Defining corporate culture is not easy. This article could be an entire abstract attempting to figure out the amalgamation of things that make up culture. It is not that, nor will it be that. There’s one thing we all know, corporate culture is crucial.
To try and make things simple. A company’s culture is the beliefs both owners and employees operate by. It is their moral orientation, the idea of business practices and work ethics. The easiest way to put it is “It’s the way they do things.”
Culture is becoming more pivotal for businesses in 2022. Not only does a strong and positive culture affect current employees, but it is a top priority for new ones, too. TeamStage has stated that company culture is important for 46% of job seekers.
- Benefits of a Strong Corporate Culture
- Establishing Corporate Culture Comes From You
- Prioritize Employee Wellness
- Hire for Corporate Culture
- Positivity and Empowerment
- Establish a Work Strategy
- Build off Current Corporate Culture
- Accountability Is Key
- Interact and Open Up
- Calculate Causation
- Reiterate and Adapt
Benefits of a Strong Corporate Culture
Employees want to work in a positive environment. It’s as simple as that. Workers want to be valued and know that the company’s views align with their own.
We live in a job market where employees have the power. The change has begun. They know their worth and want to see it come to fruition. They want inclusivity and respect. Having a strong culture alleviates those concerns.
Not only do strong working values help current employees, but it also sells potential employees.
Showing a candidate that your workplace is positive, can be a second home and respects their values will give you a competitive edge over other companies.
Loyalty and Hard Work
Employees want to work harder for companies that care about them. They want to work things out if problems arise. Feeling like a family and feeling appreciated only improves employee morale.
No one wants to report to a job that spikes anxiety. Having a positive culture, allowing for a safe space and communication, helps reduce stress. When an employee can speak openly about their issues without backlash, they are more likely to do so.
We all want to be comfortable.
Establishing Corporate Culture Comes From You
We can launch into a list of things you can do to establish a great company culture, but the one thing that cannot be taught (or overlooked) is genuine. You must truly believe in inclusivity and respect your employees to establish a real culture.
You can fake sincerity, but the truth will always shine through. Culture starts from the top. It starts with you.
If you require an Ebenezer Scrooge-esque moral turnaround, your company will know it. They will feel it. You have to walk the talk, or whatever they say. You have to practice what you preach.
The most important key to creating an ideal work environment is to listen. It’s that easy! Next step.
Jokes aside, the easiest and most effective way to establish a great working environment is to listen to your employees. No, this doesn’t mean you have to implement all of their ideas or pacify all of their concerns (though fruit punch in the water cooler is still a great idea) but at least take them into consideration.
After all, we are all humans, so we should be treated as such. Great leaders listen to concerns. They compromise and show genuine care.
Prioritize Employee Wellness
Look, mental health and wellness have been pushed to the forefront of employee concerns over the last few years. We are leaving a pandemic in which people were forced to be alone. We’ve all been a bit traumatized. We all have reevaluated how well we should take care of ourselves.
Along with listening to your employees, put their wellness first. Yes, productivity is important, but allowing workers to express and increase their mental health will only lead to more productivity.
If an employee needs a mental health day, it may mess up your production for the day. But, the employee will come back working harder and more energized. They will also be more likely to want to work for you.
As stated, we are all people. Sometimes we need help or an ear to bend towards us. Leaders should make sure that the corporate culture benefits their mental health instead of decreasing it.
Things like parental leave, bereavement leave and open conversations should be available, always.
Hire for Corporate Culture
Sure, culture comes from the top, but you must have employees that fit and exemplify the culture, too. If your business is just starting out or is making an overhaul in culture, make sure to hire candidates that fit within the ideas you’re attempting to establish.
This, of course, boils down to learning and evaluating candidates during the interview process. For example, asking a candidate why they fit with the company can show you what values they bring to the table.
Ask the candidate why they left their last job. The answer can uncover if they bring toxic traits. It can also show what they value.
Ultimately, hire employees that fit the bill. Create a team that is uplifting and inclusive. Avoid toxic employees at all costs. Even with a fantastic culture, a toxic employee can quickly bring it down.
Staffing agencies like Tier2Tek will take the time to listen to your cultural ideas and help staff the correct candidates.
Positivity and Empowerment
Make sure to point out when your employees do a good job. This doesn’t mean that you have to reward every action, but don’t stray away from appropriate compliments. People want to know when they’re doing well. If all an employee hears are insults and what they’re doing incorrectly, culture and morale will quickly deplete.
Being positive is a fine balance, though. Too much positivity can seem disingenuous. Smile, be polite and empower your workers.
Trying to stay positive goes beyond just work. You should always try to stay positive. We’re not life coaches here. Just remember, positivity is contagious.
Establish a Work Strategy
It’s hard to align culture when you haven’t aligned goals. What exactly is the strategy for the company?
If your company deals with sales, then sales are king. Establish this initially. Provide quality training and advice on what exactly you’re looking for in your employees. Workers should never be confused or left in a gray area.
With a common and significant goal, everyone can work together and know what is expected of them. Whether long-term or weekly, create expectations for your staff. They need to know what they are striving for.
When your team meets their goals, express gratitude or create some type of reward.
Basically, everyone wants to have meaning. What is the meaning of your employees? How can you increase satisfaction by providing them with achievable and business-helping goals?
Build off Current Corporate Culture
If you are questioning your company’s current culture or feel it needs to be improved, talk to your current employees about it.
Ask your leaders what can be improved and what they value. There is nothing wrong with improving from the inside out. In fact, it’s a critical part of improvement. Your culture may not be great currently, but that doesn’t mean the right pieces are in place. Maybe work just needs to be done. Maybe concerns need to be heard.
There’s that listening thing again, huh?
Accountability Is Key
You never want employees thinking that higher-ups can break cultural rules because of their position. If a manager or leader is toxic, they need to be held accountable just as much as any employee. As said, culture starts at the top.
Establish reasonable procedures and stick to them. Let everyone know the consequences, and act them out when applicable. This doesn’t mean you have to rule with an iron, for that destroys culture, but act on your promises regardless of the employee’s role.
Subsequently, leaders should walk the walk.
Interact and Open Up
There’s a fine line between being too comfortable with your professional peers and being too closed off. It’s a fine dance that takes time and perception.
Yes, being too personal and creating out-of-work friendships with employees can be problematic. In fact, that’s a whole other topic for a whole other article. But, being a brick wall will lead to cold, boring work relationships.
Be friendly with employees. Not everything has to be work, work, work. Allow for unrelated conversations at the water cooler. Open up and lighten up. Don’t be so comfortable it creates issues, but don’t be a statue.
Candidates want to work for a company that stands for something. What do you stand for? How do you benefit and better the world with your company?
A strong sense of responsibility and cause will bring on culturally-advanced employees and better business. No one wants to buy from or work with a company that has the same practices as a comic book villain.
Is your company working on going green? Are you donating to a cause? Are you inclusive?
What is your brand and how can it be positive for the world?
Reiterate and Adapt
Corporate Culture is not a stagnant concept. Things change. Ideas change and new employees bring different values. Make sure to adapt.
Culture should be a constantly evolving thing. These improvements come from listening (again) to your employees and implementing feedback. Do not stick so hard to things that work before you push people away.
Things that were perfectly acceptable five years ago may not be today. Culture will be depleted if you’re on the wrong end of this. Adapt.