Employees and job searchers alike consider a variety of factors in deciding where they want to go. They’ll take a look at everything from health insurance benefits to potential early release on Fridays. However, one thing they’ll almost always consider when comparing choices is company culture. After all, being paid big bucks and receiving the best benefits in any category means zilch if you’ll be leaving in less than a month due to how uncomfortable the work environment is.
As an employer, you should do everything in your power to establish not a good, not a great, but an amazing company culture. There are many reasons why this will propel your business to new lengths. As mentioned before, you’ll be looking at higher retention rates and company inflow. Statistics show that companies with a strong culture saw a 4x increase in revenue! Even better, if a company receives the Best Place to Work title, they could see a .75% rise in its stock. For employees, if the place they work for has a strong culture, their ratings of the work environment go up. Mission/value alignment ends up being 20% higher compared to those who don’t work in a great company culture.
Flipping it around, statistics also show that employees who don’t feel recognized are twice as likely to quit within the next year of working. A whopping 86% of potential hires wouldn’t apply or work for a company with a bad public reputation, and 65% of existing employees would leave if news came out about their company’s poor business practices. Lastly, managers and other higher-ups should work together to establish a fantastic company culture because they’re just so scarce! About 61% of workers report feeling burned out, while 31% have high levels of stress at their jobs. A little over half of the employees in our country aren’t engaged in their work, which leads to an overall 17% lower rate in productivity and a 24% higher rate in turnover. If these numbers don’t make you feel worried, then I don’t know what else will!
Fortunately, it’s never too late to establish an amazing company culture. You can start today, you can start tomorrow, and you can even begin 10 years into the future, though I wouldn’t recommend that. What is essential is having the drive to improve the workplace for everyone.
If you recall from one of my previous articles, “Building a Diverse Workplace,” I wrote about calling out discriminatory behavior as one of the ways to encourage diversity. Well, this is applicable here, too, as any fantastic culture you work for should not tolerate discrimination of any kind, whether that be by race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Workplaces should be welcome to all types of people, and they should be treated equally by peers and superiors alike. Create anti-discrimination regulations and penalties for violating them. If a worker catches someone being discriminatory, reward them for their efforts and for letting you know, which leads me to my next point.
Get rid of the “snitches get stitches” mindset. Let’s say that Person A and Person B were friends. Person A confides in Person B that they’re planning on sabotaging Person C’s work. Person B lets their boss know, the boss puts a stop to Person A’s plans, and Person A gets mad, telling everyone on their floor that Person B is a no-good snitch. As a result, many people turn on Person B, Believing that they’re the bad guy (hahaha, see what I did there?). The point is that “selling someone out” does not make you a monster; in fact, informing your boss about someone’s wrongdoings is good. Therefore, companies need to emphasize to workers that letting bosses, HR, or whoever else has enough power to stop people from messing around, is highly encouraged and admired.
Let workers move around. If I say the phrase “a typical 9-to-5 workday”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Let me guess, a bunch of employees wearing white, buttoned-up shirts sitting at their desks, typing away on computers in rows of cubicles? Yeah, sounds about right. Encourage workers to move around every 1-2 hours. Even if they just stand up and stretch, that still allows them to relax both physically and mentally. If they want to walk around the office, then that’s great! You could even host weekly contests for the most number of steps taken by providing pedometers for everyone.
If employees don’t know what’s going on within the company, it could lead to misunderstandings and disagreements in hopes of figuring out. After all, most people will only do things if they know how their actions will translate into results. Not updating them on company happenings also hints that you don’t entrust them with that knowledge, and that in itself can be taken as an insult. Thus, communication channels should be established, and news sent out fast, so that people understand what’s happening at all times. While this has always been the norm, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many businesses to move to a virtual working environment, it’s become trickier than ever to keep everyone on your team informed. Account for factors like time differences or family matters. Transparency goes both ways too! Encourage workers to tell you what’s going on in their lives, especially if it could impact the quality of their work.
Employees won’t feel as motivated doing their work if they believe it won’t go anywhere, and, once their sense of purpose is gone, they could end up leaving. Make sure they know the big picture and how their day-to-day tasks contribute to it. For instance, while checking up on Person M, an email marketing intern, compliment them on how well this month’s marketing campaign has gone. Describe in detail the increase in traffic to the company website, as well as how this will positively affect the business’ profitability. Ex: Because of the 110% surge in traffic to our site, our data analysts have predicted a 30% surge in our online shop’s revenue. Thanks, Person M, for making this possible!
Working in teams is inevitable, so make sure whichever teams you’re in charge of can work together well. If they are struggling to agree or have trouble collaborating, address those issues with a team meeting with you moderating. You can help them realize what the problem at heart is and brainstorm ways to smooth the team dynamic. When in doubt, always go with the classic solution: team building activities. They might seem like a waste of time. However, by having everyone doing a fun activity together, they can get to know each other better. They will also learn how to collaborate in a low-stakes environment.