In the last blog we spoke about the importance of employee surveys, feedback, and following up on the results. One of the challenges is how busy we are as leaders and how many other initiatives we have as priorities. As a result, we take the survey or other feedback, gather the broad ideas, and implement overarching initiatives that involve large numbers of employees. This limits us to implementing a few big ideas rather than lots of little ones. It also creates a situation where there is very little time to test, so whatever we roll-out has to work the first time or has to be delayed several months while we test to make sure it accomplishes our goals.
One solution is to push company change down to the employees who are affected most by it. Encourage them to make changes in their work spaces and departments. Give them guidance with a Higher Purpose and clear values and expect them to create the environment they want to work in. Let them create hundreds of smaller experiments. Create mechanisms so the most successful ideas can be shared through the organization.
Here are a few steps to creating a culture of continuous culture improvement:
- Make sure your company’s Higher Purpose and values are clear. These provide a framework to guide the teams to make the right decisions.
- Give your teams permission and the opportunities to make changes. Most employees wait to be asked for their opinion and then wait for executives to bless their ideas. Make it clear that you expect them to move forward with their ideas to improve the company and they should meet with their peers on a regular basis to discuss how to make it happen.
- Have them schedule weekly or monthly CIT’s or Company Improvement Team meetings in each office with a few local employee leaders. They can meet with their peers to vet, improve, and implement ideas. Representatives from local CIT’s can meet nationally on quarterly conference calls to share the best ideas throughout the company.
- Give them a clear budget. $500 per office or $10 per employee. Something to cover minor needs until the idea can be tested. A larger budget can be allocated if it is rolled out nationally.
- Highlight the successes in company meetings and newsletters. Praise the failures and use them as stories to encourage others to take risks.
In a future blog, we’ll talk about how you can create tribes that can help implement these and other similar ideas.
Executives usually make up about 5% of the workforce. Why not get the other 95% working to make the company better as well.