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Simple Ways To Improve Company Culture With a Low Budget

Dr. Aaron Blight on Quora


In his spare time, caregiving consultant and healthcare business coach Dr. Aaron Blight is happy to answer questions on Quora about caregiving organizational development, healthcare consulting, senior care, and many other topics.

In this month’s post, we highlight his recent answer which deals with ways that can company culture can be improved on a limited budget.

Anthropologist Clifford Geertz said, “Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun.” I love Geertz’s definition of culture, which has been applied in organizational studies.

Culture is a reflection of the meaning we make from the world around us. Company culture does not require any budget, although how and where company money is spent says something about its culture.

If you want to improve company culture, to use the Geertz analogy, you will have to do some spinning. Here are a few tips.

1. Observe. Become a keen observer. Look for indications of culture throughout your organization, from the physical environment to the things employees say.

2. Ask. What values are reflected in the indications of culture you observe? What taken-for-granted assumptions are revealed? Why do such assumptions exist?

3. Think. Come up with a revised set of values and assumptions that you’d like to see reflected throughout the company.

4. Create. Create ways to explicitly and implicitly convey the values and assumptions you want in your company. This can be anything from break room modifications to employee recognition programs, from company tag lines to business process re-engineering, from storytelling to artistry. Incorporate symbolic meaning into some of your creations.

5. Reinforce. Continue to communicate, directly and indirectly, the elements of culture you wish to emphasize.

6. Repeat. Keep in mind that culture change takes time and cannot be forced. As you maintain focus and repeat steps 1–5, you will begin to see signs of progress.

We hope you learned something from this latest edition! Check back in over the coming weeks and months for more Q&A with Dr. Aaron Blight!