What's the First Step in Building a Stronger Culture?

Company culture has been a heavy theme at SHRM this year. I'd be willing to bet that many conference attendees left feeling inspired or challenged to build a stronger culture at their organization. What's the first step?

Answer

Michael Plishka (President and Founder, ZenStorming Solutions, LLC)
Caty, it may be obvious to state but the first step is to define what 'stronger culture' means. Even without any guidance whatsoever, a company will develop a strong culture of its own. Once the type of culture is decided upon it's largely a matter of doing an assessment of obstacles and find ways to remove them. In some ways though, it's less about creating culture per se and more about finding ways to deliver your products/services that respect people and enable and empower them to do their jobs better and become the best people they can be.

This is often less about asking them and more about truly understanding them, sharing their experiences,and coming together to 'get the job done'. The culture naturally comes together through this process.
1 Additional Answer
Kellie Auld (Employment Relationship Consultant, Simply Communicating)
Hi Caty
I would echo some of what Michael has said. You need to first identify the current culture and determine what is good about it and maybe what isn't quite as good. In many cases, it's almost advantageous to have someone from the outside helping you in identifying what your culture is. Think of a brand new employee coming on board - he or she probably has a better sense of the true culture than those who are deeply embedded into the organization - sort of like not seeing the forest for the trees.

I'm also unsure of what you mean by 'stronger' specifically. Do you mean healthier and more open perhaps?
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