When it comes to corporate culture, there is no single solution that applies to all businesses. However, there are some steps you can take to improve your company culture.
What is company culture?
Company culture is a shared set of values, attributes, and characteristics of a company.
Companies may intentionally create their culture, or it may simply result from accumulating decisions over time. When an organisation has a strong culture, employees have a clear understanding of expectations and behaviours.
Businesses may value traditional, formal, or hierarchical management styles, while others value a team-oriented culture that emphasises employee engagement.
For example, a traditional management style means that your job responsibilities will be clearly defined. Still, you may not be able to advance without completing a formal promotion or transfer process. In a more casual workplace, employees can often work on new projects and have additional responsibilities.
An organisation’s culture will differ from one business to another since it reflects the company and the individuals within. As a result, the process of improving company culture will vary as well. To make improvements, you need to meet the expectations of your employees, address any serious issues, and align your efforts with company goals.
As you bring about changes to your culture, there are several things you can do to have a positive impact. Here are eight proven methods to improve your company culture.
Define your company values
Clarifying goals and values is an important part of creating a positive company culture.
Values guide everyone in the organisation in how they act, interact, and relate to one another. A good idea is to limit your company’s values so that employees will have a firm understanding of them. Rather than just communicating values, leaders also need to communicate the expectations relating to them.
To make sure that everyone aligns on responsibilities within a company, employees should know what to expect. It would benefit everyone if this were established ahead of time, preferably during the employee interview process.
Cultivating a healthy company culture is an essential aspect of managing your HR. It starts during the hiring process. When bringing in new employees, even if they’re part-time college students working remotely, it’s vital to ensure that they align with your company’s culture and values.
To communicate values, the manager must set an example. Every member of the organisation should embrace values, not just the frontline staff. To make values meaningful to frontline employees, they must see managers living them every day, creating a positive impact in the process. As the same goals guide all employees, they will manage tasks together to achieve objectives.
Try to be flexible
Over time, company cultures have evolved, but some companies still maintain their traditional workplace culture.
There are some problems with the traditional workplace cultures, despite their good qualities. Employees can have their creative freedom restricted. They also work strict pre-set hours and have to sit all day. This affects younger employees as they value artistic freedom and leisure, factors that can often affect their performance and efficiency.
Flexibility in the workplace can mean many things, including taking a sabbatical or working from home occasionally. Time management is more effective when employees can handle their time independently. Therefore, flexibility is the best option for everyone.
Prioritise effective feedback
Simply conducting annual reviews isn’t making feedback a priority for employees. As a manager working to improve your company culture, you should encourage your team to have regular feedback sessions so that employees will be able to act.
However, you shouldn’t stop at regular feedback sessions. Your employees should also be encouraged to give feedback whenever they need to regarding their ongoing work for the company. Following the implementation of a new initiative or software, ask your team what they think about it.
As a result, you will ensure that your decisions are beneficial to your company culture, and your employees will feel valued.
Giving your employees a platform to express themselves and share their experiences in your company is essential for good company culture. There are various ways to do this, including through your social media channels, team meetings, or even starting a podcast.
A company podcast is a great platform that employees can use to share their feedback, concerns, ideas, and anything else constructively and entertainingly.
Encourage strong team relationships
The key to success in any sport is good teamwork. The same can be said for your company, where you strive hard to reach one goal and vision together.
To work well as a team, you need a good working relationship. A great way to improve employee relationships is by organising team-building exercises.
Relationships drive engagement in the workplace, but it isn’t automatic. Strong coworker relationships come as a result of time, effort, and team-building activities.
An important part of this is social interaction. Make sure your employees have a place to relax and talk during breaks. As well as improve moods, taking breaks can also improve concentration. A good way to help your employees stay motivated and productive is to facilitate their ability to relax and connect during the day.
If you’re on teams that don’t normally interact, eating lunch together is one of the easiest ways to get to know your colleagues. It’s an easy and low-cost way to promote relationships.
One of the most common complaints to come out of employee focus groups is a lack of communication.
Managers are often surprised to hear this, as they feel that their teams are communicating with them. Usually, the problem is not how much communication is transmitted but how it’s transmitted.
Make sure that your words are clear and simple, considering your voice’s tone and body language. Ensure that the timing and setting are right. Your message should be conveyed in multiple channels and reinforced properly.
It’s important to remember that communication is a two-way street. Ensure that your employees understand your message by asking relevant questions. You could also create an internal newsletter with a compelling subject line that could be used for announcing updates.
Promote trust and transparency
Conflicts will inevitably arise in any company. Establishing trust within the organisation is essential to harmonious company culture, and key to improve your company culture.
The benefits of transparency extend beyond employees. Transparency in company culture impacts the entire organisation and produces highly engaged employees.
An organisation’s culture is shaped by trust and good company habits. In order to ensure that your team is communicating as best they can, your first step should be to ensure that they have the tools they need for open communication and transparency.
Working with multiple offices and remote employees can be difficult with outdated communication tools. You can leverage effective communication tools such as Zoom and its alternatives. Your team needs to be able to communicate easily with one another and share information efficiently.
Apart from enhancing communication and collaboration tools, another important step is to adopt a transparent culture on all levels.
Here are two ways to embody transparency at your organisation:
- Share success: Recognise and celebrate the accomplishments of the organisation, its teams, and its individuals.
- Share challenges: By talking openly about the challenges you and your company are facing, you’re allowing the team to develop solutions.
There is nothing more powerful than the combined ideas of several minds in solving complex challenges, especially when they come from different backgrounds.
Show employees that you care
Your company’s organisational culture can be improved by showing employees that you care about them as individuals.
Support them by listening to their needs and being available. Give your full attention and listen empathically so you can understand an employee’s perspective. Employees should always be respected and appreciated for the work they do.
Take the time to get to know your employees’ interests and passions. Communicate with them honestly and openly. This is an important factor in building trust.
As important as recognising individual contributions might be, celebrating company successes as a group is equally important. When employees feel like part of a team, they adopt an inclusive mentality. Including them in the celebration of major accomplishments increases transparency within the company.
Embrace employee autonomy
No one enjoys micromanagement at work.
There are few benefits to this approach. It’s inefficient, ineffective, and does little to inspire trust among your company’s employees. You should trust your employees to handle their responsibilities effectively on their own.
There are a few ways you can inspire employee autonomy, some of which include:
- Allowing employees to exercise choice
- Letting go of the 40-hour workweek concept
- Establishing autonomous work teams
- Creating decision-making opportunities
- Reining in overzealous bosses and coworkers
The more autonomy your team enjoys, the easier it is for them to make the sometimes difficult transition from being held accountable to owning and taking responsibility for projects.
It requires time and effort to establish and improve your company culture.
Things don’t just happen by themselves. For your culture to be effective, it must align with your mission and values. As companies evolve, their cultures do as well. This makes a truly amazing culture a constant work in progress.
About the Author
Vikas Kalwani is a product-led growth hacker and B2B Marketing Specialist skilled in SEO, Content Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. He works at uSERP and is a mentor at 500 Startups.