Workforce Culture Starts with Leadership


Herb Dew, CEO, HTI – Human Technologies, Inc.

When I am called by a company to offer my consultation services on organizational solutions — whether for hiring and keeping the right people or cultivating a high-performing workplace culture — I ask each manager in attendance to write down what they believe to be their company’s primary purpose. Why does their company exist? Often, the answers I receive from the managers vary widely. Why is that? And how can this affect their employee retention?

The importance of Leadership Alignment
Simon Sinek discusses the importance of a company’s purpose brilliantly in his TEDTalk, “How great leaders inspire action.” I encourage you to check it out to further learn about purpose and its importance. When leadership isn’t aligned on the mission, goals, and purpose of a company, it trickles down to the entire workforce, creating a breakdown of company culture and employee development. When you see a problem with a company’s culture, always look first for a problem with the company’s leadership. Culture isn’t created with bottom level programs. It comes from the top down.

I was asked by a CEO of a client company to help improve the overall attitude and performance of their hourly workforce. The company culture was broken, and they wanted some ideas on how employees could be better motivated. I immediately met with the leadership team individually and found that there was a lack of understanding of the CEO’s goals and mission. This misalignment was causing infighting for power that poured all the way down to the employee level. After a year of hard work and some selective turnover, the company was finally able to make positive changes to the entire company’s culture. With leadership fully aligned and committed to improvement, the workforce followed suit, creating improvement across the board.

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Reinforcing your company’s purpose
Employees realize when a company’s purpose and values are just nice phrases displayed on the corporate website or somewhere on the wall in the building. In order to instill genuine purpose, the commitment must start from the leaders. Once it is firmly established in top management, it will be strengthened through every action, behavior, and interaction with employees. Finally, when everyone involved in the organization is aligned to its common purpose, you will see work satisfaction and productivity soar!

My challenge to you is to ask each of your senior management, “What is our company’s purpose?” Do you think they will all deliver the same answer? If not, how will you more effectively communicate your company’s purpose and instill it in your organization?

When a company invests in their leaders, that investment grows multiple times over by spilling down to each employee that those leaders influence. If you want a better performing workforce, focus on the top and you’ll see positive changes all the way down.

Contact Herb Dew at 864-467-0330 or online.

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