By Decent Nyoni, Marketing Manager at Profmed Medical Scheme
Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed how the people who are most passionate about what they do, the companies they work for and the customers they serve, are also the most productive. Workplace satisfaction, happiness and productivity are inextricably linked.
I’ve always viewed culture as a critical component in any successful business, because culture fosters and supports personal passions and aligns each employee’s values with the company’s vision and mission. I’m not alone in this belief. Leaders today are putting more and more of an emphasis on culture for this very reason.
Put culture first
Cultivating relationships across your business builds a strong culture. This can be achieved through team building exercises, bonding opportunities and simply creating a space where relationships are encouraged. Great cultures are achieved when people feel a sense of belonging and a shared purpose. In these environments, people want to add value.
Genuinely care about your employees
Most businesses say that their greatest assets are their people, but this sentiment doesn’t always filter down to employees across the organisation. Every individual in a business should know that their direct supervisor, line manager and CEO cares about them. This cascades down from the top. If a manager feels respected and supported, they will care for their direct reports, who will in turn care for their colleagues. The result is a business that is aligned and working towards the same goals and people who are genuinely friendly and happy when they engage with clients.
People that are treated as individuals who have ups and downs, good days and bad days, days when they need support and others where they can offer support, relax when they’re at work. They feel safe, and the result is that they will treat your business as their own, because in a very real way, it is.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and remote working happened almost overnight, the companies with strong cultures and teams who felt cared for were able to make the shift seamlessly, supporting each other and working hard to keep the business going and customers looked after. We saw this in our own business. Despite the enormous challenges everyone was facing, as well as the fear and anxiety of the unknown, we put our heads down and ensured we looked after our members.
Give your employees meaning and they will feel fulfilled
I personally know that I’ve achieved the most when I’ve relished what I was doing. Incentivised, goal-orientated, high achievers are fulfilled when they complete tasks and can grow and stretch themselves, and so it’s important to ensure your top-achievers are supported in this way or you will lose them to an environment that does challenge and fulfill them.
It’s equally imperative to support your core employees who aren’t necessarily your top achievers but who play important day-to-day roles across the organisation.
One of the best ways to do this is through training and development. Done properly, employees can discover their strengths, gain confidence, and upskill to advance their careers. They’ll also find greater purpose in the work they do because they can see the way their contributions positively impact the business, customers and the ecosystems you operate within. People want to contribute – we’re hardwired for it – so build an environment that helps them to add value and understand the impact they’re making.
Figure out what drives individual employees
Everyone is inspired and incentivised in different ways. For some people, the promise of a bonus will motivate hard work. For others, it’s reaching specific career goals or self-development. Most people respond positively to being acknowledged and thanked for the work they do. It’s a small but powerful habit that makes people feel seen and appreciated.
The acts of giving and receiving gratitude actually produces serotonin, so a business culture built on reward and recognition directly translates into a company that is filled with happy, productive people.
Enact an open-door policy
An open-door policy creates a culture in which employees are comfortable approaching management for questions and support. This allows employees to provide candid feedback, which then helps employers to keep an eye on potential concerns. while establishing with employees that they are cared for and that their opinions are valuable.
Start right by making hiring more personal
Culture is not a destination. It needs constant nurturing, particularly as new people enter an organisation. However, as much as you will onboard new hires into your culture, it’s always better to start with people who align to the company’s values. If that value isn’t shared, it will be almost impossible to motivate an individual.
Make interviews personal. Ask questions that delve into a candidate’s ambitions, ideals and how they view the world. Ask them how they will contribute and what work means to them. Each new hire that can align with your purpose strengthens your culture.
Decent Nyoni is the Marketing Manager at Profmed Medical Scheme. She joined Profmed in 2016 after spending four years as the Marketing & Project Manager – Southern African Regions at KPMG South Africa. Decent is dedicated to driving, facilitating and overseeing the marketing of Profmed Medical Scheme from idea-generation to execution. She is also passionate about Profmed’s stakeholders, from the brand’s internal teams to the members who engage with Profmed on a daily basis.