10 measures to a high-performance culture: 4-7

Last week I outlined my first three measures in creating a high-performance culture: Private offices for all employees, an open meeting policy, and having an anonymous feedback mechanism. Here are four more actions/policies I’ve found to be successful in context with the SCARF model:

4) Open book management

Do your employees have the information to understand the true state of the business? In many companies the financial information is guarded like the Queen’s jewels. I equate this to asking someone to play in a football game but not allowing them to know the score. This would cause them to quickly disengage emotionally from the game. It’s the same in business: If you want employees to emotionally engage and be committed to the business, I believe it is necessary to be transparent about how the business is doing. The company benefits, because the employees have as much certainty as possible about the future prospects of the business. Plus, they feel more like a trusted part of the team.

5) Clear mission, vision and goals

Goals managementIn order to help provide certainty, not only do employees need to know how the business is performing but also where it is heading. Does every employee in your business know the goals of the company and how their personal goals relate to the higher-level company goals? This interconnectedness is critical for employees to emotionally engage. The SCARF model tells us that employees want to feel related to the rest of the team. By tying their goals to the goals of the company and pursuing a common mission and vision, the employee feels part of something greater than themselves.

I think having a management tool built around goals is so important that I’m building a product to do it called Khorus. More on this in the coming months.

6) Give employees some control over their work environments

Give employees some control

Photo Credit: marfis75 via Compfight cc

A company is not a democracy. However, I have found that the CEO can do many things to make people feel more autonomous in their jobs without harming progress toward the common goals. For example, I created a policy that every new employee received $250 to decorate his or her office. This small gesture allowed them to create their own unique work environment. When combined with a flexible work hours policy and an “unlimited” vacation policy, employees begin to feel they had control of how they engaged at work.

7) Make new employees part of the team

Starting a new job is stressful for any employee: There is so much uncertainty in their minds, and they have likely only met a small number of co-workers. Quickly engaging them to decrease uncertainty and increase relatedness is important to facilitating productive work. To address these issues, I implemented a range of policies and processes for new employees.

For instance, we scheduled for each new employee to meet with every member of the executive team during his or her first few weeks of work. This allowed them to understand the purpose and strategy of each department at a high level as well as quickly build connections across the organization. As CEO, I taught a 10-hour class each quarter for all new employees that covered the company’s technology and market. In addition, we scheduled a department welcome lunch for each new employee so they could quickly become familiar with all of the peers in their group. We would also issue each new employee a nice shirt with the company logo as well as make sure they had a computer and all necessary work items in place the day they started. While these are all little things, together they contributed to new employees quickly feeling connected to their team and the company as a whole.

Next week I’ll conclude this series with measures 8-10. I’d love to hear other examples of how you all have built high-performance cultures.

Related article:

10 measures to a high-performance culture: 1-3

12 Ways To Alienate A New Hire (Forbes.com)

1 Comment

  1. Not only should the state of the business be exposed, but it should be communicated in a way that don’t require MBAs or accounting degrees. There should be some relatively straightforward stats or results and goals that can shared clearly. It helps the whole company rally around it.


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