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What if all of your employees were like your best employee? What would that mean for the culture of your company?

If you’re having trouble narrowing down your employees to find the best one - consider yourself lucky. But assuming it’s much easier to hone in on that one team member, how can you bring the rest of your team up to speed?

First, you have to understand what makes that person your best employee. Find out what makes them tick and what they enjoy most about the job. If you can find these key attributes and implement them in your hiring process, you’ll be much closer to building the culture your company needs to succeed.  

What is a positive workplace culture?

The founders and executives at Rootwurks - myself included - have more than 100 years of combined experience in workplace education, training, and compliance. And over that century of real-life experience, one thing we’ve learned is that the culture of your company is crucial for success - especially when it comes to safety and compliance.

A good workplace culture is a productive one where there isn’t a ton of background noise or time wasted being non-productive. It’s a workplace in which employees like coming in, enjoy what they’re doing, and feel that they’re part of a team - all while keeping productivity high.

Employees must be engaged and feel invested in the work. This is especially important for safety. When you’re doing repetitive tasks - such as in a cannabis or food manufacturing facility - if you don’t stay focused on what you’re doing your mind can start drifting off and that’s when things slip up and workplace accidents can happen. It is also when products are more likely to become contaminated.

The dangers of having a bad company culture

Management doesn’t only manage operations. Management is also responsible for shaping the culture and energy of a company.

If you build a culture in which people are afraid to make mistakes - they’re going to make mistakes and everyone will be less safe. And if people are nervous about doing their job that typically means they don’t know enough or haven’t been trained enough to know what they’re supposed to be doing.

That is one of the key steps managers must take - to have the training available to ensure that employees know what they’re supposed to do and can easily access the guidance needed to do their work correctly.

How do you make employees feel engaged?

Creating a culture in which employees feel engaged in the work isn’t something that you can accomplish 100% on every workday. But it is something that you must always keep at the forefront. 

The steps needed to foster this sense of engagement can take many forms. It can be something as simple as a CEO walking the floor and asking employees how they’re doing - and if they do so while remembering the employees' names, even better.

It can take the form of managers who ask employees what they believe is the best way to carry out a task and what would make performing the task easier and more efficient. Providing feedback to the employee on why their suggestions might not work or possibly implementing their suggestion.  The key is to stay engaged and provide guidance.  Don’t just listen and do nothing.  You will lose credibility quickly.

You have to instill in your team a feeling of ownership. You have to encourage them to care about the success of the company and understand that what they’re doing day in and day out is crucial to that success. Always provide clarity so that each employee knows how to contribute to the success of the company.

Negativity is not your friend

It’s inevitable - people are going to make mistakes.

But if an owner or manager spends the entire workday correcting people and being critical and negative - the effect on the culture will be negative. 

You need leaders at your company who are trained in how to talk to people. They need to know how to empower people, how to build them up, and encourage them instead of knocking them down. 

That said, when you do have toxic team members, management must show them the door before they bring down the workplace as a whole. 

In a workplace with a great culture, you’ll recognize the people who are a great fit right away and you’ll also recognize those that don’t fit so you can’t be shy about giving them their walking papers.  Your existing employees will see this as well so in the very best cultures, the team becomes self-selecting.  They know when someone is not pulling their weight.

How important is turnover?

In food and cannabis manufacturing the work can be difficult, monotonous, and often dangerous. People aren’t doing the job because it’s fun, so you’ll have to make a concerted effort to fight turnover. 

You have to make sure that new hires find a welcoming environment where they can make friends and trusted colleagues. You have to foster an environment where employees feel empowered to do the work - and to provide their input on where and how you can improve operations.

But also, when you think of that production line or the dispensary counter, you should try to envision yourself in that position. Can you see yourself staying in that job for the next 10 to 15 years?

There are very few people who want to do the same job forever. If you want to fight turnover, you have to keep training your team and instilling in them a sense of growth and betterment.

Simply put, these days it’s harder than ever to find great employees. And once you do, you’ll lose them in a hurry if you don’t put the effort in to get to know them and help them grow.

How to create the culture your business needs

During a recent meeting at Rootwurks, I was asked what leadership must do to create a winning workplace culture. 

With few exceptions, a company needs to create the following:

  1. A team environment
  2. A learning environment
  3. An environment in which everyone is striving to be better every day
  4. A place where everyone participates
  5. A workplace where everyone is supported and appreciated
  6. Constant communication
  7. Transparency - Everyone knows and understands how the company is doing and what is most important to get done
  8. A dialogue in which the people doing the work are explaining how to do the job and guiding their co-workers 
  9. Self-selecting teams – if someone is not pulling their weight, the team corrects the behavior

Whatever industry you work in, if your company does not have the right culture in place all of your planning, investment, and hard work can be in vain. But by focusing on culture as an essential aspect of daily operations, you can help replicate what makes your great employees stand out, and improve your chances of building a brand that lasts. 

An entrepreneur with thirty-six years of experience in developing businesses and investment opportunities, Jeff Eastman is one of the founders of Rootwurks. If you’d like to read more about the importance of workplace culture and how the Rootwurks Learning Experience Platform is a “culture-changing machine” for companies in industries ranging from food manufacturing to cannabis, book a demo here

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Jeff Eastman

Whatever industry you work in, if your company does not have the right culture in place all of your planning, investment, and hard work can be in vain. But by focusing on culture as an essential aspect of daily operations, you can help replicate what makes your great employees stand out, and improve your chances of building a brand that lasts. 

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