Work forms a big part of most of our lives and to some extent, our personalities. In most cases, we spend at least on third of every day doing our jobs. Bearing this in mind, it is only logical that most of us would want to work in a pleasant environment with a work culture that promotes productivity and self-growth.
Because of this, a company that actively works towards creating the perfect harmony between work and culture stands a much better chance to attract and retain employees. However, achieving and maintaining a good balance between work and culture is not always an easy feat.
In this blog post, we will be taking a closer look at what can ( and should ) be done to improve work culture alignment in any organisation.
Focus on recruiting the right people
A company is only as strong as the people who work in it. Employees who have been working in a company for a while are likely to establish bonds with the other employees and identify with the company culture more strongly than new employees.
This makes it important to spend enough time and resources on finding employees that fit well with the current team and who can identify with the company’s culture.
Hiring new employees who are not willing or able to work together with the existing employees can quickly create a poisonous atmosphere within a company, which is detrimental to every aspect of the company, its culture, and employees.
Although education and experience are important, it is not the only aspects that should be taken into account when recruiting new employees, attention should also be paid to whether or not the candidate would be able to integrate with the existing team.
Promote relevant values
Having values is important in any business but it is important to understand that values can be both helpful and detrimental to the functioning of an organisation. It is important to evaluate the relevance of values from time to time to make sure that all the values are still in the best interest of your business.
As a business grows, its needs can change which could lead to outdated values that act as a constraint instead of a guideline for growth. Values must be monitored constantly to ensure that they remain in line with the values observed by other companies in the same industry.
In doing so, these values can help to attract new employees as well as keep existing employees happy.
Ensure that leaders are on the same page when it comes to values
The tone of a company is set by its leaders. Bearing this in mind, it is extremely important that those at the top of the organisation share the same values. If the same values are not shared by all the leaders, it will become obvious to the employees which can undermine the sense of solidarity within the company.
However, leaders that clearly display that they are on the same page give the company direction and make employees feel more secure, which leads to higher levels of employee satisfaction and higher levels of work culture acceptance.
Measure the level of work culture alignment in your organisation
Measuring is knowing. This might sound impossible or counterintuitive when we are referring to something like cultural acceptance, but every organisation must know what the level of work and culture alignment is so that appropriate changes can be made when needed.
Cultural acceptance can be measured by using tools like surveys to determine how satisfied employees are with the balance between culture and work.
In addition, this information can help companies to uncover valuable information such as the ideas and thoughts of employees on issues such as profitability, diversity, the effectiveness of management, and overall work satisfaction.
Understanding these aspects better give the company the ability to identify any problems timely and react to them before they can cause problems within the company.
Establish values in collaboration with employees
Deciding values is something that should be done on a company-wide level. Gathering input from employees who are currently at the start of their journey in the company as well as information from those who are employed on a managerial level is always a sensible idea.
By combining these inputs, you can get a much clearer idea if of the exact values that are required to ensure a smoother workflow and a happier workplace. Once these values have been chosen, they can be rolled out into behavioural standards that can then be adopted to achieve the pre-set goals for a particular project.
In addition to this, adopted behavioural standards can be used to conduct self-assessments and ensure that employees are reaching their goals. Since every employee has been part of the value determining process, they are more likely to accept the values and work towards them which ultimately leads to better work and culture alignment.
Reward behavioural change
Introducing new values to any company is not always easy to do. Getting employees and other stakeholders to buy into new values or changes is critical to achieving the results that you are looking for. One way to encourage employees to accept new values is to reward behaviour that helps the company reach its goals.
This can be done by encouraging peer-to-peer recognition and by recognising individuals who are high performers. Remember that rewards that are directly associated with the values of the organisation carry much more weight than other rewards and can enhance the bond between employee and employer and promote loyalty.
Revisit core values often
We live in a fast-paced world and values can often change quickly. Simply creating core values for your organisation and then storing them somewhere in a drawer is not enough. Values should be revisited frequently to ensure that they remain in line with the current trends and needs of your organisation.
When setting values, it is important to keep the long-term goals of your organisation in mind. Setting goals is a process that requires inputs from various members of the organisation, ranging from the very top to the very bottom.
Evaluate company culture frequently
One of the most important steps to understanding company culture is frequently evaluating the way employees work and seeing how this can be improved.
You can look for specific signs, for example, employees who are very eager to get home at the end of the day may indicate that a change in culture is needed while employees who frequently stay longer may indicate that employees are satisfied with the company culture.
The best way to get an understanding of the company culture is to ask the employees for their input on the matter. This can be done via surveys or casual conversations.
Create a plan for improvement
Once you have a better idea of the current culture in your company, you can begin creating a plan to improve work culture alignment. This can be done by identifying the areas that require the most attention and prioritising them for a revamp.
Since some problems can be more severe than others, it is important to clearly prioritise the ones that require the most urgent attention and solve these problems first so that their impact on work culture alignment can be minimised as soon as possible.
Your plan should include a holistic approach and should take every department and/or sector of the company into consideration.
Keep tabs on progress
It is important to understand the progress that you are making towards achieving your goals. Without knowing whether you are hitting or missing the mark, it is impossible to adjust your efforts.
Regularly check for signs of improvement by asking employees for feedback and gathering data from other sources such as CRM systems. With this information in hand, you will have a clearer idea of what needs to be done to further improve the work culture alignment in your organisation.
Ensure that transparency is present
The satisfaction of employees and the rate at which they adopt work culture changes are greatly affected by how much trust they have in senior management. Trust can be earned by ensuring that transparency is king in your organisation.
While employees do not necessarily need to know about everything that is going on in an organisation, they need to be reassured that they can always rely on their direct managers to have their best interests at heart. By doing this, you will build loyalty to your organisation and ensure that more employees accept the work culture of your organisation.
Add flexibility where possible
Introducing concepts such as flexible work hours and remote working can go a long way towards creating a work culture that keeps employees engaged. In addition to this, it can also make employees feel more valued which builds stronger ties and helps employees to accept work culture with greater ease.
Work culture alignment is essential for the smooth running of every business. As more and more employers are recognising the advantages that creating a positive work culture brings, the focus on creating such a culture is also steadily increasing.
With this in mind, employees may well choose to work in an organisation that is known to have a good work culture. This can lead to employers who are not investing enough in work culture alignment losing out on the best prospects when it comes to recruiting new staff.
From this, it is clear that creating excellent work culture alignment should be a priority for every employer.