Creating a viable and 
sustainable work culture

Last modified: 8/12/2014 9:24:21 AM
How do you create a workplace with an achievable goal of close to 0 percent voluntary turnover? It is simple: respect and trust. Say what you do, do what you say, and put it in writing.

Studies have shown that 92 percent of people who work for a living go to work every day and try to give a day’s work for a day’s pay.

These 92-percenters want to be part of your culture and part of a company’s family. They know what respectful behavior looks like and feels like. In cases where employees can trust what you, the business owner says, they will respect you and your management decisions. They generally won’t work with or for others that they don’t like or trust. If you truly want to create a culture that encourages your employees to do their very best work, you need to build on a foundation of respect and trust. Employees want to know what the rules are and an Employee Guide or Handbook, used properly, goes a long way towards educating them.

Your guide or handbook becomes one of the building blocks of your culture. It should be a living, breathing, Workplace Bible that your employees and your managers can rely on. If it isn’t the first place you turn to when an employee asks, “What is the company’s policy on ______?,” it isn’t the document that it should be. This is where it is critical to do what you say and say what you do.

For example, if you state in your Employee Guide that employees will be reviewed annually, you need to make sure this promise is kept. When you don’t, or you review some employees and not others, you risk losing trust.

You also lose the trust of your good employees when you have a disciplinary policy and don’t follow it. Your good employees know, sometimes better than you, who the goof-offs and slackers are. Good employees want to work with other good employees, in part because they have to pick up the slack for the work that slackers don’t do. If your company has a culture that permits blatant violations of your rules, it will attract people who like to break rules and repel those who like to follow rules.

If you want to create a culture at your company that encourages your employees to do their very best work, a simple, well-crafted Employee Guide needs to be put in place and followed with regard to your policies and procedures. Once you truly do what you say and say what you do, you will attract and retain good employees.

Paula Mathews founded HR Compliance, 101 (, a Fitzwilliam-based company, in 2001 after spending 23 years in corporate America and is passionate about helping companies create the cultures they desire.


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