Establishing a strong company culture takes more than hiring the appropriate people or creating attractive core values; it requires engagement by all levels of an organization in making those values tangible.
Employees want to feel valued for the hard work they put in, and an effective company culture provides avenues for doing just that.
1. Shared Purpose
An organized company culture begins with shared purpose. It defines values for the organization, drives employee motivation and performance, and helps employees understand how their job fits into the bigger picture.
Your team members will respond more readily to change when there is a clear shared purpose for their work, seeing it as an opportunity to realize their personal visions while using their skills toward reaching that goal.
An aligned goal not only helps your team members with their work, but it can also contribute to creating an enjoyable culture and increasing productivity – meaning fewer employee turnover issues, reduced absenteeism rates and on-time deliveries for your company.
Sit down with your leadership team and create a list of company values, then set goals that align with these. For instance, if sustainability and transparency are core principles within your company’s values, try setting an employee goal such as, “Each employee will strive to meet or surpass our sustainability goals by 2020”. This will give employees something tangible they can rally behind while simultaneously increasing employee engagement at work.
2. Open Communication
Open communication between employees is key to building a vibrant company culture, from their work activities or anything bothering them, all the way back through hiring. And this should be reinforced consistently and intentionally throughout each employee’s tenure with us.
Employees need to feel psychologically safe in order to express any issues without judgment or shame being met with. When people don’t voice concerns openly, the problems fester further and may derail a company’s development.
One way to foster this is by offering always-on idea channels, like an ideas group or thread on your internal messaging platform, or regularly scheduling brainstorm sessions. Another is training employees in active listening so they can understand and respect diverse opinions without interrupting or judging others. You can further encourage this by reminding employees it is okay to admit when they make mistakes and learn from these errors rather than brush them under the carpet.
3. Invest in Your People
Employees in an ideal company culture can identify the core values of the organization and witness how those values are being lived out every day, whether that means something as straightforward as sustainability and transparency or more complex like kindness and equity.
Employees who feel connected to their company’s vision, values, and mission tend to feel motivated and engaged at work. They want to belong to a team that appreciates and respects them for what they contribute.
Successful companies also acknowledge that employee needs and motivations change over time, so leaders should provide opportunities for learning and development to ensure employees remain satisfied in their roles.
Leaders can foster an inclusive work environment by offering services such as mental health and wellbeing training, flexible working arrangements and an anonymous tip box.
4. Reward Your Employees
As we discuss company culture, the phrase “strong and supportive workplace culture” often brings up flashy work perks such as free lunches, dog-friendly offices and unlimited vacation days – but a strong and supportive workplace culture is about more than this; it’s about how your people are seen and heard by management, how management treats them as individuals and how employees interact among themselves.
Great cultures embrace diversity of both people and ideas. They foster engagement by encouraging employees to participate in team-building events or community outreach projects, rewarding those who embrace their values with public recognition at meetings or special awards.
As part of an effective workplace culture, providing opportunities for growth is also critical – both in terms of gaining new skills and professional development. This may involve hosting an informal lunch-and-learn, or more involved leadership courses, but remembering your team members want to expand just as much as you do is paramount – they may even be looking for more fulfilling career paths – ignoring them could cost your organization some truly exceptional talent!