Jorge Lopez on improving one’s company culture

Jorge Lopez speaks to attendees about company culture at the VIA Luncheon Tuesday, June 18, 2019. Lorena Mejia/The Signal

More than 100 business leaders gathered Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Valencia to talk about company culture and how it impacts businesses.

The topic was the focus of the Valley Industry Association’s monthly luncheon, which featured keynote speaker Jorge Lopez of Valencia-based J&M Events, an entertainment and event-production company.

“One question business leaders should ask themselves is how engaged or disengaged are their employees, and what is that costing them,” said Lopez, who has more than 30 years of experience in the events and entertainment industry. ”More importantly, what can they do about it?”

Before addressing this question, Lopez asked attendees to rate their company culture. With a “show-of-hands” posed question, the majority said “OK.”

Lopez was not surprised to see a lack of hands that rated their company culture as “excellent.”

These were some statistics he shared about how other employees feel about their workplace: 53% of Americans are unhappy at work; 79% of professionals cited a lack of appreciation for leaving a company; and 58% of professionals in a survey would trust a stranger over their own boss.

Poor employee engagement can come at a cost to companies. Disengaged workers showed 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents and 60% more errors and defects, which contributes to $450 billion to $500 billion a year in losses in productivity, according to a study by Gallup.

Multiple factors can impact culture, which refers to an organization’s shared values, attitudes, standards and beliefs.

Below is a breakdown of the impacts and solutions Lopez recommended:

What can impact company culture for employees:

  • Burnout: Employees are not using their vacation days because they fear being viewed as dispensable.
  • A lack of appreciation: Does your team feel appreciated, and does each member feel they are valued members of the team?
  • Making an impact: Do workers feel they are making an impact? It’s important to look at the big picture, no matter the job or duty.
  • Middle managers: Are they sticking to your values and living and breathing the culture you want?

Toxic work cultures make the best employees quit. Watch out for these:

  • Excessive absenteeism, illness and high turnover.
  • Aggressiveness or bullying behavior.
  • Punishing loyal employees for being honest.
  • The mindset that overworking is a badge of honor and is expected.
  • Favoritism and office politics.

Solutions for managers and company culture:

  • Humility: Be humble and understand that people are always learning.
  • Goodbye pride: Pride has to go. If you’re the one who says, “I don’t make mistakes,” that is what you teach your employees.
  • Listening: The most powerful skill a leader can master is listening.

Ideas to boost company culture:

  • Weekly: Offer a wellness challenge, opportunity to praise hard work or offer casual Fridays.
  • Monthly: Have simple contests, an employee of the month dedication or birthday celebrations.
  • Quarterly: Have fun company outings, touch base with employees, bring surprise coffee or lunch.
  • Yearly: Hold a holiday party with awards for employees, conduct performance evaluations.

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