How to Create a Great Place to Work

February 14, 2017

Organization culture has a strong impact on the ability to attract and retain good people. It is an expression of the prevailing values, beliefs and behaviors that people operate by. And when the top executives are committed to (live by and breathe) a common set of values it permeates the entire organization.  

  1. Have strategic clarity by all on: 

  • The Purpose, Values and Vision for the organization 

  • The “Organizational Culture” needed to achieve your “Strategic Vision” 

  • Develop the leadership skills needed to create the culture and engage each member, one person at a time. 

  1. Identify what kind of people you need working with you to achieve your strategic objectives. When asked most leaders / managers say they are looking for people who are self-starters, creative, open to change, passionate, committed, competent and responsible or demonstrate a good work ethic.  

  1. Measure your existing culture / work environment. Is it control-based or a responsibility based culture? Organizations with an “us” vs. “them” culture indications that employees are operating on the belief that management is against them, not for them. Cultures where people do not accept responsibility for their work and always blame someone or something else when things go wrong is not a responsibility-based work culture. And nothing will change until everyone changes their belief about who is responsible. 

If you feel your culture is not where it should be, do not be discouraged. It can be changed.

Here is a case in point: CEO Ralph Stayer of Johnsonville Foods, Sheboygan WI, changed his company’s culture. During his early days as CEO, which was a time of rapid growth, Stayer transformed the culture of his organization, as he puts it, from a “herd of buffalo to a flock of geese”. A buffalo herd will follow the lead buffalo anywhere, even over a cliff, but a in a flock of geese, each goose is responsible for getting itself to the flock’s destination, and they work as a team to get there. When the lead goose gets tired, another goose moves to the forward position ensuring they all arrive at their destination. So, Stayer stopped merely delegating work and instead transferred ownership of customer relationships to the organizational members. (Employees are called members, to support this culture shift.) 

Contributed by 
Pinky McPherson, Principal, PMc Consulting LLC. 

View the on-demand webinar “Cultivating a Great Place to Work with Pinky McPherson.