A strong company culture is the combination of attitudes and behaviors of your employees. It has the biggest impact on the company’s success, yet it is the one often given the least attention. By investing time and energy into building a strong company culture, you’re ultimately crafting the driving force behind your company’s success. Here is what it takes to get started.
Which company culture will you choose?
Company culture is not created by having a ‘casual Friday’ or ‘donut Monday.’ A company’s culture reflects an overall organizational attitude that has an effect at all levels of work performance and employee decision-making.
When envisioning your company culture, what do you think it will be? Here are a few of the most common company cultures:
- Work environment: Friendly. Similar to a large family.
- Values: Loyalty and tradition.
- Leaders: Mentors- mother and father figures.
- Success is defined by: Addressing the needs of the clients and caring for people.
- Promotes: Teamwork and participation.
- Work environment: Dynamic, innovative and creative.
- Values: Experimentation
- Leaders: Risk-takers and innovators.
- Success is defined by: New products/services.
- Promotes: Individual initiative and freedom
- Work environment: Results based. The main focus is finishing work on time and getting things done.
- Values: Winning, meeting goals, and competition. Reputation and success.
- Leaders: Hard drivers, producers, and rivals all at the same time.
- Success is defined by: Market penetration and stocks.
- Promotes: Competition.
- Work environment: Formalized and structured work environment.
- Values: Organization, efficiency, formal rules, and policy.
- Leaders: Are proud of their efficiency-based coordination and organization.
- Success is defined by: Trustful delivery, smooth planning, and low costs
- Promotes: Stability, results, and efficient execution of tasks.
Trust your employees
Trust is everything for the prosperity of the company. And, if you really want to create an excellent company culture, trust your employees. Let them work in their own way. Trust them to find a way that works best for them. These efforts lead to employees feeling empowered to do their job without needless restrictions. Employees tend to take more pride in their work when you don’t micromanage. That personal connection with the job often produces higher quality work, a happier employee, and great company culture.
Build trust from the inside is by focusing on the bond that your employees share. This can be done by hosting events that are just for them. You want your team to walk away from an event feeling closer to each other and even more connected to your brand.
Organizational transparency keeps your team in the loop. Establish transparency by introducing all the metrics of the company and the business to employees. This gives employees a chance to know more about its mission and values, as well as the strategies that have been put in place at various levels. It also allows employees to share their ideas freely on how they want the business to grow. To further build transparency, companies should organize regular meetings where everyone comes together and shares ideas. Give your employees the freedom of asking questions as well as putting into consideration their comments and feedback.
Rules and Regulations
As a company, you must have clear guidelines and policies. Some say that rules were meant to be broken, but as a company, you should never allow this. Employees should always follow a dress code, language, scheduled hours, etc. Set rules and make sure that they are followed. As the company owner, don’t place yourself above the rules, but instead, encourage employees to follow your lead.
Taking care of your employees’ welfare should be part of the company’s culture. When you take care of your team, they are more motivated to work and deliver than a neglected team. Let your employees know that you care and they will rise above and beyond to your expectations.
Amazon and Google aren’t just online giants — they each have an incredible company culture. Google is especially well-known for having a headquarters where there is a climbing wall, restaurants, and even a bowling alley! Also, Amazon’s Seattle office features decorations with tons of art, restaurants, and hangout space for coworkers to mingle. As you can see, both companies are great examples of incorporating fun into the workplace. Of course, you don’t need to go to that extreme. Just emphasize positivist, creativity, and fun every chance you get!
Customers appreciate amazing company cultures
Does a company’s culture truly matter that much to customers? Do they actually pay attention to this? The answer is yes. Yes, they do.
Good cultures are not created overnight and they absolutely require top-down involvement. This doesn’t mean a memo from the CEO telling people what the culture is but the CEO visibly living it and leading by example.
Take a look at popular businesses and brands that are ranking well with consumers these days. It’s not just about the price, quality, or value. It’s about something deeper. People want to buy from companies that treat their employees well, love their company cultures, and have fun with consumers in some way.
Company culture and employee retention
It is no secret that company culture goes hand in hand with employee retention. According to Engagedly, employee retention is related to their overall happiness and satisfaction at work. Many employers think that keeping employees happy means offering expensive perks and benefits packages. While those certainly don’t hurt, a company’s culture can surpass eye-catching benefits.
Having a terrific company culture, creating a great environment for them to work in is often just as, if not more, important.
Create a great working space
Let’s face it modern/trendy and open workspaces leave us in awe. We think to ourselves, ‘Gosh it would be so cool to work there.’ There’s even a level of excitement at the start of your day when you walk into a great work space. Especially when compared to a bland and dry white-walls and cubicle office layout. Your office design speaks volumes about company culture. It’s either friendly, open, and energizing, or stagnant, boring, and uninviting.
One way to create an inviting company culture and increasing retention is to create a great workspace. According to Madison Square Portfolio, employee morale is impacted by lighting, room colors, and space. But, before you go wild with new decorations, walls and flooring, ask your employees for input on what they want. Although open floor plans save money and space, people still need privacy. Too much privacy affects collaboration, so try to find a balance between the two.
Consider tuition reimbursement
Big businesses and organizations are pulling out the big guns when it comes to employee retention and candidate attention. Not only do they offer substantially impressive benefits and extra paid time off, but now they’re offering tuition reimbursement. Whether it’s as low as $100 a month or $1,000 a year, any assistance with student loans will be extremely appealing to your current and potential employees.
If you want to increase retention and add another advantage to your company culture, you may need to re-look at your benefits plan. If you can financially afford it, offer some sort of tuition reimbursement plan for your employees.
Company examples of tuition reimbursement:
- Abbott: offers employees a new student loan/401(k) program.
- Penguin Random House: offers full-time employees who’ve been with the publisher for at least one year are entitled to up to $1,200 per year for their student loans.
- Aetna: offers tuition reimbursement and student loan repayment with an offer of $2,000 per year and a lifetime maximum of $10,000 for full-time employees, and $1,000 per year and a lifetime maximum of $5,000 for part-time employees.
Toxic Company Culture
A toxic company culture often leads to low retention rates. If your business is an unpleasant place to work, you won’t attract or retain top talent. The people who do stay will be unproductive, dissatisfied, and stressed. Prevent this from happening by noticing the signs.
- Competition Centered: Healthy competition inspires people to work harder and increases productivity. The problem is that many workplaces that promote a competitive atmosphere don’t realize there is a difference. In fact, a competitive atmosphere may be unhealthy. And, an unhealthy atmosphere leads to a toxic company culture.
- Hierarchy Is King: Looking down on the people you’re responsible for can contribute to a toxic company culture. A good business will promote a culture that looks beyond job titles. Employees from all departments can approach management with thoughts, ideas, and concerns in the most successful organizations. They aren’t afraid to talk or work with people ‘above’ them in the hierarchy.
- No Communication Between Silos: Organizations that don’t encourage communication between different departments are going to be subpar at best. Different departments shouldn’t neglect everyone else. Instead create teams that intentionally incorporate people from different departments. Try to put people in a situation where they must work together.
- Drama Kings And Queen: These individuals gossip behind everyone’s back. They create conflicts where there are none, and step on their colleagues to get ahead. Nip this kind of behavior in the bud, otherwise, you become complicit. Start with talking to the problem employees one-on-one and document each encounter. Find out the root cause for their behavior and attitude.
- No One Is Accountable: One of the quickest ways to derail your business is by not holding everyone to the same standards. Every worker, from the greenest intern all the way up to the CEO, is expected to pull their weight.
At the end of the day, the lines between company culture and employee retention are fusing together. They are virtually becoming one in the eye of the employee and consumer. That gives businesses of any size a huge opportunity—if they’re willing to take it.