We have all heard about these large tech companies that provide their employees with everything from nap pods to month-long sabbaticals. These perks are part of their workplace culture.
Workplace culture is the personality of your organization from an employee’s perspective. It is the characteristics that make your organization unique, including your values, beliefs, attitudes, traditions and behaviors. On the surface, think of a workplace culture as a set of rules that dictate how employees act, how they dress and how your business looks.
Is Culture Important?
One word – yes! Having a well-defined workplace culture has been linked to things like employee engagement, happiness and productivity. A study by Columbia University found that the likelihood of turnover at an organization with great company culture is 13.9 percent, while job turnover at businesses with poor or no company culture is 48.4 percent. A Harvard Business Review blog notes that happy employees are more likely to solve difficult problems faster and outperform the competition by 20 percent.
How to Improve Your Culture
Now that you get the gist of why having a workplace culture is so important, you are probably asking yourself how you go about crafting one. Below are three tips on how to do so.
- Promote communication. Most offices have internal message systems (we like Slack, but there are a number to choose from). Giving employees a way to engage with each other promotes effective communication. Good communication is also important between the higher ups and the rest of the employees. Strive for transparency; if a difficult decision is made don’t just announce it – explain why that was the outcome. This helps build trust.
- Make time for fun. Allowing your employees to have fun while doing their jobs can go a long way. This can be as simple as having catered lunches or as grand as having a company sports team or letting your staff participate in a charitable cause during work hours. This helps employees de-stress as well as blow off some steam.
- Recognize your employees. Come up with a fun way to celebrate victories, both big and small. This can be through an employee of the month program or simply an all-company email. These recognitions can help positively reinforce behaviors as well as help your employees become more engaged.
Your workplace culture has to be learned; you cannot simply announce it and expect your employees to be brand ambassadors the next day. We recommend implementing changes slowly and from the top down. Once you have fully established a culture you are happy with, simply embrace it yourself and your employees will follow.