The idea of developing a strong company culture has gained traction over the last several years. While shifting focus to culture and employee satisfaction has been an overall positive development, too many executives and companies are still doing it all wrong. Here are a few ways you can develop a positive company culture:
1. Go beyond socializing
In some circles, the term "company culture" has become a synonym for "good work parties." If this sounds familiar, it's time to reevaluate. A great holiday party and after-work drinks foster camaraderie and the sense that managers want employees to unwind and enjoy each other's company, but that's not enough.
Once the free drinks wear off, what are those same employees left with? If it's a grueling schedule or a company fraught with internal disorganization and a lack of transparency, then there's far more work to be done.
2. Focus on work-life balance
Employee wellness isn't just about getting the office to participate in a 5K race or putting healthy snacks in the communal kitchen. Work-life balance is essential to creating a culture in which employees feel their overall wellness is valued.
Burnout is a real problem in the workplace, and it can be at least in part attributed to an emphasis on a 24-hour work day.
Burnout is a real problem in the workplace, and it can be at least in part attributed to an emphasis on a 24-hour work day. At many companies it's de rigueur to respond to emails well into the evening hours and on weekends. If that's the case in your office, consider that there may be another way.
In France, for example, a new law went into effect in 2017 that grants French workers at companies with more than 50 people the "right to disconnect." The law requires businesses set hours during which employees cannot send emails.
It may be unthinkable to disconnect so thoroughly, but the difference between an employee staying at a company happily for years and a high burnout and turnover rate may be as simple as giving employees the freedom to disconnect from their job on a regular basis.
3. Offer feedback
No one likes operating in the dark, but that's how some employees feel when they aren't given consistent feedback throughout their work tenure. This is an issue that can be clearly and concretely addressed by utilizing new methods of review and feedback. Setting objectives and key results and monitoring these regularly can help give staff direction in their work.
Utilize OKR software to help employees set goals and to improve the feedback structure at your company. BetterWorks software can help you not only set goals for employees, but follow up on these objectives daily or weekly, rather than annually. Catch up on what employees are working on and give them praise when they complete tasks effectively.
Hold in-person reviews and meetings more frequently, too. Look at these meetings as not only an opportunity for you to gauge employee progress, but to listen to staff members. They may be able to see issues you can't from your managerial perspective. By offering more regular input and welcoming feedback from your staff, you can foster a sense of community and understanding with your teams.
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4. Improve transparency
It's not enough for management to know what's going on at their company. Employees who feel out of the loop may feel uneasy and unsettled at work as they're unsure of the future of their company.
If your organization will be undergoing any shifts in policy or procedure, clearly articulate these changes to your employees. Hold company-wide meetings to announce large changes, encourage staff to ask questions and send follow-up emails with each of these adjustments spelled out in clear terms. This will give individuals the opportunity to review this information at their own pace and then approach their supervisors with any questions or concerns they may have.
A monthly or quarterly staff newsletter can also help improve transparency. You can include major shifts in policy and practices in these newsletters, as well as any promotions, upcoming events or examples of outstanding work from your staff.
5. Recognize and reward
A study conducted by Glassdoor found that 80 percent of employees surveyed said they're inspired to produce better work when they feel recognized for their efforts. This comes in stark contrast to the 40 percent who said they feel motivated by demanding supervisors and a fear of losing their job.
Recognition and reward also has an effect on employee retention and reduces turnover, the same study found. More than half of respondents said they would be more likely to stay in their current position if they felt more appreciated at work.
The good news is that you can start implementing recognition and reward systems right away. You can start with OKR and performance management software to track and recognize the good work your employees are doing.
Then you can supplement with small rewards to show staff you much you appreciate their hard work. The survey showed 46 percent of employees would feel more satisfied by being recognized with something as small as a team lunch paid for by the company, thank-you notes or other positive rewards.
Include staff accomplishments in company-wide newsletters or emails, go up to a team member and congratulate them in person on landing a deal instead of sending a generic email, or simply thank a team member for their hard work when you see them going the extra mile.
Fostering a sense of appreciation is central to creating a strong company culture that will help you reduce turnover and make the office a much better place to work.