What Is Culture And How Can You Improve It?
The word culture gets thrown around a lot, but do we know what it means? What does it mean for future employees in terms of attraction, and how does company culture impact the tenure of current employees? It’s a large web, but let’s try and unravel it.
So why care about culture?
With the risk of sounding cliché, a happy employee works better. Also, happy employees tend not to quit so frequently, so hey, that saves you the job of constantly backfilling, and let’s face it, recruitment is a long a stressful process.
‘Culture’ has been a word used within job ads as a point of difference, usually in a sentence reading ‘great company culture’, but a great company culture will mean different things to each employee. Long gone are the days that a ping pong table and Friday beers will suffice as having a great culture, why? Because it’s nothing new, and doesn’t benefit employees in the long run. It’s time to innovate.
Think about what you’d be looking for if you had to look for a new role. Would you be looking for a company with a dart board, or would you be looking for a company that recognises achievements in every department, and actively praises success. Would you be looking for beers on a Friday, or would you rather finishing early to spend more time with your friends and family?
Neither of those are right or wrong, the point being, some employees would like the opportunity to stay within the office and bond with colleagues, however, others work to provide for their families, and both of those are okay. The key is, to know what it is that drives your staff, and build a culture from there.
Culture is setting values and beliefs. What does the company stand for, and how does this retain staff and affect overall satisfaction?
If you’re reading this as a member of company management, and you’re unable to answer that question, I’d recommend asking your employees. What drives them? Is it money, and could a better bonus scheme improve their role in the workplace. Is it flexibility, and could a less rigid daily structure help improve their satisfaction levels. A simple Employee Engagement Survey can bring out clear data around what employees look for in company culture, and whether they’re already satisfied.
Without knowing what it is that your employees look for, you can’t look to improve it, however, the key topics that candidates look for are the following:
A large majority of our lives is spent at work, and that’s okay, but is 9-5 essential in a business world that is mainly online or cloud based?
Having staff work their core hours more flexibly allows a better work life balance. This could be, a parent needing to start earlier and finish a little earlier to collect the kids from school. It could be someone wishing to do the opposite, and stay later with a later start
Not all companies can accommodate working from home opportunities, but where possible, providing this goes a long way. It won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth keeping in mind. Employees will thank you for it.
We all love a little compliment every now and again, and they go a long way. Every single employee brings something to the table within a company, from admin staff who may only do part-time hours, to the CEO who keeps the wheels rolling. Acknowledgement doesn’t have to be a companywide Oscar-winning speech, but a simple email to the team when an employee goes above and beyond, or has made it through a busy week staying positive makes it all seem worth doing.
You can enter the workplace in the best job ever, perfectly matched to your needs, but unless it grows with you, it can slowly become stagnant. If an employee doesn’t feel as though their role is growing with them, you betcha they’ll be looking for something else on the side.
An important thing to not however about this one, is that development does not mean the same to each employee. Not everyone wants to manage a team, so be sure to ask each individual what development looks like to them.
If I could sum up ‘good culture’ in one sentence, breaking into simple terms, it really is ‘just an all-round nice place to be’. It seems so simple, but it’s so pivotal for staff retention.
What actions are you taking to improve your companies culture?