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Published: April 25, 2023
Last Updated: June 8, 2023
8 min read
By: Mehedi Hasan
Unlock the secrets to success with our guide on how to improve company culture. Gain practical strategies and expert tips for HR professionals.
"Investing in a strong company culture is critical for organizations to excel in the modern business world. It fuels employee engagement, drives productivity, and promotes retention, while a toxic culture can stifle growth and limit success."
As an HR professional, you understand the critical role of company culture in shaping the success of a workplace. It sets the tone for how employees interact, collaborate and thrive within an organization. In today's competitive business landscape, a positive company culture is not just a nice-to-have but a strategic imperative for attracting and retaining top talent. According to a study by Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe that a distinct workplace culture is crucial to business success
Whether you’re a seasoned HR expert or just starting your career, this article will offer you actionable insights to unlock success in your organization. We’ll dive into the concept of company culture, strategies to assess your current culture, creative ideas to improve it, and initiatives to enhance the workplace environment. Finally, we'll discuss how to measure success and continuously improve your company culture initiatives.
Join us on this journey to explore effective ways to foster a positive and inclusive company culture that promotes the success of your organization.
Company culture is how everyday things are done within the company. It includes the customs, practices, and traditions that are followed by everyone in the workplace when it comes to communication, making decisions, and approaching a particular work.
For example – some workplaces might have a culture that appreciates innovations and new ways of doing things, while another company may strictly follow the traditional rules to get things done.
A healthy company culture fosters a positive work environment where employees feel motivated, engaged and aligned with the organization's mission and values. This leads to improved financial performance, employee loyalty and brand image, which can contribute to a more successful and thriving workplace.
Understanding a few key elements of a positive company culture will provide a foundation for developing effective strategies to improve and enhance the workplace. A survey by Glassdoor found that 77% of adults consider a company's culture before applying for a job and 56% of employees believe a great company culture improves their quality of work.
Let’s take a closer look at some of those key elements:
Values are the fundamental principles that define what an organization stands for and guide its actions and behaviors. They shape a company's culture and influence how employees think, act, and interact with each other. For example, if your company values innovation, it means that you prioritize and encourage creativity, experimentation, and problem-solving among your employees.
Company values are the foundation of the organization's culture and are often communicated through mission statements, vision statements, and other internal communication channels.
Leadership is a critical element in shaping company culture. The behavior and actions of leaders within an organization significantly impact how employees perceive and experience the company's values, vision and direction. Leaders are responsible for setting the tone and creating a positive work environment where employees feel supported, motivated and engaged.
For example, let's say your company values collaboration and teamwork. If leaders consistently model and reinforce these behaviors, employees are more likely to embrace these values and exhibit similar behaviors.
Effective communication is vital for fostering a positive company culture. Employees should feel heard and be able to share ideas through open and transparent channels. A culture of clear and timely communication can promote trust, collaboration and alignment among employees. When a company promotes open communication, employees may feel free to express themselves, provide feedback and share innovative ideas without fear of retribution or criticism
The welfare of its employees is a top priority in a positive workplace culture. This covers one's emotional, mental and physical health. Employees are more likely to be engaged, successful and content in their work when they feel supported in their well-being.
The people in the organization are what make it what it is. When they’re healthy and happy, it reflects on their work, which benefits the company as a whole.
Any strategy we come up with to improve the company culture will be based on these key elements. In the next section, we’ll discuss strategies to assess your current company culture.
Before you take any step to improve and enhance your company culture, it’s essential to assess the current state and type of your organization’s culture. You don’t want to make futile decisions based on assumptions. To get the most effective and efficient ideas to improve the workplace, it’s important to take the data-driven route.
Here are some key steps to assess your current company culture:
Start by reexamining your core values as a critical step in improving your company culture. A robust corporate culture is built on well-defined values that shape behaviors and decision-making. Ensure your values are concise, relatable, and centered around the human aspect. Consider your long-term business objectives, and ensure that the values you establish today will remain relevant in the next five years.
For example - Zappos' core values, including "Deliver WOW Through Service," "Embrace and Drive Change," and "Create Fun and a Little Weirdness," are simple, memorable, and human-centric. These values are embedded in the company's DNA and consistently reinforced in daily operations and interactions.
Besides observing behavior and interactions, collecting feedback from company leaders and employees is one of the most effective ways to assess company culture. Ask questions about their perceptions of the company's values, leadership, communication and employee well-being. Encourage them to share their honest opinions and suggestions for improvement. It’s impossible to know many things by yourself, and only by asking questions can you get them.
Sometimes, the feedback you collect from existing employees can be biased and a bit sugar-coated. That’s why, taking feedback from departing employees can provide valuable insights into areas that may seriously need improvements.
Consider benchmarking your company culture against external standards, such as industry best practices. This can provide valuable insights into how your company culture measures up against others in your industry and identify areas that may need improvement.
Once you gather and analyze data from these assessments, it becomes clear for you to identify areas where your company needs improvements and what strategies benefit you the most.
In the next section, we’ll explore powerful practices to improve and have a great company culture and create a thriving workplace environment.
Improving company culture is not a one-time task. but an ongoing process that requires intentional effort and strategic initiatives.
Whether you’re looking to improve or rebuild the workplace culture, here are some strategies to help foster a positive and inclusive company culture:
A clear sense of purpose and a common goal can align employees towards a shared vision, inspiring a positive company culture. The purpose is not the mission, strategy, or vision, it’s the “WHY” of something. Purposeful work ensures employees are happy and they feel a positive sense of accomplishment from work and have an inherent need and desire for meaningful work and contribution. This helps employees understand the bigger picture and how their contributions are valuable in achieving the company's objectives, creating a sense of meaning and motivation in their work.
HR professionals can articulate the company's purpose and goals and communicate them regularly to all employees to achieve this. Also, it’s wise to help current employees see how their work contributes to the purpose and helps make an impact.
Clearly defining and communicating the company's values is crucial for shaping the organization's culture. This ensures everyone is on the same page and moving in the same direction. HR professionals can collaborate with top leaders to identify the core values that represent the desired culture and ensure these values are consistently communicated to all employees.
These values guide employees' behavior and decision-making, creating a culture that aligns with the company's values and beliefs. This helps establish a shared understanding of what the company stands for and promotes a positive and cohesive work environment.
Open and transparent communication is critical in building a positive company culture. Ensure the senior management regularly informs everyone about the business decisions and directions.
HR professionals can implement various communication channels, such as regular town hall meetings, suggestion boxes, and anonymous surveys, to encourage employee feedback, suggestions, and concerns. This creates an environment where employees feel heard and valued. Other than that, it is also important to integrate modern technology and collaboration tools to create an efficient and effective communication-friendly workplace.
Employee appreciation and recognition are vital components of a positive company culture. An effective strategy is to establish formal recognition and reward programs that recognize employees for their accomplishments, significant milestones, and admirable behaviours. This can include programs such as "Employee of the Month," "Spotlight Awards," or "Peer-to-Peer Recognition" programs.
Plus, HR professionals can encourage managers and team leaders to recognize and appreciate their team members on a regular basis. This can be done through regular feedback, verbal recognition during team meetings or written notes of appreciation.
One of the most common reasons why employees leave a company is for better career opportunities. Clearly laying out foundations and communicating how an employee can grow is vital for creating a loyal employee base. If opportunities are limited, training programs can be designed to enhance employees' skills and knowledge in their current roles and prepare them for future roles within the organization.
This fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth, where employees feel valued, supported and motivated to enhance their skills and knowledge. A sense of purpose and motivation can also be fostered by providing employees with opportunities for career advancement and professional growth.
Employees can be encouraged to collaborate and share their insights through cross-functional team assignments, brainstorming sessions and collaborative platforms. HR professionals can encourage employees from different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to come together and contribute their unique viewpoints. This can promote innovation and creativity, as diverse perspectives can lead to new ideas and solutions. This also gives employees a sense of belonging.
Besides, the workspace can be designed to ensure employees are getting together by design. Such as creating a common lunch space, coffee space, or sports zone.
Only healthy employees can support and nurture a healthy workplace environment. Ensuring the general well-being of employees produces massive positive results for the entire company.
For instance, the company can establish mental health support programs, such as counselling services or employee assistance programs to promote well-being. This will help those dealing with stress, anxiety, or other mental health concerns.
Besides mental health support, HR professionals can also introduce wellness initiatives that promote healthy lifestyle choices, such as fitness programs, yoga classes, or nutrition workshops. Plus, these initiatives initiate team bonding and camaraderie among employees.
Remember, improving company culture is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and commitment from all levels of the organization. Regularly assessing the effectiveness of your initiatives and making adjustments as needed is important.
When it comes to improving workplace culture, it’s not always a smooth ride. There are going to be obstacles in the way. Anticipating and properly planning against these challenges can be really fruitful in the long run. You don’t just want a nice workplace culture, you want it to be fruitful too.
To begin with, there might be some resistance to change. People might just want to maintain the status quo as they’re comfortable with things as they are. Or, there could be cultural barriers if there’s a diverse workforce. In both these cases, communicating the need for, change and the benefits that come with it can help solve this problem. Besides that, introducing cultural sensitivity training and creating opportunities to learn about different cultures can promote a more inclusive workplace culture.
Other challenges may come from a lack of leadership support and limited resources. Whatever strategies are applied, it has to be carried out by the top managers to ensure everyone else gives the changes enough importance. Besides, limited resources such as time, budget and personnel can pose a big challenge. In these situations, building a strong case for the company's benefit and starting small to initiate big changes over time is wise.
Now that you understand how to improve company culture, it’s time to make a plan and set some performance indicators. Set goals, timeline, budget and relevant KPIs. According to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 58% of HR professionals believe that measuring and managing company culture is essential to the success of their organization.
Measuring the success of efforts to improve company culture is essential to ensure the initiatives are effective. Assessing your efforts regularly is the only way to know if you're meeting your goals and improving your company culture. Getting qualitative feedback from the employees from time to time is a good idea. After that, adapt your strategies and plans according to the situation and outcomes.
Company culture varies for each organization. However, despite the challenges and efforts involved, investing in company culture is worthwhile due to the numerous benefits it offers. A positive and inclusive culture can increase employee satisfaction, engagement, retention and overall organizational success.
All in all – improving company culture is a strategic effort that requires intentional and consistent action and it’s time for you to take the first step.
Category TagsCompany Culture
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