Get Your Company Culture Summer Ready
By Janice Omadeke, CEO and Founder, The Mentor Method
Everyone plans and strategizes corporate annual goals. Whether your annual goals are increasing month-over-month growth, retaining your exceptional talent, or launching a new version of your app, your company culture plays a significant role in the way your employees help you reach those milestones.
We’re quickly-approaching the halfway mark of the year. When the days get longer and your team uses more of their vacation time, it can be tempting to let your annual goals move forward on cruise-control until September. However, this is the perfect time to re-evaluate whether you’re on track for your cultural and engagement goals. Here are some ways to breathe new life into your culture to set you up for a successful rest of the year.
According to a study by Accenture, a culture focused on equality is key to increased employee innovation. Focusing on talent equality promotes a culture of ideation, acceptance, and understanding. Equality can come in multiple approaches including equal pay, equality in hiring and promotion practices, equality in skills development, and opening enrollment to ERGs.
Empower your ERGs
Creating employee resource groups (ERGs) creates spaces for your employees to share their experiences and maximize retention. With the right sponsorship, these groups have the power to deliver impact to the employees in which these groups serve, and create inclusive environments for cross-cultural understanding. This season, take a deeper look at how you can develop your ERGs. Beyond a weekly meeting space, how else can your leadership empower ERG leaders to be successful? Could you become an executive sponsor? Is there room for an increase in their budget for community initiatives?
Volunteer as a Team
Bringing the team together for a cause bigger than your company goals increases team morale and productivity. Nearly 9 out of 10 (89%) working Americans believe that companies that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment than those that do not. Whether it’s Habitat for Humanity, showing you support equality as volunteers at Grace Hopper, or participating in local volunteer events, working as a team on something outside of your normal day-to-day can be an experience that bonds your team and increases retention. For example, The Entrepreneurs Foundation’s annual Spring Service Week brings together hundreds of volunteers across tech and startup teams to give back and engage with the Austin community, focused on specific issues the city faces together.
Destigmatize Mental Health and Wellness
Striving to reach your goals takes long hours and great dedication from your team. Have you taken a moment to evaluate how they’re handling the pressure of contributing to your company’s success? Over the last decade, maintaining mental health and wellness is an increasing priority in the workplace. In a recent study, U.S. businesses lost over $44 billion annually in lost productivity due to depression alone. Aside from being the right thing to do for a positive workplace culture, adding benefits and resources that support this growing need will also increase your team’s productivity.
Ask Your Employees (and Listen)
This is the easiest option on the list, and yet it’s often the least utilized. Filling out the annual engagement survey provides concrete data. While the surveys give you surface level information, have you considered getting to the deeper “why” behind your employees’ responses? Your employees are more than 5 options in a multiple choice survey, and their nuanced responses to your questions may be the key to shifting your culture for the better. Enlist your team to put together small focus groups or town halls that create a space for your employees to share what they’d like to see change within your culture. Just having the opportunity to speak their mind allows for invaluable transparency and dialogue you can put into practice for the rest of the year.
Janice Omadeke is the CEO and Founder of The Mentor Method, an enterprise platform helping companies keep and develop their diverse talent using the proven power of mentorship. Using a Double blind algorithm, The Mentor Method is closing the opportunity equity gap in the workplace. Her company won Capital Factory’s Women in Tech Challenge, is a MassChallenge Texas Gold winner, and has been featured in The Washington Business Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, is a Startup to Watch in 2018 from DC Inno, and a 2017 Startup Grind Global Exhibition selection. Janice served as a DC Ambassador at SXSW, was selected to attend The 2016 White House Summit on Building the Tech Workforce of Tomorrow, and a top 10 inalist in Rent the Runway’s Project Entrepreneur.