One of the many topics surrounding workplaces is about company culture. But why does it matter so much?
People spend a large amount of their lives at work—8-9 hours of their working life is spent at the workplace or participating in workplace-related activities.
That isn’t including commute time, which can be anywhere between five minutes to four hours, during which time people are often answering emails, or at least thinking about the day’s work.
In other words, people have very little time at home to do the things that they consider ‘fun’. Which is why the workplace needs to have a healthy and calm culture.
If you are a CEO, manager, or a member of the HR team, and are noticing that some, or all, of your employees are struggling to maintain their positivity and confidence, you may have to re-examine your company culture.
Because workplaces aren’t just about customising presentation ideas for the next big meeting or conference. It’s also about interpersonal connections and feeling fulfilled in one’s role.
Some of the popular company culture myths have focused on how quirky perks or old fashioned values make a workplace great. But these don’t always hold true.
If you want to actively make a difference to your company culture and create an environment that your employees will feel comfortable and happy in, you should start adopting these seven methods.
Keeping communication lines open between leaders, employees, top management, and HR professionals, is a key aspect of improving company culture.
Let your employees know the mission of the organisation, and your goals. Explain to them how they fit in and what they can directly do to change the direction of the company.
Don’t make employees feel isolated or that their soles job is to complete tasks—they should feel like they are one important part of a bigger whole.
Every person should feel like they are making a radical difference to your organisation, no matter how low or high they are on the corporate ladder.
You should also communicate successes and failures—but be prudent about how you do it. Don’t big up the successes of one employee or team at the expense of another.
And don’t publicly call out a failure or play the ‘blame game’. Failure is a part of corporate life—clarify what went wrong, and look for ways to mend it and get better.
Communication should be two-way, always. Accept criticism and feedback from your employees—after all, they are doing the work and they will have more intimate knowledge of what does and doesn’t work.
Transparency was rarely given credence in the workplace, but it has fast become an important motivating factor for employees.
Are major changes taking place in your retail POS system or in the management itself? Employees should be told what to expect, and when.
The worst thing you can do is to create a cloud of fear over your employees by alluding to changes without being transparent about them.
This will negatively affect the mood of the workplace and bring down the employees’ confidence and motivation.
Keeping employees isolated from each other may have seemed like a good idea in the past—the less interaction there is, the more productive people will be.
But as everyone who has worked in an office knows, this simply isn’t true. Lack of interaction can be incredibly demotivating, and the feeling of isolation drives productivity down.
Create opportunities for employees to engage with each other—without managers and leaders looming over them—during company time.
The important point to note is that employees should feel comfortable talking to each other and growing together.
Provide Real Rewards
Recognition is very important in companies—employees should feel like their efforts are being recognised by their managers and above.
Make a point to highlight employees who have gone above and beyond, and who have reached their targets. Reward the people who deserve it.
A number of companies have begun to believe that giving employees rewards like ‘bring a pet to work day’ and gaming tables will make them happier at work. This is turning out not to be true.
Most employees still want to get regular benefits like insurance and vacation days, not a gaming system or foosball table.
When it comes to rewards, people would much prefer monetary incentives or extra days off. Employees can actually do something with those, and that is what companies should provide.
Encourage Professional Development
An employee who feels stagnant in their role is unlikely to be motivated or productive. You have to cultivate an atmosphere of professional development in your company culture to combat this.
We have mentioned how mentorship programmes create connections between employees but organisations can also send employees to conferences and courses, without taxing the corporate credit card.
Learning more skills will not only benefit the employee in terms of lateral and vertical movement in the company, but will also help the organisation in the long run.
Human lives are becoming more and more complicated every day.
Plus, employees have children, care for their parents or grandparents—in fact, one never knows how many responsibilities a person has.
With this kind of worldwide atmosphere, the last thing you want to do is instill a company culture that makes people terrified of stepping away from their laptop for even a second.
Be flexible in the hours you expect your employees to work—they may not always arrive at 9am, but they might end up staying after 5pm on some days.
These things tend to balance themselves out far better when people aren’t terrified of punching in the clock exactly at 9, and again at 5.
You also need to make space for emergencies—children fall ill, siblings, spouses, or partners need extra attention, parents and grandparents need to see specialists.
There has to be room for flexibility in your company culture so people can feel like they can work and live their lives.
Adopt Technology (But Not Too Much)
Technology is making life so much simpler for workplaces. We have already mentioned chat software, but there are several ways to make the workplace easier to navigate.
But avoid using far too many tools as that can put additional stress on employees who will feel like they have to learn something that is beyond their scope.
Improve Your Company Culture Today
Great company culture can improve the way your employees feel and how they work. Remember that changes in company culture happen slowly—there is no overnight success in this area.
But you should start thinking about your company culture as soon as possible. Open a dialogue with your employees and teams to learn more and you will be able to start making a difference.