Company culture is described as a set of shared values, beliefs and behaviors within a workplace. And it is often seen as one of the most important factors that help job candidates take up an offer. Being a good fit for the company (not just based on competencies and experience, but also on views and attitudes), seems to be the most important reason people work for a company these days.
In fact, company culture is an important factor for 46% of job seekers. A staggering 86% of people avoid companies with a bad reputation, and millennials, in particular, see being a people and culture fit as their top priority in job hunting.
So, making people feel like they belong should be an important company goal. Yet, culture isn’t an easily measurable metric. Many companies seem to equate culture with bonuses, gadgets in the offices and health or fitness packages.
But no matter what kind of bonus you wave in front of them, if employees don’t feel respected and empowered, as well as a part of the whole, there is no successful company culture that you’re nurturing.
In this article, we’ll help you understand how your team members can feel like they are part of a working culture that shares a set of values, and how it can improve your retention and hiring processes in the long term.
Create a healthy working environment
You'll have a lot of trouble creating a strong corporate culture if your employees don’t feel healthy.
Your staff should be in good physical, mental, and emotional condition. Why? Because they are the backbone of your business, and achieving your goals would be a pipe dream without them.
As a manager, you must provide as many resources, tools, and on-site opportunities as possible for your staff to live their healthiest lives—both inside and outside the office.
Always be on the lookout for new ways to reduce employee stress and negativity so that they can work more efficiently.
Adopt a common goal everyone can be happy to work for
By setting goals and values for the company, you help all the employees be on the same page and understand why they do what they do.
However, it shouldn’t all be just about the gain and wellbeing of the company as an organization. Instead, set tasks that show the human side of their job.
For example, helping pair the best software developers and great companies is a value I appreciate and love in Proxify. Helping talented professionals find employment that doesn’t constrict them to the borders of their country—even more so.
That is a value and a goal that everyone in the company shares and works towards achieving. At the same time, respecting and nurturing diversity, transparency, inventiveness and teamwork make me like this work even better. And that is a goal that I, as an employee, like to strive for in a company.
If you only set goals such as “go beyond last month’s profits” or “lock in 20 new clients”, it will help put things in perspective, but it only focuses on the benefits or the company, not the people that make it tick. Those should be the key performance indicators, and not necessarily the main goals and values.
Share your values with everyone
A company's values are, as we stated, an important aspect of its culture. They are an organization's main pillars, guiding everyone toward long-term objectives. Your corporate values can provide remote employees with a clear understanding of how the company runs, resulting in a great work environment for all.
Include your company's core principles on the website, and conduct interview questions targeting the company values from the very beginning of your working relationships: the job interview. You can also provide frequent updates to staff on how company principles are incorporated into daily operations.
Company leaders should also adhere to fundamental company principles and urge the staff to provide constructive feedback rather than pinpoint the employees’ mistakes and make them learn from the leaders in order to improve their performance.
Clearly define job positions and everyday tasks
The clearer everyone’s position and responsibilities are, the easier it is for everyone to fall in the right place. By creating hybrid positions that are confusing not only for the employees themselves but also for their colleagues that aren’t sure who does what—you create a possibility of a lack of teamwork and leadership in the working environment.
Employees might become confused as to who they should turn to in a specific situation or which question should be directed to whom. This can create lesser productivity, bottlenecks and frustration.
At the same time, without giving them a particular responsibility (or rather, limit their responsibilities), you might run the risk of them feeling like they do more than what they’re paid for. And this can, in the long run, affect their overall satisfaction with their workplace.
Organize community initiatives
Even in corporate culture, bonding with coworkers over a common initiative can be a good opportunity for improving the company spirit. It could be anything: from a food drive or planting trees to doing community work or inspiring everyone in the office to recycle and reuse.
This is also a way to make sure your company brings some value to the community, and by giving something back, your employees will feel a sense of pride and belonging towards a company that does well for people.
Invest in your employees and support their growth
A great leadership style is one that empathizes with people’s struggles and efforts to be better at what they do. By offering learning opportunities and supporting your employees’ ideas for visiting industry events (or even doing some courses that might help them take their expertise to the next level), you could become that extra support that they need.
Chances are, they will use their newly acquired skills and knowledge exactly at your workplace. It is a long-term investment when you support your employees to learn more.
Check the employee satisfaction
You can keep guessing if your employees are satisfied with their job, or you can just ask them!
Employee satisfaction is a huge metric for the health and wellbeing, as well as longevity of a company. A perennial turnover of employees is not only bad for the work atmosphere, but it is extremely expensive in the long run.
So, whenever you evaluate the work of your employees, flip the script a bit and ask them what you could improve as management. Everyone understands that an employer is not a Genie, but giving them a relaxed environment and appreciating their opinions are going to make them heard and understood.
Create an employee engagement strategy
A report by Gallup shows that companies with a high level of employee engagement have a 21 percent higher profit margin. They are also 17 percent more productive than businesses with disengaged staff.
Employees that are engaged are more likely to accomplish duties on schedule and do it successfully, as well as go above and beyond to achieve their goals and objectives. They are more adept at satisfying the needs of customers, resulting in increased sales and profits.
On the other side of the coin, companies in the United States lose between 450 and 550 billion dollars per year owing to disengaged workers.
Low productivity, errors while working, missed deadlines, poor customer service, and fewer earnings are all consequences of employees' lack of desire and sense of responsibility. For every 10.000 dollars in wages, a single disengaged employee can cost a company 3.400 dollars in lost productivity.
So, employee engagement is majorly contributing to the overall success and satisfaction of a workplace. If you don’t have any tactics around solving this, you might want to start drafting a strategy.
Host team-building events
Team building can also be very useful to help your employees see that, at the end of the day, their coworkers and managers are just—regular people.
Doing a fun activity outside of the office premises and work hours can help turn coworkers into friends. Whether it is a weekend camping trip, an escape room, book club, doing sports together, or just visiting a non-work-related dinner, all of these events can help people feel closer to each other.
This gives people the opportunity to either feel closer by doing something important together, or to be put in a position to get to know each other and learn about another colleague’s hobbies.
Don’t forget the power of a face-to-face meeting
We are so swept by the comfort of an online meeting and remote working, that we often forget how important it is to have a tête-à-tête once in a while.
All the Zoom fatigue and dehumanization of seeing people only behind a screen doesn’t help to get a sense of belonging. So, if possible, try to meet your employees in person as much as you can. This is a bit hard to pull off for fully-remote companies, but a single trip to your headquarters can help your employees feel a real sense of belonging in the workplace.