Since employees spend at least forty hours per week on the job, it’s a given that a company’s culture significantly affects their professional and personal lives.
A good work environment doesn’t fill employees with a sense of dread when they get into their vehicles to commute, but rather something they look forward to. While the work itself may be a bit challenging, the company culture should put any added stress on employees under any circumstances.
Instead, company culture should be designed to reduce work-related stress while acting as a recruiting tool to help attract new talent and reduce staff turnover. It’s no secret why the world’s most successful companies also earn their employees’ loyalty and love.
But what exactly is company culture?
Company culture refers to the behaviors and attitudes of a company and its employees. It’s evident in how an organization’s staff interact with each other, the values they hold, and the decisions they make.
Good company culture makes happy employees, and when employees are feel good, they are more productive. Productivity equals more sales, which means more revenue pouring into the business. Knowing this, why would anyone not want to prioritize company culture?
Company culture is established with consideration and conscious intent towards the employees and is built slowly over time. It’s not just a quick decision or a big list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts.’ It takes patience, hard work, and dedication.
Interested in improving your company from the inside out? Below are five strategies for creating a strong company culture:
Establish A Culture Of Trust
Do your employees trust they can have an honest discussion with management without fear of repercussions? Or that private conversations will remain private? When an employee promises a deliverable by a certain date and time, is there zero doubt they’ll get it done?
These are all examples of trust – something that forms the foundation of a healthy workplace. We all learned the hard way that once trust is broken, it is very challenging to repair, which is why this is so crucial in business.
- Low-trust work environments:
Typically suffer from intense micromanagement and drama. When things don’t go according to plan, employees may resort to finger-pointing or use phrases like “I told you so.” In low-trust work environments, co-workers carry grudges or worry that others will take undue credit for their work because there simply is no trust.
- In high-trust environments:
Employees aren’t afraid to speak their minds, talk straightforwardly, and constructively confront real issues. Managers embrace new ideas, and generally view mistakes as part of the learning process. In this type of positive environment, there is a high degree of accountability. Employees are willing to ask for help when they need it, and they happily share the credit.
Truly Care About Your Team
It’s difficult for workers to care about the company culture if the company doesn’t care about them. It also doesn’t benefit a company to have a leader who only makes decisions based on their own benefit. Too often, self-interest and greed overpower the team’s well-being, leading to disorganized operations and grudges.
Make an effort to show your staff that you care about them and appreciate their efforts. Without them, your company wouldn’t be where it is today! You have your team’s hard work, productivity, and consistency to thank for the business’s ongoing progress.
To improve company culture, it’s important to focus on your team’s overall well-being and ensure they have the resources required to succeed. This could mean giving them software to improve their sales or providing them with a great Memory Foam Seat Cushion and Back Cushion from Everlasting Comfort for extra support as they work.
Listen to your employees so they know you truly care about them and frequently ask for their feedback so you know where everyone stands and can make improvements where needed.
Don’t Mistake Perks For Culture
Foosball tables, essential oil diffusers, free coffee, and snacks are all examples of perks, but these trinkets shouldn’t be confused with culture. Don’t get us wrong, perks are nice, but is that foosball table going to be the thing that motivates your employees to wake up, come to the office, and do their very best work every day? Probably not.
A great company culture gives employees a genuine sense of excitement, meaning, and passion for their work. That simply can’t be accomplished with perks alone. Companies that make this mistake will find it difficult to keep talented employees around long-term and spend excessive money and time dealing with high turnover rates.
Reward In Public, Coach In Private
Another key to instilling a strong company culture is to recognize and reward top performers. These recognition programs and rewards don’t have to be anything fancy. A simple in-person acknowledgment or company-wide email can be highly motivating – and of course, a cash bonus wouldn’t hurt either!
While the benefits of rewarding top performers are quite obvious (e.g., the feeling of doing fulfilling work and motivation), there are two sides to every coin.
If there are exemplary performers, there will inevitably be underperformers. While manager interventions and coaching sessions can help, there is a right and wrong way to do them.
Unfortunately, not all line managers are aware that one-on-one performance discussions should be done very discreetly. Why? Because nothing will kill employee motivation and harm company culture faster than embarrassing an employee in front of his or her co-workers.
An overload of negative criticism does nothing but incite fear in employees – something you do not want when aiming to build a strong company culture.
Always make sure that supervisors and managers know the proper protocols regarding coaching and training their staff. And keep in mind that fear never helped establish a great company culture. Trust us on this one.
Stick To Your Core Values
The most reliable way to judge someone’s disposition is to see if their actions and words align. Integrity is a great measure of an individual’s character – and it’s what should define your company too.
Ask yourself – does your company actually ‘walk the talk?’ Or is everything written on your website’s mission statement and posted on the company’s walls just ‘talk’?
When creating a strong company culture, you need to be sure that you are always sticking to your company’s core values. Even if you’re trying to push for change in the workplace, your core values are the ones that should always remain constant. Remember that culture distinguishes you from other businesses and maintains key competitive advantages.
If you value transparency, you need to practice open, honest communication whenever possible. The same goes for rewarding teamwork, hard work, and being open to feedback. The best way to establish a strong company culture is to have everyone embody the same core values.
Creating a strong company culture is important, and arguably one of the most significant components of a thriving business. Both small and large corporations benefit from having a good culture in the workplace. Here are some of the benefits:
- Increased Employee Retention. When employees are excited about their daily responsibilities at work, they are less likely to resign or quit for another job offer. The cost of losing a good employee varies depending on their position and pay from 16% to 216% of their salary. Work to combat turnover, and you can save between $3,000 to $8,000 per employee earning $50,000 or less.
- Improves Brand Reputation. The way your community views your business has the power to catapult you to more sales. Strong company culture creates a buzz about your business in the community, and when this buzzis positive, it will naturally attract customers and benefit your bottom line.
- Recruit Better Talent. Intentionally creating a strong company culture that cares about employees and their opinion makes outsiders want to be part of your organization. When the time comes to bring on more staff, you’ll find it’s much easier to attract quality talent. With more positive, hard-working employees on board, the benefits will compound over time.
- Better-Decision-Making. Strong company culture includes a well-defined vision, mission, and corporate values, simplifying the decision-making process. When there is a question, any employee can find the answer within these terms. This accelerates problem-solving and promotes a more efficient, dynamic working environment for all.
- Bigger Bottom Line. Since businesses exist to make a profit, it’s important to look at the tangible impact of culture on your company finances. Combining all of these benefits listed above increases sales and decreases expenses on several levels, which results in more profit for your business.
A strong culture builds an enjoyable, encouraging, and inspiring work environment that everybody wants to be a part of – but this doesn’t happen overnight. Help make your employees happy and comfortable by following these strategies listed above.
Interesting Related Article: “Recognizing Employees Can Improve Your Business’ Culture And Atmosphere“