Five Easy Steps to Creating the Company Culture Your Employees Crave
Your company culture is more than just critical to ensuring your employees have a great workplace. It’s also crucial in retaining employees and attracting top talent in your field. For example, companies with a strong learning culture may keep 30-50% more than those without it. Also, 73% of professionals have left a company over poor cultural fit. If you’ve been struggling with employee retention or want to improve your overall company culture, these five steps can help create the environment your employees crave.
Step One: Listen to Your Employees
Before you start changing your company culture, take the time to listen to your employees. Get a feel for what they want. While some essentials can go a long way toward improving employee morale, including flexibility, favorable working conditions, and evident employee appreciation, others need to be more obvious, especially to upper-level management positions.
Conduct surveys, interview employees at all levels and in all company departments, and take the time to listen to feedback genuinely. Ask questions like:
- What values are important to you as an employee?
- Does the company reflect those values or struggle to meet those requirements?
- Does the company respect your contributions?
- Do you feel safe reporting any challenges you may face when dealing with the company, including discrimination or diversity?
- What do you like most about the organization’s culture?
- What would you like to change about the organization’s culture?
- Do you feel comfortable sharing ideas or innovation?
When you understand what employees want to change within the organization and what they don’t want to change, you can shape your new initiative according to those goals.
Step Two: Set Clear Objectives
Set clear objectives once you have identified employee issues or challenges that may decrease overall company culture. Ideally, you want those objectives to be measurable. You may want to consider options like:
- Promoting diversity within the organization, including increasing diversity hires or retention of diverse employees
- Creating a more lighthearted work environment
- Decreasing overall employee stress
- Improving communication across the company
Ideally, you want initiatives designed to help improve the elements employees like to see changed. You may not be able to make vast changes all at once. Instead, commit to making changes over time.
Step Three: Establish Clear Communication
As part of your commitment to improving your company culture, set communication mechanisms that will make it easier to gauge how employees feel about the latest changes to your company culture and improve your ability to respond to them.
Keep in mind that communication needs to flow two ways! First, it needs to flow down from management to the employees. You want to ensure that employees have a clear idea of the company’s missions, values, and goals and that they receive regular updates that keep them in the loop and make them feel like a connected, informed part of the company.
Second, you want communication to flow from employees to management. Employees need to be able to:
- Communicate the challenges they’re facing
- Ask questions
- Offer innovations or creative thoughts
- Participate in the conversation taking place within the business
Often, employees who interact directly with customers will have a better idea of what those customers need. Not only that, they can provide deeper-level insights into what challenges they face every day, whether there’s a problem with the tools they’re using or a management team member who simply needs to be a better fit.
Communicate in the best language for your employees as part of your communication strategy. Take the time to localize communications where necessary. Employees often process content better when presented in their native or primary language. Translation services can also help ensure clear communications as you share that critical information. In contrast, localization experts can ensure that you avoid inadvertently creating a culture that does not feel welcoming to employees outside your primary geographic region.
Step Four: Encourage Connection
As part of your efforts to improve company culture, look for ways to encourage connection. For organizations with employees in the same general area, in-person team-building events can go a long way toward promoting that sense of connection between employees. However, employees from a wider geographic area can be included in the team-building fun. Virtual drinks or coffee hours, shared meals, and virtual conference opportunities can significantly improve employees’ sense of connection to their coworkers.
Allow social opportunities, especially for employees who might be separated by distance. If you have a company chat, create channels primarily for socialization, not just for sharing work information. Allow employees time to chat at the beginning and end of meetings. Give employees a chance to have fun together! Over time, this can help build a more robust company culture that helps employees feel more like a united part, even when they may not be physically close.
Step Five: Build In Employee Growth
For many employees, a crucial part of feeling appreciated by their employer is knowing their employer is investing in them and their future career prospects. As part of your strategy for improving the workplace environment, look for strategies that allow your employees to grow. That may include the following options:
- Create mentorship opportunities within the company. Mentors can provide advice and guidance to help employees grow and meet their full potential.
- Assign trainers or mentors to aid employees when they first join the company. Those trainers can provide vital information about company culture and the necessary knowledge to complete their daily job tasks.
- Pay for training. Increasing your annual training budget can go a long way toward showing employees that they are supported. Look for opportunities for employees to improve training in their most interesting fields.
- Encourage employees to attend conferences and industry events. These events are excellent opportunities to network and expand overall knowledge.
- Offer tuition reimbursement. Employees who want to obtain certifications or degrees can feel more confident about developing those skills when supported financially by an employer.
Not only does more training help improve overall satisfaction, it can help create better employees—employees who are prepared to take on more challenges, increase their responsibilities, and rise through your company.
Watch Your Company Culture Improve
Improvements in company culture generally take time to come. However, with time, you can give your employees the foundation to deepen their appreciation and sense of connection to your company.