Let’s Talk about Culture

There is plenty of business out there for those who want it. But those who make culture a priority will find it much easier to navigate this recovery.
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As business comes roaring back for the hospitality industry in 2022 the need to focus on culture is more important than ever before.

The biggest concerns I hear are the ability to retain and attract talent, and the scramble to hire enough team members to keep up with demand.

Company culture is essential to combating both of those challenges, and is at the center of what will differentiate the employee experience in 2022.

Culture is more about the way in which your company operates, how people treat one another, how team members feel about their work, and the direction the company is heading.

There is plenty of business out there for those who want it. But those who make culture a priority will find it much easier to navigate this recovery; while those who struggle with culture are in for a bumpy ride that will undoubtedly cause frustration, exhaustion, and the proverbial feeling of “spinning their wheels.”

Most people hear “culture” and think ping pong tables and beer fridges. While those can be components of culture, they are miniscule in comparison to the things that truly create a great place to work.

Culture is more about the way in which your company operates, how people treat one another, how team members feel about their work, and the direction the company is heading.  Here are challenges companies are facing currently and ideas on how to approach them.

Burnout is real, but it’s not about hours. 

Have you ever worked on a project for hours and afterward felt energized, fulfilled, and accomplished?

On the flip side, think of a time where you worked for an hour on a project that absolutely drained you.

When we use our strengths, we are more efficient, happier, and fulfilled.

Many employees are feeling burnout right now, and not always because they’ve had to work a ton of hours over the past couple of years. They are feeling burnout because they are having to do work that doesn’t fill them up.

When companies were forced to downsize, the people left standing had to pick up the pieces and fill roles that they weren’t accustomed to doing. This worked in the short term under the guise of “let’s all get through this.” But as business picks up and companies struggle to hire, there is a heavy workload on some team members who need to get back into the positions where they thrive.

When we use our strengths, we are more efficient, happier, and fulfilled. Companies must focus on making sure that their people are in the right positions that allow them to use those strengths and be diligent about hiring others that can fill the vacant positions. Otherwise, they risk becoming a statistic of The Great Resignation.

Are you consistent with your core values?

Core values are a critical piece of culture. Having them is only the first step; living by them is what really matters.

Many things have changed as a result of COVID, and it may be time for you to revisit your core values. Getting clear on what they are and what they mean will help you communicate to your team why decisions are being made and provide direction as to where the company is going.

Actions speak louder than words, and it undermines culture credibility when employees hear one thing but see another. I don’t think companies do this intentionally, but they fall into the trap of trying to do it all. Take for example customers vs. employees — both are important.  But if your core values state that employees are the companies’ most valuable resource, then leadership must be willing to say no to customers to protect the team.

Culture is not something that you work on in the slow season and then put on the back burner when things get busy. Culture is something that you have to work on and protect throughout the entire year.

I spoke to employees from one team, who said their company promised balance to everyone and agreed not to take Sunday morning events so that their team could recover from the week and late Saturday nights. Then, they took on small Sunday events for four weeks in a row because it was for a “great customer.” Inconsistency in living by core values causes frustration among team members. At some point leaders must decide what is most important and draw a line in the sand.

How do I find time to focus on culture?

Culture is not something that you work on in the slow season and then put on the back burner when things get busy. Culture is something that you have to work on and protect throughout the entire year.

A mentor of mine once told me, “We have time for whatever we want to do. We make time for what is important.”

If culture is going to be a focal point for your company, then you have to be disciplined enough to carve out time to work on it each week. Start with something manageable, maybe it’s 30 minutes, but be intentional about impacting your team’s culture. If you just focus on making it a little better every day, you’ll be well on your way to a much smoother 2022.

Anthony Lambatos grew up in the catering business working for his father and founder of Footers Catering in Denver, Colorado. Anthony and his wife, April, purchased the business in 2010 and have successfully made the transition to a second-generation family business. They recently moved Footers Catering into a new facility that also houses their newest venture – an event venue called Social Capitol. Anthony is passionate about helping other companies create great places to work and inspiring people with heart leadership through Footers’ sister company MIBE (Make It Better Everyday).

Thumbnail Mibe Logo Square SimpleAnthony Lambatos, Owner and CEO
Footers Catering | Social Capitol | MIBE Heart Leadership
Footers Catering is committed to using the freshest ingredients cooked on-site at every event. We are proud to offer full event coordination to ensure that every detail is perfect for your wedding, corporate event, charitable gathering or family party. Our award-winning hospitality team and chefs are committed to ensuring that you can relax and be a guest at your own event.

 

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