There’s a lot of talk surrounding the importance of a positive company culture in the business world. However, people often see it as a stylish buzzword created due to millennial expectations of a good work/life balance. Business leaders can make the mistake of thinking a monthly team visit to the pub will resolve a toxic company culture. This article seeks to address what company culture actually is, the profound benefits it can have for your organisation and suggest 15 ways for you to begin creating a healthy company culture.
What is Company Culture?
Company culture, also referred to as organisational culture or corporate culture, can be defined as a set of shared values, goals, beliefs and practices that guide your business and the action of your employees. There is no solid definition of company culture because it is a unique concept for each individual business. It can be seen as the fingerprint of your organisation.
As a business leader you will have created values and goals as soon as your company was born and these will form the foundation of your workplace culture. The culture then develops into the beating heart of your organisation as employees respond and contribute to those core values.
A good company culture should inspire teamwork, collaboration, innovation and a thirst for success.
Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, recognises in her book Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility that “the greatest motivation is contributing to success”.
Why is a Healthy Company Culture so Important for Business Success?
A healthy company culture has profound benefits for your organisation. A report conducted by Breathe HR found that 81% of business leaders recognised that culture drives direct benefits for their organisation.
These are just some of the benefits of a strong corporate culture:
- Attracting talent – company culture is a huge factor for job seekers in today’s market with 66% of millennials putting culture above salary when it comes to job satisfaction.
- Employee retention – once you’ve hired successful staff, your goal is to keep them within the organisation. High turnover often occurs when there is a negative company culture. In fact, a recent survey by Glassdoor found 70% of UK workers would look for a job elsewhere if their company culture deteriorated.
- Increased productivity – happy workers show up consistently, are more engaged with the business, seek to solve problems and as a result contribute more valuable work.
- Improves reputation – negative headlines about toxic company culture and unhappy employees spark discontent amongst your customers.
How to Create a Healthy Company Culture: 15 Steps
It is important to recognise that a healthy company culture is not created overnight. It is ok to make mistakes, take risks and find out what works.
The following 15 suggestions are just some of the ways you can begin to improve your company culture.
Share Your Core Company Values
It’s all well and good to draw up your company values in your mission statement but often they’re then left to sit on a dusty shelf whilst attention is turned to profits. Your values and goals should be regularly shared with the entire team and consistently measured. When everyone understands what is expected of them and are working towards the same goal, engagement and productivity rise as a result.
Hire and Fire Based on Values and Behaviours
Finding candidates with the right skills to perform their job is important but training can always be utilised to fill gaps in knowledge. However, it is much harder to train someone to share your values and required behaviours to fit into your company culture.
Make your values and required behaviours clear during the recruitment process and explore how candidates exhibit these qualities. Consider whether they are the right fit for the team.
Similarly, if a member of staff is failing to adapt to the company culture or creates divides within the team then it is time to consider their place in the organisation.
Encourage a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Modern life can be full of stresses in and outside of the workplace and we are all guilty of failing to strike a healthy balance at times. Employees who are less stressed and happier are likely to perform better at work and concentrate on the task at hand.
The coronavirus pandemic has taught us valuable lessons about the need for flexibility and juggling our work and home life at the same time. Many people have found themselves home schooling alongside tackling the working day.
The Modern Family Index 2020 found that 46% of parents said that work affected their ability to spend time together as a family yet stated family was their number one priority.
Employers should be mindful of encouraging flexible working opportunities and highlighting the importance of leisure time to avoid stress and employee burnout.
Improve Communication and Collaboration in the Workplace
Employees can be left feeling like a cog in a machine without really understanding the bigger picture. Encouraging communication across all levels and departments ensures everyone has a shared goal, understands their role and wants to collaborate to be successful. Staff should be given the opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback regularly.
Bring More Compassion to the Workplace
A survey conducted by Liberty Mind found that a shocking 83% of employees had been made to feel guilty for taking time off for a major life event.
As an employer it is important to show you care, offer understanding and seek to help employees in need. Workplace compassion increases loyalty, engagement, productivity and trust.
Make Work Fun
No one wants to dread going to work on a Monday morning. Whilst it’s not all about adding slides and TVs to the workplace, a boring work environment can stifle innovation and creativity. People who are bored at work are less likely to be productive and are more likely to seek a job elsewhere.
Recognise and Reward Employee Achievements
Everyone responds well to praise and we crave appreciation for hard work. A simple thank you or a small token of appreciation in the workplace improves productivity, boosts happiness and creates loyalty.
Research shows 42% of employees say receiving greater recognition for their work would make them happier in 2021.
Invest in Employee Health and Wellbeing
Healthy and happy employees are key to the success of the company. Toxic workplace culture can profoundly affect employees’ physical and mental health. It is vital to be mindful of stress and employee burnout which can lead to increased sickness absence, a drop-in productivity and a lack of loyalty.
Employee wellness programmes can be a great way to improve happiness, reduce absenteeism and boost productivity.
Involve Employees in Decision Making
Staff who are involved in decision making feel trusted and a valuable asset to the team. They are much more likely to work hard when they feel their contributions have a positive impact.
A collaborative team who make decisions together can spark better ideas and innovative ways to problem solve. Your staff are in the perfect position to help you improve as they often work more closely with your product and customer so they’ve seen first-hand what works well and what doesn’t.
Avoid Micromanaging Your Team
Micromanaging can demoralise your employees, result in frustration and mistrust and can even limit their creativity. Furthermore, if their work is always being watched and scrutinised they may lack the confidence to suggest ideas and make decisions which could have benefited the business.
When we are ordered what to do we begin to lack motivation. Whereas when we make decisions and feel like we are part of the bigger picture we will go the extra mile to ensure success.
Promote Transparency in the Workplace
Don’t sugar-coat company problems and hide them from your employees. Being transparent creates trust and your team will be willing to support the company through its challenging periods when they are well informed. Employees can also assist in the problem-solving process and provide suggestions to tackle issues.
The trust process works both ways and employees will feel confident to bring problems to attention swiftly to prevent further mistakes being made.
Communicating news immediately also prevents workplace gossip and miscommunication.
Combat Negativity in the Workplace
Negativity in the workplace can spread quickly throughout the team, affecting engagement and productivity. One negative situation or person can affect the mood of the entire team.
If a negative team member is unable to adapt to the positive company culture then it may be time to re-evaluate their role in the organisation.
Get to Know Your Team
It’s common, particularly in a large business, to barely know the name of the new intern. However, good leaders know that people are what make up a business. You need your employees to trust and respect you and come to you with their problems.
Knowing how your team thinks and what they value is hugely important to the success of your workplace. So, don’t just nod at the new employee at the coffee station next time, ask them questions and invite them to feel part of the company culture.
Promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Equality and diversity should not be a tick box exercise to keep up appearances and look good to the outside world. There are many benefits to having a diverse team and these should be understood and utilised to create a healthy company culture.
A successful organisation should be made up of people who all bring different skills and experience to the table. Discriminating based on gender, ethnicity or disability may result in losing potential talent. A report by McKinsey called ‘Delivering Through Diversity’ found that companies with the most ethnically diverse teams are 33% more likely to outperform their peers on profitability.
Offer Training and Professional Development Opportunities
A healthy company culture should encourage growth and personal development. Employees should be given opportunities to better their skills and further their career.
Employees who lack progression begin to feel bored and unfulfilled, adversely affecting the workplace culture.
Help Create a Healthier Company Culture
Company culture is much more than a fashionable buzzword. At Awardaroo, we believe employees should be at the core of your business and therefore fostering a healthy culture is integral to success. There are many benefits for your organisation, from attracting and retaining talent to boosting workplace productivity and efficiency. By implementing these 15 ways to create a healthy company culture, you should begin to see positive results for your business.