We know that if you improve your company culture, those changes have a positive impact on customers and organizational performance. Today, we’ll offer 5 tips to improve your company culture, but let’s start by ensuring we all have the same understanding of what company or corporate culture is.
Company culture can more simply be described as the shared ethos of an organization. It’s the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going and what they’re doing to get it there. Collectively, these traits represent the personality — or culture — of an organization. [source]
Thus, company culture refers to the shared values and behaviors that determine how a business interacts. Culture does not merely encompass business operations, but rather it includes all aspects of a company such as hiring decisions; office arrangements; ethicality and values; and how your employees get along and how they treat customers. While company culture isn’t codified the way rules are set out in an employee handbook, the impact of culture on performance is huge. Moreover, because you can’t hand new employees read the manual to understand how they should act and treat others, as well as engage with the company as they perform their individual duties, employees are left to their own devices and some employees are more adept at navigating the learning process than others when it comes to culture.
Creating and transmitting company culture
Creating a strong company culture doesn’t just happen and deserves careful thought and effort.
Create core values
Determine what is important to your company; what will be rewarded. These values define the company and guide its direction. For instance, Facebook’s core value is BE BOLD, while part of Google’s core values is DON’T BE EVIL. One of the first steps in changing a company’s culture is often changing its values as well as getting rid of people who represent the wrong values, such as Uber did when faced with corporate scandals.
Involve your team
Company culture isn’t something you can mandate, but something arising by consensus of those who work for the company. So, involve them in building your core values and culture goals since they’ll be the ones who embody your company culture.
Follow best practices
First, and foremost, set an example by embodying your culture. Live the culture every day and in every action you take. Ensure others also embody your culture by reinforcing positive actions in support of your culture and providing feedback to those who need some guidance on how to translate culture into action.
Often, new employees are acculturated to the new company by assigning them a mentor who gently guides them as they navigate the new company and its culture.
Benefits of a positive company culture
Vast benefits accrue to organizations that have a positive company culture and do a good job of maintaining that culture over time. Here are some examples:
- Positive company culture helps recruit and retain top talent. Supporting this 66% of job seekers value positive company culture, while employee retention is 40% higher in these companies. This translates into both better performance and lowers costs as training new employees leads to inefficiencies while turnover costs real money for recruiting and onboarding. [source]
- Companies with positive cultures obtain engagement rates among employees that are 72% higher. That translates into a higher performance as engaged employees are better at their jobs, ie more productive (21%, more collaborative, and more innovative than less engaged employees. These firms experience 10% higher customer ratings and 22% greater productivity. [source]
It’s essential to establish a strong company culture to decrease staff turnover and improve your perception amongst the public. There are many ways to improve your company culture.
1. All about the perks
Offering staff perks can help your business achieve loyalty and increase job satisfaction. Importantly, you don’t have to go around handing out bonuses and promotions like Santa at Christmas. An “at a boy” goes a long way to improving moral so recognizing the efforts of employees who act according to tacit company culture ensures that employee and others will work toward repeating the behavior. Other rewards include: assignments to visible projects, appointment as team leader, access to training, even assigning employees as mentors to new hires works as a perk and has the added benefit of translating culture so the new employee understands expectations. You might also offer wellness packages, healthcare plans or free training options. When you invest in training for your employees, you’ll help them to improve their skills and bring more enthusiasm to their role.
These things, in turn, work to improve company culture.
2. Feedback culture
Feedback should be a loop, whereby employees provide feedback on the company’s culture while managers provide feedback on how well the employee is doing with using culture to guide their actions. Aim to hold regular one-to-ones with your staff to gain their overall feedback. Sessions like this are a great way to assess how comfortable staff are within their roles and ask if any further support is needed. Take the opportunity to ask them about their goals, and listen to any suggestions they have to improve the processes that they use. When you ensure that your employees feel valued and listened to you, you’ll improve the atmosphere within your workplace and decrease staff turnover.
Don’t constrain feedback to these periodic one-on-one sessions. Observe employee behaviors and reward positive behaviors when you see them. If possible, ensure others on the team understand why a member was singled out for special recognition and you’ll go a long way toward encouraging the entire team to emulate positive company culture.
3. Improve flexibility
Offering flexibility helps improve both creativity and productivity within a company. To obtain these benefits, provide flexible work hours, allow work-from-home options for employees who can do so, and get creative to allow employees time to take care of necessary responsibilities outside of work. This enhances your company culture.
Sometimes, such flexibility isn’t possible, for instance, businesses like healthcare facilities, factories, and emergency responders must provide coverage 24/7, 365 days a year. Offering pay differentials or other compensation to employees who work less appealing shifts gives employees the flexibility to choose whether they want higher pay or better hours.
A working environment that values freedom promotes innovative ideas.
4. An office revamp
The layout and aesthetics of your office affect the atmosphere more than you’d think. For instance, design a workspace that helps inspire creativity, using space, light, indoor plants, artwork, and varied workspaces.
Also, think about efficiency and collaboration when you design your workspaces. Consider that your staff members have a range of different work styles, so it can be useful to design workspaces that complement everyone’s style. For example, you might provide private booths for those who prefer to work alone and comfortable sofas for those who thrive in a relaxed setting. It’s also essential to create an eco-friendly space using LED lights and using energy-saving appliances as much as possible.
For instance, Google offers all the comforts of home in a space that encourages collaboration. Workspaces are created in pods with desks and seating arranged within the pod. Each pod has a nourishment center, with some featuring fresh foods, drinks, and snacks, while others in small pods have fewer amenities.
5. Social events
Providing social events for your company helps boost morale and consequently improves your company culture. Social events allow your employees to get to know each other outside of work which consequently improves their effectiveness in working together. Whether it’s dinners out, team-building getaways, or even escape rooms, improve the social connections across your company.
Social events or spontaneous social gatherings reduce stress and ease the friction that might arise between members or between teams. Such gatherings support employees in other ways, as well. For instance, many tech firms offer free or reduced-cost lunches that lubricate social relationships while at the same time reducing the stress of shopping and preparing daily lunches. Tech companies are also famous for providing other outlets for stress, such as game rooms, basketball courts, and relaxation pods.
Improving your company culture is a process that can take a little time and effort, but it’s worth it to improve company effectiveness, reduce turnover, higher top talent, and ensure customer satisfaction.
The critical thing to do is to review the values of your company and then create strategies that align with those goals.
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