Do you go into work each day with a strong purpose and leave with a sense of fulfilment? Do your staff feel united as a team and enjoy the company of the colleagues around them? The way in which you answered these questions may give you an indication of what your company culture is like.
What is "company culture"?
In short, company culture is the essence of the company you work for. It is how the company interacts with its employees, companies and the community. This culture is reflected in various ways from the mission statement, and the core values, to the working environment etc. Culture is driven by the leaders and has a flow-on effect on all individuals within the business. Whilst you can’t measure a company’s culture quantifiably, the need for a positive culture is becoming more and more relevant. The impact of a company’s culture affects both employees and employers, and this is evident in some of the statistics below.
● 90% of professionals conduct research on a company’s culture before accepting a role.
● Companies with a strong culture have been shown to have a 4x increase in revenue growth.
● 66% of job seekers consider a company’s culture and values to be the most important factor when considering career opportunities.
● Only 12% of executives believe their companies are driving the ‘right culture’.
● Companies that actively manage their culture have a 40% higher employee retention rate.
● Organisations with a strong culture have a 72% higher employee engagement rate than those businesses that have weak cultures. Furthermore, highly engaged teams have a 10% higher customer service rating, 21% higher productivity rates and 22% more profitability. Some interesting findings, that certainly point to the necessity of having culture front of mind for your team and the business as a whole. Let’s discuss some of the things to look for in ascertaining how you would describe your company culture currently.
What are the signs of a good company culture?
Creating an environment that allows for open and honest communication is extremely valuable. Effective and continued communication between team members is part of what creates a high functioning team. Not only is communication key between
colleagues, but allowing open communication and having clear messaging from all levels of the business helps to build trust. On the topic of trust, employees should be encouraged to share their thoughts and suggestions and not be afraid to voice their opinions as well.
This is not to say that everyone needs to be best friends, but there needs to be a level of respect between one another. There is nothing worse than malicious gossip or in- fighting between colleagues. If there are any issues between employees, having these dealt with in a civil manner, one on one with the boss or HR is the way to do it. A positive relationship between colleagues starts with respect and results in increased collaboration and greater chances of success.
Similar to communication, feedback should be delivered openly and regularly. Management should be providing feedback to employees as to how they are meeting expectations and completing their day to day tasks. It shouldn’t be left to a once a year annual review, but provided much more frequently. Positive feedback should be given as often as possible, and when giving negative feedback this should be done constructively and professionally. On the flip side, management should be asking for feedback themselves from their staff too. Having a clear understanding of your team's perspective and how different projects or incentives are impacting each individual is key to creating a positive environment.
Having a clear purpose is important to each individual and for the team as a whole. Setting specific goals and having a plan as to how you will achieve those, helps to increase motivation and dedication. Teams should have a shared goal and individual tasks that help to move the group towards the end target.
Flexibility is encouraged
Flexibility and mobility these days come in many forms. If you have a culture of enabling and encouraging movement within a business this increases job satisfaction. Mobility could be striving for a promotion or a secondment to another area of the business.
Whereas, flexibility could look like working in a hybrid manner. If the workplace promotes this kind of movement, it creates more opportunities for individuals and allows for a dynamic and adaptable environment.
High retention rate
When staff are happy and satisfied this increases their loyalty to a business. If the company culture is good, employees are generally happier and more satisfied. The two go hand in hand. Having a low turnover is a positive sign that the culture within the workplace is good.
Employees socialise outside of work
Having team members who socialise together outside of office hours is great! It shows the workplace has enabled positive relationships to form and these out of office gatherings are a great way for employees to get to know their colleagues on another level.
Inspiring each member of your team comes in different forms. For some people being inspired means participating in a project, they are passionate about. Maybe for others having ongoing career progression opportunities or access to further education is important. It could come in the form of personal development or networking opportunities as well. There are several ways to inspire your staff, and as it is not a one size fits all scenario, understanding what this means to your people is going to be important.
Creating a cohesive team environment relies on many factors, and one of these is the ability to provide support. Understanding team members strengths and weaknesses and delegating tasks to allow each individual to thrive is a way of doing this. Having an open-door policy to discuss any concerns could be another strategy. Providing support comes with open communication, as we discussed before, as well as giving your staff the tools to effectively do their job. Offer development opportunities, whether that be personal or professional, and take the time to promote the health and well being of each individual.
Benefits of a good company culture
The impact of a good company culture can be seen across all aspects of a business. As we found out earlier, it is one of the top factors people are considering in their search for a job, yet not every business seems to be getting it right.However, when it does hit the mark there are some benefits to be seen. These include;
● Happier, more engaged staff members
● Greater employee retention
● Higher financial return
● Improved customer service
● Increased productivity
● Increased desirability to new hires
● Increased creativity and innovation
How to increase it
Many variables go into making up a company’s culture. This can include some of the following;
● How employees communicate with one another.
● How employees are rewarded and recognized.
● How decisions are made.
● How employees celebrate their work.
● How people are hired, promoted and let go.
To improve the culture here are some key focus points that help to drive a positive culture among employees.
Have a strong purpose- establish what your company values are and then take the next step and work out how you put them into action. Make it clear how to embody each value and what your business or team goals are.
Build strong relationships- Encourage interaction between the team outside of the usual working environment. This could be all out for a lunch or arranging team-building activities. Having strong connections within a team creates a sense of community and an overall positive culture.
Reward and recognise- ensure you celebrate success whenever you can. Encourage to chase large goals and reward achievements as they come. Recognise when individuals have put in extra effort and gone above and beyond the usual duties and responsibilities. Staff who feel as though their work is recognised tend to continue to perform well and be more satisfied with their job, which contributes to the culture of a company.
Creative positive experiences- provide the opportunity for people to try something new, or learn another skill in a safe and supportive environment. If you can create positive experiences for people when they are stepping outside of their comfort zone, this encourages personal and professional growth. Positive experiences could also involve being engaged in team events and fostering deep bonds to form between individuals as well.
Foster open communication- enable and encourage everyone to voice their opinions. Regularly ask for feedback and conduct open forums for discussion.
Allow autonomy- this starts with trust. When you can trust your team and they are given the opportunity to work autonomously, this creates a sense of ownership for the individual. They are in control of their job and can take ownership of their success which adds value and increases pride within their role.
Encourage participation- ensure everyone is involved. This could be when it comes to team meetings, delegating new projects or even social activities. Encouraging people to participate and get involved gives people the opportunity to grow. Stepping outside of one’s comfort zone could be daunting but knowing that is within a safe and supportive environment allows for this to be a positive experience.
Set clear expectations - ensure that at an individual level, everyone knows what their role is and what is expected of them. This relates back to having a purpose and goes a long way when it comes to monitoring progress toward goals and monitoring success.
Creating and maintaining a great company culture is an ongoing mission. It involves continued reflection and adaptation as the way in which we work and the people which whom we work with, are constantly changing. The benefits to be gained from ensuring this culture creates a positive experience for each employee, are invaluable. Creating a great culture also comes down to engaging with your staff. Take a look at one of our previous articles on 10 ways to boost employee engagement for some further ideas.
Emily has a background in corporate sales and recruitment. Experience, that allows her to understand businesses and people, and to create compelling copy and content that showcases just that.
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