Improving employee satisfaction is likely to be the aim of any HR strategy. After all, it can help to reduce staff turnover, increase profits for your organization, and even boost employee productivity by 6.6%.
Whether you have a HR big budget or not, culture is something you can shape or control – and it has a stark impact on the satisfaction of your employees.
Company culture is defined as the personality of an organization. It’s how a business displays itself, the values it believes in and the morals it holds.
Culture will be created whether you intend it to, or not. Staff will create their own way of working, giving your organization a reputation and culture. However, organizations that have an input in their company culture will help to take the business in a more purposeful direction because they’re aware of what’s being built.
In this guide, we’re sharing the key components of a strong company culture. It’ll allow you to put together a strategy that gives a great reputation of your brand, and develop core values to help staff stay on the same page.
1. Define Your Key Values – and Make Sure You Live Them
All companies have values. They’re basic morals that you expect staff to have, and always abide-by during their time at work.
HR teams need to take the time to identify what good key values already exist in their organization. This will act as a basis for your culture, and help to recognize behaviour that you do – and do not – want to occur during the workplace.
A handful of existing values may include:
- Praising good work from colleagues
- Accepting responsibility for your actions
- Finding ways to combine profitability and social good
Once you have your list of values, treat them like your company’s Ten (or more!) Commandments. Introduce them to your staff’s daily line of work through an initial meeting to highlight their importance, and store the file electronically in a shared business folder.
To strengthen your company’s culture, ensure that people are living the key values you defined. You could reward good behaviour, or include culture progress in individual annual performance reviews to encourage staff.
Whichever option you opt for, remember that key values are essential for a strong company culture – but they only work if employees are actively living them.
2. Define Your Company Purpose
The chances are, you know your company more than anyone else does. But can you say the same for your co-workers, or members of staff working in another department?
Mission statements can be used to define the purpose of your organization. However, these documents have a tendency to collect dust on a computer, never to be referenced again after they’ve been created.
Instead of heading in this direction, follow the concept behind Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. Create a true purpose for your company that makes you want to get up in the morning, and foster a culture that revolves around that purpose completely.
Warby Parker, one of the first companies to really focus on affordable eyewear products, created a strong purpose that helped to excel them into the retail market. They built social responsibility into their missioning, which helped give the company a powerful – and significant – meaning.
Detailing this information will help staff to stay on-board with your brand. New starters will be brought up-to-speed with your company, and the mission statement can be used for other branding collateral.
3. Trust Your Employees
Company culture is a way of working that suits all employees, and represents a company in a great light. The best way to do that is through trust and communication, because you can’t expect staff to stick with rigid ways of work without their input.
Remember that employees become more satisfied in their role when they feel free to do their work the best way they see fit. Allow staff to have their own responsibility and encourage open lines of communication. Staff feel more trusted by you if they’re trusted, and everyone working in the department will have a better, honest working relationship.
This trust will also help staff to feel like they’re part of the team – especially in businesses where responsibility and honesty are important values!
4. Give the Right Rewards
Remember how earlier, we discussed that staff who have high levels of job satisfaction bring many benefits to a company? A fantastic way to boost that satisfaction is to acknowledge and reward the hard work that they do.
This practice doesn’t have to be expensive. You could bring doughnuts in on a Friday, allow them more creative freedom in their role, or simply say “well done!” for working in a way that suits your values perfectly. If you have a bigger budget, rewards could be team-building events to allow staff chance to get to know one another.
Companies reward things all the time, but you only want to reward the kind of behaviors that are key to your culture. For instance, this might mean that a top performer with a bad attitude (often referred to as “Brilliant Jerks”) doesn’t get rewarded when they go against your key values, despite performing well. This prevents you from incentivizing bad behaviour, and proves the importance of your culture to other members of staff.
Whichever method of rewarding staff suits your organization, company culture will be improved by recognizing – and supporting – good behaviour. If staff are on good terms with their co-workers and are happier in their role, you’ll automatically cultivate a fun culture that staff thrive in.
Although there are times where professionalism is mandatory, having tough, work-only relationships with employees could cause them to feel disconnected, and lose your company culture. Whether it be a bank or a law firm, there’s always opportunity to break the norm of ‘professionalism’ and have some fun!
You can do this, and strengthen company culture, by becoming friends with your employees. Discuss what happened at the weekend, and ask about their families. You could even plan in-house events, such as Halloween costume competitions, to strengthen personal relationships and allow staff fun-time in their working environment.
Just think about the fun company culture created by Twitter. Their infamous rooftop meetings, team-orientated working environment and friendly co-workers make it a great place to work – and gives a great impression from the outside looking in!
It’s not uncommon for strategies to be enforced in the workplace, only for them to vanish within a matter of months. That could be due to hundreds of reasons, but remember that being consistent with your company culture is the only way to create a strong one.
Have regular events, meetings and always make your staff feel valued. This will help them get used to the culture you have; strengthening it and helping it to become more prominent in the workplace.
If managers recognize that certain members of staff are excelling and helping turn the wheels on your new strategy, give praise and appropriate rewards. On the other hand, if staff aren’t adapting well to the new culture and are completing activities that don’t align with your values, reinforce the fact that such behaviour is prohibited.
Tied-in with consistency, leaders need to keep hammering on the company’s culture. It’s the best way to ensure that staff are eased into the new way of working.
Once you’re armed with a strong mission statement, solid brand values and a team of employees who’re on-board with your new HR strategy, expect to see notable changes to your company culture.
Staff will become happier, you’ll be succeeding at your job, and top-level leaders will be satisfied with the brand they are building.