Do your employees love what they do? It’s a worthwhile question, especially with turnover and labor shortages being felt across industries. And with limited HR resources for your small to mid-sized business, you feel this strain in an acute way. If you want a company that’s inviting to employees and encourages retention for the long haul, you must invest first and foremost in your culture.
Why You Need to Cultivate a Positive Company Culture
Poor work culture is far too common. Moreover, it is a prominent reason why employees leave organizations or are not fully engaged when they do stay. As a business leader, how do you guard against such an unwanted but oh-so-common reality?
The simple answer is this: respect your people.
When team members know their leaders trust them and a mutual level of respect exists between managers and their workforce, employees feel at ease expressing their opinions and ideas. This atmosphere of good faith then leads to innovative solutions and processes which will improve your culture.
How to Create a Positive Company Culture
The concept of a positive company culture sounds wonderful, but the question is: How does a company go about creating a culture that isn’t average but great? A few tried-and-true building blocks lay the right foundation.
Describe Your Why
Without describing why you do what you do, your business is like a plane without an engine. Making sure your people know what got the business off the ground is a pretty crucial factor in the work environment so employees know what they are signing up for.
You may or may not have founded the organization but go back to the roots. Did your renovation business start with humble beginnings and your heart for doing the job right? Did your restaurant begin with a desire to be a gathering place for locals in the neighborhood? Tell the story of your why often so your team remembers the reason the business got its start!
Once you have clearly articulated your why, it’s time to highlight that message, especially with your potential new hires. By integrating these into your job descriptions, interview conversations, and hiring materials, you are setting the right tone from an individual’s very first introduction to your company.
If they align and resonate with the story of why the business was founded, candidates can see if they have the potential to fit right in before they sign on.
Encourage Open Communication
Transparency builds a strong workplace culture as it establishes trust between employees and management, and transparency only comes through honest communication. Does your team feel comfortable talking to you? A key indicator is how often (or seldom) you get ideas and feedback from your team.
That means when a team member has thoughts or concerns and comes to you with them, you close your laptop and give them your full attention. Your to-do list will always be waiting for you, but your employees need to know they matter more than the next task on your agenda.
How’s their relationship with the team? How’s their bandwidth? Do they feel like they know where they’re headed in the company? What’s causing anxiety or frustration?
By listening closely and responding appropriately, you will encourage people to communicate more openly and take ownership of responsibilities, and in turn, create a more welcoming culture.
Recognize the Individual & the Team
Employees need to know you see them as people as well as their productivity. Without any form of encouragement or support for their hard work, employees can feel undervalued. And a recent Gallup survey shows there’s room for improvement across industries.
- Only 18% of healthcare workers say people are recognized at their organization. This is below the average for U.S. employees (22%) and significantly lower than other industries that also often work in teams, including financial services (34%) and professional/technical/scientific services (28%).
- Only one in ten manufacturing employees say recognition is an important part of their work culture. Only 11% of employees say their managers have a system in place to recognize people for their accomplishments.
So how do you celebrate a job well done? Consider ways to acknowledge accomplishments privately and publicly. For work anniversaries, having a small gift or card can go a long way. And when an individual closes a deal or receives praise from a client, the whole company should hear about it!
You can think outside the box too– what fits inside your business model? If you have a construction business, consider adjusting your hours for the days of unpleasant weather. You could provide options to work earlier hours in the summer to adjust for the heat, provide a warm meal when contractors are working in the winter months, or give a Friday off after a large project is complete. Brainstorm ideas that fit with your company, and your team is sure to appreciate the support.
The Lasting Effect of Positive Company Culture
You can’t create a positive company culture overnight, but you can strengthen it day by day. Reminding people who you are as a company and why you started in the first place gets them excited about being part of your team. Investing time into your people and caring about their individual lives cultivates an inviting atmosphere where they want to stay. And who wouldn’t want to be part of a culture like that?
Curious about how you can improve your company’s culture? From recruitment to employee benefits, our team can offer your business supportive solutions.