Companies with impressive employee retention rates and high employee satisfaction levels all have one thing in common – they understand the importance of a strong workplace culture. They also know that you must really invest in your people if you want to get the best out of them.
A poor workplace culture could actually end up costing an employer money, as it could result in absenteeism, employee stress, poor health and a high turnover of staff. So, working hard to achieve a good culture is not only beneficial for those you employ, it’s also good for the productivity of your business.
These things are easy to talk about, but often less easy to achieve. So, what does a good company culture actually look like?
Vision: A great culture starts with a vision or mission statement. These simple turns of phrase guide a company’s values and provide it with purpose. That purpose, in turn, should aid every decision made. A vision or mission statement is a simple but foundational element of culture.
Values: A company’s values are the core of its culture. While a vision articulates a company’s purpose, values offer a set of guidelines on the behaviors and mindsets needed to achieve that vision.
Practices: Of course, values are of little importance unless they are enshrined in a company’s practices. If an organisation professes, “people are our greatest asset,” it should also be ready to invest in people in visible ways.
People: No company can build a coherent culture without people who either share its core values or possess the willingness and ability to embrace those values.
Aside from salary and pension schemes, increasingly employees are attracted by ‘lifestyle benefits’ that respond to their personal circumstances and aid a healthier work/life balance. These can include things like flexi-time working, work-from-home options and study days.
Opportunities & Personal Development
Is there a culture of developing and growing talent internally in your organisation? It’s important for an employee to feel that their company is investing in their future and supporting their personal and professional growth. This could be through mentoring schemes or training days.
A good balance of social interaction alongside business activity is good for morale. A healthy calendar of social events outside of the office can help instigate inter-team bonding as well as creating a buoyant atmosphere.
Open door policy
Employers need to create an open culture that allows employees at every level to share their ideas, suggestions and concerns. With structured feedback strategies in place, employers can then monitor employee satisfaction levels and help alleviate issues as they arise.
Recognition – no matter how small
Alongside the more traditional benefits, employees usually respond well to other smaller, more personalised perks and gestures to say ‘thank you’ – such as free breakfast, early Friday finish
This applies to the innovative ways in which the company conducts business, but also the way it engages with its staff. Is your company striving to be a thought-leader in its sector? Do employees have the chance to attend industry events to keep up with the latest trends and advancements in their field? Do they feel able to incorporate new ideas and technology into their work?
Committed leadership & leading by example
A great workplace needs buy-in from all team members – but particularly from those at management level. Clear, committed and inclusive leadership will be an essential component in maintaining a great company culture. Make sure the leaders in your organisation understand the culture and are able to effectively communicate and uphold it.
In my experience managers / leaders must be prepared to ‘get stuck in’ when needed.
There are other factors that influence culture. But these components can provide a firm foundation for shaping a culture and identifying and understanding them more fully in an existing organisation can be the first step to revitalizing or reshaping a culture in a company looking for change.