4 Ways To Improve Your Team’s Culture

4 Ways To Improve Your Team’s Culture In 2017.jpg

We talk about culture a lot on our team here at Vanderbloemen. It’s now becoming a hot topic for a lot of churches and ministries as well. A strong team culture can foster growth, attract great talent, and, most importantly, move the church forward.

Here are 4 key pieces to improving your church staff’s culture this year.

1. Improve your communication.

The longer I live, the more I believe that most things in life would be drastically improved with better communication. Marriages would be better, flight delays would be better, and workplaces would be better. Communication is a huge part of your team's culture.

One of the biggest reasons the Vanderbloemen team has won multiple culture awards is the emphasis we put on good communication. We have clarity around two major facets of communication:

  1. How we communicate as a company: We know the response time expected of us in each form of communication (email, phone, text, etc.) and we save texts or phone calls solely for urgent information or questions needing the quickest response.
  2. How we communicate with each other: We each take a personality test and study how each personality type communicates. Each team member is wired differently, so we all make an effort to adapt our communication to each person when necessary. This requires some team training, but our leadership would say it is a more-than-worthy investment.

Take a look at how effective and efficient your team is at communication and invest in improving that.

2. Get buy-in on the vision.

A common misnomer about creating a great company culture is that it’s all about parties, free snacks, and cool events. That's not true. Culture starts and ends with your vision and values. If your team isn’t bought into why they’re getting up everyday and giving their talents to your vision, your culture is going to suffer. 

Take a survey of your team’s current understanding and buy-in of your vision and values. Can everyone, from your administrative staff to your team leaders, clearly say what the short-term and long-term vision is? Can everyone clearly articulate why they’re invested in this vision? Can they recite your team values and which ones are their favorite?

If not, spend the next few all-staff meetings championing this vision, and give real and earnest inspiration for the coming year. Once you’ve reestablished where you’re going as an organization, spend some time every month revisiting this along with progress to achieving this year’s goals. 

3. Celebrate the wins.

This one should be easy, right? When something great happens, you tell people about it and celebrate! The misstep here is how it’s celebrated and with whom it’s celebrated.

Too often, a win is celebrated with an immediate circle and not the whole team. Often, the worst offender of this is the leadership team. They are privy to more information and updates than most of the team and can forget to pass along exciting news to the rest of the staff.

Doing this well goes back to my previous point. When you’re trying to create buy-in from your team on a vision, you’ve got to let everyone in on the high-five moments. Find a way to publicly celebrate hitting these goals every week. Create a weekly email blast that lists the “Things to Celebrate,” or carve out time in every all-staff meeting for one of the staff members to share something great that happened that week. 

Bottom line, if you bring your team into these exciting spaces together, it will foster a stronger culture around your vision.

4. Add some fun.

For better or for worse, I’m one of those humans that will always believe that most people could use a bit more fun in their lives. I believe injecting some scheduled fun into your staff culture this year will do a whole lot of good.

To put this in the simplest of terms, people form bonds in times of laughter. Planning some fun for your church staff doesn’t need to be expensive or excessive, just intentional. Here are a few easy ideas:

  • Theme dress days: Alma mater day, wear your favorite sports jersey day, silly Christmas Sweater day, etc.
  • Surprise ice cream bar: Invite everyone to take a break and make their own ice cream sundae in a common area.
  • Karaoke lunch: Borrow or rent a karaoke machine and have the team show off their pipes.
  • Video of the week: Everyone has a favorite cat video on youtube. Once a week, a staff member can take turns sharing their favorite funny video. It creates a lot of fun conversations that day!

Every church’s culture is different, so think about some fun simple things your staff would enjoy doing, and plan some of these throughout the year.

What are some ways you think culture can be fostered best?