How to Make a Winning Workplace Culture, Even Better

No matter how well you’re doing, there’s always room for improvement. You can make a winning workplace culture, even better with a little guidance.

Not every business needs help to develop a great company culture. You may already have engaged staff and talented management.

However, there are still plenty of ways of improving on a winning workplace culture. It’s not about any overarching problems that affect the entire business.

Instead, your focus shifts to the little niggles that affect specific areas.

Great Managers can help you to build on the positive workplace behaviours that your organisation already has. In fact, we did just that for this client.

Improving a Winning Workplace Culture – A Case Study

Our client is a major construction group that focuses primarily on the retail space.

In fact, this is the first great thing about their culture. The client aims to be all things retail instead of being builders that do a little of everything.

That’s a solid vision.

Over 30 years, they’ve completed nearly 1,000 retail projects, which range in value from $100,000 up to $200 million.

They are the country’s most experienced retail builder and their culture is a reflection of that quality.

The Issues

On the face of it, the client didn’t have a lot of issues. They’d succeeded in building a positive workplace culture. Engagement is high and the business has a strong brand and vision.

But like any great business, they wanted to achieve two things – sustain and grow.

Just as an unsharpened blade dulls over time, our client’s culture may have started slipping if they lost focus now.

They came to Great Managers with a specific goal. They wanted to spread the wealth among the entire management team. From directors to supervisors, they wanted to equip their entire management with the same skillset.

This would allow for consistency at all levels of their service, thus paving the way for growth.

The Great Managers Solution

The client obviously didn’t need an entire cultural overhaul. They’d already succeeded in building a positive workplace culture.

It was improving on a winning workplace culture that had them troubled.

It was the little one-degree shifts that Great Managers introduced that made a lot of difference. We equipped the management with a new toolkit of skills that they could leverage to run the business.

Most importantly, we did it at every level. From directors to site supervisors, we worked with everyone in the business who held some type of leadership position.

We also encouraged conversations among those different leaders. On many occasions, our cohorts allowed people to get together who might otherwise not have the chance to talk. Directors can speak to site supervisors to learn about the challenges they’re facing. Mid-level management can get a better sense of where the business is going.

This enhanced communication has helped the organisation identify issues to focus on.

The End Result

Improving on a winning workplace culture was exactly what this partnership achieved.

Today, managers at every level of the organisation have the same skills. This breeds consistency throughout the business. When directors make a decision, site supervisors understand where it comes from. This makes them more able to communicate important information to their crews.

Great Managers also helped the organisation improve its culture of communication. Simply giving managers the opportunity to get together at our cohorts has led to substantial improvements.

Most importantly, we went beyond the standard training sessions that many providers offer. We’re cultural partners who have a vested interest in seeing the business improve.

But it’s the results that do the most impressive talking.

The client has enjoyed tremendous growth since they started working with Great Managers.

In 2017/18, the business enjoyed its busiest period to date. And in 2018 alone, they got 60% more work under contract than they did during the previous year.

Best of all, managers at all levels sign up well in advance to take part in future Great Managers Academy sessions.

Improving on a winning workplace culture allowed our client to achieve the growth that they were striving for.

Improving on a Winning Workplace Culture – What Can You Learn

This story shows that it’s always possible to do a little better than you’re doing right now. In fact, it’s essential to look for ways to make improvements to your business. Stagnation can lead to you falling behind. Innovation in everything from your product offering to your management structure is the way forward.

There’s plenty that you can learn from our client. Here are three lessons that are particularly valuable.

Workplace Culture

Lesson #1 – Take Time to Talk

It would be inaccurate to claim that communication was a major issue for our client. But there’s an argument to make that there was a slight disconnect between the directors and lower management.

That’s likely why our cohorts became a time for managers of all levels to talk. It was the one time where they’re all gathered in one place at the same time. Usually, the supervisors would be on a site somewhere around the country, which separated them from the Sydney in-office leadership teams.

Once they got together, all of the managers could discuss key issues. These sessions allowed for ideas to come from people with different perspectives. The way that a site supervisor saw a challenge may differ from the way the directors saw it.

Bringing all of these different ideas together helped to pave the way for solutions.

What’s crucial here is the face-to-face interactions that these sessions inspired.

You may think that sending a quick email is enough to get an idea across. However, the truth is that over 60% of emails go unopened. A great idea can easily get lost in the shuffle, especially during heavy work periods.

Getting managers of all levels together gives you the chance to get all new ideas out in the open. It allows you to expand on ideas and brainstorm far more effectively than you could through emails.

Lesson #2 – Invest in Your People

It would have been easy for our client to focus their sessions on the upper levels of management.

After all, a business’ vision starts from the top and feeds down. Some may have taken this trickle-down approach a little further. Well-trained senior managers could pass on their newly learned skills to the lower-level managers.

However, this approach comes with its problems. It’s possible that the skills will get lost as they make their way through the organisation. A miscommunication along the line could result in inconsistencies.

Our client’s idea of educating managers at all levels shows a greater willingness to invest in their people.

This is crucial for the development of a great company culture. Your employee development methods stretch beyond your in-house training. Your supervisors can benefit from the same higher level training that you provide for senior managers.

Our client saw an immediate payoff to this approach. One of their biggest problems came from mistakes made during night shifts. Crews working during the night naturally have the fatigue barrier to get through. But they’re also cut off from the majority of the business’ senior leaders.

They work during the day, which made it difficult for night-time site supervisors to get the guidance they needed.

By providing these supervisors with a higher level of training, our client invested directly into their people. The supervisors developed a greater understanding of how to carry out their front-end tasks. This meant they hold more effective briefings that result in fewer mistakes getting made.

As one of their supervisors told us: “I would never have thought of doing what I’m doing now without having done this program.”

Investing in your people reaps many benefits. You equip them with skills that can help them to do their jobs better. Plus, this better training means you have great internal candidates ready when vacancies arise.

Workplace Culture

Lesson #3 – Know What You Want to Fix

If you already have a great company culture, you’re not holding training sessions to help you build from the bottom. You already have the foundation in place. Now, you’re looking to build on it.

Our client recognises this, which is why they came to us with a list of issues before each cohort. They need more focused training on the specific issues. Basic training about culture wouldn’t cut it.

This specificity allows for the creation of tailored training sessions. Less time gets wasted on things that the client’s managers already know. Instead, they can jump straight into solving the most pressing challenges.

The simple point here is that improving on a winning workplace culture starts with knowing what you want to fix.

Spend some time looking at all aspects of the business. Figure out where the inefficiencies lie in your process. Furthermore, plan out what you want to achieve over the next few years.

From there, make your list of things that you think you need to fix.

Workplace Culture

The Final Word

It’s easy to think that you don’t need to do anything if you already have a winning workplace culture. However, workplace culture is something that constantly evolves. Your managers have to manage that evolution. If their skills stagnate, the company won’t grow.

Our client knew exactly what they wanted to achieve when they came to Great Managers. They wanted to both sustain their existing success and build on it.

Their results show just how improving their culture benefitted them.

Take a step back from your business for a moment. Figure out what’s not working as well as it could be and make a list of the issues. Zone in on the specific challenges that you want to confront.

You can also spread the wealth. Supervisors can benefit from developing their skills just as much as directors. By training managers at all levels of the organisation, you invest in your people. This raises engagement and leads to more consistency in your offering.

Are you looking to improve on a great culture?

Could your managers benefit from building on their existing toolkits?

Great Managers can help you. Register for our upcoming webinar to learn how you can build on the success you’ve already created.