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How To Develop A Positive Company Culture

This is part one of a two part series exploring how employers can better attract and retain talent through company culture.  Stay tuned for part two to learn about how you can better promote your company culture to attract job seekers, and build a positive industry reputation.

In today’s booming job market, it’s become clear that job seekers have the upper hand.  With a low unemployment rate, employers are struggling to find qualified talent, and top candidates are highly coveted.  When prospective employees have several options, they are less likely to compromise when accepting a job offer, and this includes everything from pay to advancement opportunities to company culture.  If a job seeker spots an unfriendly environment or simply doesn’t get a sense that they fit into the culture, they may no longer consider that organization and turn to another employer where they had a better experience.  According to our 2016 Hiring Outlook, 69% of professionals consider company culture to be critical or very important when considering a new job.  This is particularly true regarding millennial employees, who rank company culture among their top qualifications for accepting or rejecting a position.

Keep in mind that developing a positive culture not only retains your best employees, but also cultivates a good reputation that will attract new talent.  This is especially true as millennials move into leadership roles; businesses need to implement succession planning, and they will not be successful if company culture is not taken seriously.  From hiring practices to workplace communication, it is crucial to analyze and improve your organization’s environment.  In order to remain a competitive option for the brightest employees, take the following steps toward a better experience for your team:

Set goals

In order to improve your company culture, you must first decide what you’re aiming to accomplish, as well as the steps in order to achieve that.  This means that you first need to evaluate the current state of your workplace procedures, communication policies, and cross-departmental relationships.  Then, consider your company mission and values; ask yourself how this informs the future of the organization.  For example, if your mission involves collaboration, you may envision a bustling office where colleagues are encouraged to accomplish their goals together.  Now that you’ve established your destination, you can set goals in order to reach it.  If the current environment includes everyone using personal headphones, for example, start by creating a shared radio station to encourage teamwork in choosing music for the office.

Listen

Keep in mind that a key component of company culture is ensuring that everyone feels included—this means that decisions should be made by listening to all ideas and keeping an open mind.  This concept extends beyond the subject of culture and into every facet of your work.  If you’re not open to ideas regarding other business decisions, employees may not feel like they can make an impact on the organization.  When an employee’s opinions are heard, they will feel more valued, even if their suggestion is not implemented.  Additionally, when they contribute to the success of the overall organization, they’ll feel like an integral part of the team.  While this certainly requires an open mind, your employees may surprise you with their solutions.

Lead By Example

Throughout the process of implementing different policies or suggestions for employees, be sure that any member of your leadership team also adheres to them.  For example, if you want your staff to communicate more in person rather than via email or chat, avoid announcing this change in procedure by mass email.  Most employees will not take any policy seriously if it is not earnestly implemented by those above them.  As a result, be sure that you’re aware of your own actions, and keep in mind that culture starts from the top.

Reward Hard Work

As you’re considering the changes you’ll make to improve your culture, reflect on whether you think your employees know how much they are appreciated—perhaps even ask them yourself.  If an employee doesn’t feel as if you acknowledge their contributions toward the company goals, they will be quick to find a company that does.  A couple of smart ways to recognize hard work are to organize celebratory events as well as being sure to simply say, “thank you,” or compliment good work on a regular basis.

Start Traditions

Be sure that you give employees the opportunity to revel in their success.  A holiday celebration or a happy hour can boost morale, and it encourages employees to build stronger relationships with one another.  By establishing traditions that occur regularly, your employees can look forward to the chance to relax and have fun with their coworkers.

The Execu|Search Group is a leading recruitment, temporary staffing, and workforce management solutions firm. Since opening our doors in 1985, we have helped over 26,000 companies find talent. Learn how we can work together to find your next great hire, here.