wants to learn about product development and move up in the department, assign them a coach to break down their long-term goals with short-term targets.
After employees develop a vision for their future with the company, ask them for input on redefining organizational goals. Perhaps the current ones don’t focus on expansion or aren’t specific enough.
When employees have a voice in setting organizational goals, they can provide input to help the company identify critical performance priorities. These priorities could be profitability, customer satisfaction and conversion rates. After prioritizing what needs to be updated, identify a few strengths and weaknesses within the company's processes.
This collaborative practice gives everyone a clear understanding of the current state of the company. Leaders should work to clarify the vision, mission and values that align with the team. Use any noted weaknesses to define expectations. For example, if the work order processing time is more than 24 hours, set a goal to keep it under 24 hours, and start planning how to hit that goal.
The worst offense a company can make is to leave their team in the dark. When several staff members provide input on goal setting, they develop a deep understanding of the big picture, allowing them to recognize the impact they can make on the large scale operations.
Announce the changes.
Armed with a clear strategy and a team full of motivated workers, it’s time to inform the entire staff about the updates to the company culture, core values, vision and mission statement. Never assume that everyone is familiar with the changes. Instead, play it safe, assuming nobody knows, and start drumming up excitement.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common for companies to fail at aligning their staff with the big picture. According to a 2015 study by Achievers, 61 percent of employees don’t know their organization’s cultural values.
When employees are informed, they know the identity of the company and can see where they fit into the plan for company-wide growth. Provide educational materials to all levels of the organization. Distribute newsletters and post announcements. Hang signage, and use other visual aids in the workplace to share the new organizational culture.
When employees know what values steer the company and what the organizational goals are, they are more motivated, engaged and excited to grow with the company. Create an environment and a culture that speaks the new brand’s language.
Create a reinforcement plan.
What’s the use of redefining company culture without reinforcing it? Essentially, this cultural shift is getting everybody into a growth mindset, where people believe their talents and abilities can be strengthened with persistence and education.
Plan to proactively deliver this message of growth daily through multiple channels. Assign brand ambassadors to engage employees and get them excited about the improved organizational culture. Supply brand ambassadors with training on how to expand brand awareness through outlets like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. After all, excited employees are one of the most effective talent attraction tools.
Additionally, create branded internal websites with social elements like employee profiles, comment sections, sharing capabilities and notification functions. This way, employees can be messaged when an opportunity that aligns with their goals and competencies opens up.
Make sure to deliver newsletters and announcements regularly to keep employees informed. For example, companies like Ritz Carlton initiate daily huddles to keep everyone updated, engaged and motivated.
To successfully create a culture that facilitates large-scale growth, it’s crucial to invest in developing employees, strategizing on large and small scale goals, creating a talent mobility program, communicating well, building a supportive environment and consistently reinforcing the company's message.