Establishing an Open and Award-Winning Culture

For the third year in a row Willory has been awarded a spot on the NorthCoast 99, which recognizes workplaces in Northeast Ohio dedicated to developing top talent. This year Willory was awarded the “challenging and meaningful work” category winner. We are honored and humbled to receive this award again and it is with that humility that we present a series examining how Willory has created an award-winning culture.

Sometimes an organization’s culture develops purely organically through individual personalities and company-wide events. But more often than not this culture is also formed and augmented by a personal vision, typically provided by an individual in HR, internal communications, or if an organization is fortunate – the CEO. This individual or group of individuals also takes time to analyze the culture and work alongside employees to establish a culture in which employees and the company can thrive together.

At Willory we have focused our culture on five distinct tenets: balance, environment, structure, growth, and appreciation. By focusing on these tenets and the following four practices we’ve strategically built our award-winning culture during the last seven years. The Willory team is an amazing group of individuals, but it still takes dedication to a positive culture to maintain what we have through our growth.

Talk it out

Most people can easily agree, “communication is key.” Communicate your values and culture constantly and openly, both internally and externally, in order to create a mutual understanding and foundation for your culture. Keep in mind that communication in the office shouldn’t be one-way. As important as it is for you to share what your company culture is, it’s equally important to listen to employees and engage them to participate in the culture creation. When communication falters, both an unsafe work environment and an undesirable culture are created. It is in those situations that employee morale decreases and high turnover runs rampant.

One of the biggest differences between Willory and many other companies is our completely virtual work environment, meaning all work is done remotely and without the daily dose of face-to-face communication. Not only does this form our culture, but greatly impacts the importance of communication styles. Team members must create a foundation of trust and be able to hold one another accountable.

Challenging work environment

As an organization it is imperative that your employees find their jobs meaningful, stimulating, and filled with variety. A challenging work environment is not one designed to see employees fail, instead it encourages top talent to be ambitious and find their roles exciting and challenging. When focused on establishing an open culture, don’t stop at growth-producing work, but encourage employees and support them in pursing their passions, both professionally and personally.

As a company with entrepreneurial spirit, Willory employees are encouraged to practice autonomy in their jobs by pursuing solutions in a thoughtful manner. In the last year, we have developed a management training program and have worked one-on-one with each team member to develop their personalized professional development plan. We are more focused on results and productivity than hours logged.

Reward employees for their efforts

By acknowledging how vital individual employees are to the overall success of the firm, you ensure that employees are engaged and recognized for their hard work. This helps the culture of accomplishment and encouragement be actively spread throughout the organization as a whole. It’s paramount to recognize the accomplishments of your employees.

We follow through on this at Willory by acknowledging each employee on their professional and personal accomplishments. This isn’t purely a top-down initiative, but instead employees at all levels are encouraged to speak up when they see their teammates doing a good job.

Leadership sets the tone

Culture is shaped in most cases by how your leaders act, so make sure your company’s leaders embody your values. There are no excuses, they must practice what they preach. This isn’t just about the CEO or directors, but all people in leadership positions must be a positive influence on the company’s culture.

At Willory, our President and Founder John Bernatovicz truly exemplifies our core values and culture. He leads by example and expects the same out of all managers. We encourage employees to work through solutions to problems as if they were the leader of the company. As a result, solutions are collaborative and forward-thinking which increases the feeling of leadership, which in turn infiltrates the culture.

As companies grow and develop culture is one thing that will keep everything on track. So define and establish an award winning culture and you will pave the road to success. No matter if a company is growing and excelling, declining and failing, or simply staying status quo, culture can set it apart and spur employees to pursue their work in a beneficial manner. Culture doesn’t have to be acknowledged as award-winning to change the lives of employees, it just needs to be understood what unique factors impact real people and how with positive adjustments employees can find more value in the work they do.

Are you concerned about your company’s culture? Willory’s assessment services can help ascertain areas of improvement and provide a road map to ensure compliance and attract top talent. Fill out the form below to learn more about our HR operations consulting services.


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