10 Very Simple Ways To Improve Your Company Culture
Are you losing employees faster than you can blink? Do you routinely get bad reviews from your employees on company surveys? If so, you need to read this article!
Hopefully, you understand the importance of having a company culture that people want to be involved with. If you want to keep it strong or if you want to change it for the better, then this guide will help you.
I will list ten things you can do right now, to start building a stronger company culture that is guaranteed to win your employees over for the long term!
1.) You must have a transparent culture!
One of the things I have always embraced in the companies I have formed is transparency. I am a person that would rather be honest with employees than to spend my time worrying about how to hide things. When employees feel like they can’t get the truth out of senior management regarding the direction of the company or the state of the company, then nasty rumours start circulating. When people start forming a culture of talking behind people’s backs, then teams and relationships begin to crumble with it.
See Related Article: How To Build Your Company On Transparency!
When you give your employees insight into your company’s operations and future, you are giving your employees a voice. They start building trust for you and the organization, and they feel like they are part of the success of the company.
You don’t have a great company culture if you don’t have TRUST.
A few ways you can implement a company culture based on trust is to allow communication tools such as Skype, Slack, HipChat or Yammer. When people can easily communicate with each other and give instant information that is critical to performing their jobs, then you have removed a significant communication barrier.
Our company’s Allshore Virtual Staffing (USA), DatumSquare IT Services (Pakistan) and Zeppelin Communications (Pakistan) operate in four different offices, yet we are connected as if we are one because of Skype. Our communication standards and procedures are so detailed that no team member is ever left behind or unable to do their jobs because of how we have our Skype rooms and ERP system set up.
We thrive on transparency, and it creates a tight-knit company culture where everyone trusts each other.
One great way to always default to transparency is to do this.
Next time you hesitate about sharing a piece of information, ask yourself, “is it necessary to hide this information?” instead of asking yourself, “is it necessary to share this information.”
One of the first ways you can start on your road to being a more transparent company is to share your team’s successes. If you follow GoPakistan.com, you know that I never keep it a secret when a team member gets praise from a client. We LOVE praises, and we share them with the company and the world. It’s such a huge motivational boost for the entire team to see a job well done.
Another way is to share your challenges. When you share your company challenges with your employees, you give them a chance to think of ways to help the company. I guarantee you that one person can’t solve every solution, so it’s best to have your team offer their solutions. Some people will have to swallow a lot of pride to ask for help, but those leaders that do, have stronger companies because of it.
2.) Recognize and reward employee contributions.
It is not a secret that companies with a recognition-rich company culture have dramatically lower employee turnover rates.
Companies with a recognition-rich culture experience around a 31 percent lower employee turnover rate. Can you imagine how much a 31% reduction in your turnover rate would save you? In our company, it’s excruciating when an engaged developer working with a client decides to leave. We have the stress of wondering if the client will allow us to replace the developer, we have a fear of wondering if the new developer and the client will gel, and we have the burden of finding a new developer with the right skills sets. Employee turnover is NO fun, and a company leader MUST do everything to prevent it as much as possible.
If you would like to see a massive reduction in your turnover rate, then you can instill an employee recognition program! Have measurable, attainable and easily identifiable goals and benchmarks in which your employees can strive to reach. Identify those that best align with your company’s vision, goals and values and recognize those efforts frequently. Let other employees see the recognition given, so they to can strive to achieve the same status.
We also want other employees to recognize the people that go above and beyond the call of duty. Positive reinforcement from everyone, not just the top, is a powerful motivational tool.
Peer recognition is a fantastic way to build strong relationships amongst coworkers. It also reduces managerial overhead by ensuring everyone gets recognized for their efforts.
3.) Encourage strong relationships among co-workers.
When you encourage an open and inclusive environment in your workplace, you lay the soil and seeds for having strong connected teams that thrive by working together. A well-connected work environment starts at the top. If the leader is an open person, willing to share and talk to all levels of the company, then other people will follow suit. You shouldn’t want your employees to scatter every time you come near.
Think about your work environment. Is your office an open floor plan, designed to allow people to see each other and engage in meaningful conversations? When people have to interact with each other by “chance” or “unplanned” interactions, then they truly get to know each other better. This personal connectivity builds a foundation on which successful teams thrive.
Other ways you can build team bonding is by having your company sponsor “fun and entertainment” events. Getting people socializing outside of work is another excellent way for them to bond to each other and the company.
If you are not the social type of leader like I am, then appoint an extroverted person in your company that is. Get them thinking about ways in which people want to interact with each other. The person you designate with an outgoing personality will have a much easier time planning fun and engaging events because of their extroverted nature.
4.) Embrace and inspire employee autonomy.
Allow your employees the chance to shine without being micromanaged. Make your organization results oriented and make sure you give your employees all the tools they need to reach your desired results. Nobody likes a micromanager and, in fact, you decrease company productivity by doing so.
How do you get your employees to embrace accountability instead of you having to hold them accountable?
You do this first by hiring the right people. You have to employ self-motivated people that have critical thinking skills. If you hire people that do not have these qualities, then you will severely hurt your chances of having a results-oriented working environment.
Secondly, you need to be specific about your targets, goals, and metrics you want your employees to reach. Too often, I see business owners that do not have any clue as to what they want their employees to achieve. If the leaders don’t know, then how will the employees know what to do. Make sure you have a clear vision of what targets you need your employees to hit for your company to be successful.
Thirdly, you need to ensure you give your employees proper training and all of the resources they need to reach your goals. You can’t tell someone what you desire from them and not provide them with any idea on how to achieve your desired goal. Have systems and processes written down on their tasks, have written goals and desired outputs you need from them and the date and time you need it completed.
Lastly, give your employees space to either sink or swim. If they sink, investigate why they sank. Did they sink because of something they did or was it due to lack of information or resources from you? Fix the problem, coach the employee and let them try again. If they sink again, do the same investigation. If they continue to sink, then see if that employee can fulfill a different role in the company, if not, then it’s not a right fit.
5.) Practice Being Flexible.
One great way to improve office morale is to have a flexible culture. When I say be flexible, I mean, understand that things come up in your employees lives and they need the flexibility to attend to those things. If a child is sick and needs to go the doctor, then you would be much better off understanding the need of your employee and letting them take care of that need. If you don’t, then the employee feels trapped and they feel like they can’t provide basic needs for their family’s care. Then they start to look at your company as the culprit and will look for family oriented companies that understand the need for mother or father to be able to take their child to the doctor.
Workplace flexibility can also mean allowing your employees the opportunity to work from home if they have a strong need to do so, or giving a few extra hours for lunch if the employee has to take care of personal needs. Companies can afford to be much more flexible today than they could 20 years ago due to smartphones. Employees can quickly answer calls, respond to emails, or even perform a lot of work functions anywhere due to smartphones. If you are the type of results-oriented boss that I speak of in section 4 above, then you have no problem with this as long as they accomplish your company’s set targets and goals.
6.) Let your purpose and passion shine through to your employees!
Make sure your employees view their work as impactful and meaningful. I had this issue several years ago when a group in my company thought their roles didn’t matter. They didn’t have much passion for their work because they felt if they tried harder in their job then it wouldn’t matter at all. When I found this out, I was shocked. Not only did I view their jobs as meaningful to the company, I considered their roles as one of the three most crucial pillars to make my business model work.
What I realized is that I had done a poor job in explaining my passion for creating their roles in the company. I failed to let them know how meaningful and impactful everything they do is to the success of the company. So you see, instead of getting angry with them for having a lackadaisical attitude towards their job, I investigated deeper to find out it was MY FAULT for not inspiring them to be as passionate as me. Now they love their jobs, they realize how much weight they have on our success, and they take their jobs much more seriously.
The better you know your employees and their goals and aspirations, the better you can help them adapt to their roles. Maybe you have someone that wants to teach others, yet they are doing a data entry job. Well, find little ways to get them educating and training other people in your company on any particular subjects where people need extra help. By observing your employee’s passions, you will keep their desires satisfied and also benefit the company in other ways.
7.) Promote a team atmosphere.
Everyone that is in a company belongs to a team. It’s the leadership’s job to ensure people feel this way. Now inside of the primary “company” team, you will have smaller teams, and you will need to find ways for the smaller teams to gel and work closely with each other.
We do this by having fun competitions among each team in the office. We have them compete against each other at: table tennis, least amount of company incidents, the team with most client praises, etc. While we promote team compitition, we also make sure that everyone understands that we are one company and one team.
Teams can become dysfunctional, however, if you have ego-centric people in them. These people like to take all of the credit for the team’s success and require multiple praises to fulfill their egos. As a leader, you must instruct your managers to look for these types of behaviors and correct them as fast as possible. Nothing kills a team’s morale more quickly than egotistical maniacs running rampant in your company.
Bottom line, use the term “team” instead of “employees.” People will automatically feel a part of a larger group and want to be an integral part of the success of the team!
8.) Give and solicit regular feedback.
If you want the actual best from your employees, you should give them frequent feedback. Whether it’s corrective feedback or positive feedback, employees need to know where they stand. By providing feedback often and in a positive way, you will be able to shape and guide your TEAM into being solid performers that won’t need many directions from you after a few coaching sessions. However, don’t stop giving positive feedback to reinforce positive behaviors.
Once per year feedback is NOT enough, give feedback often and make sure you do it in a positive and coaching way! (Big key to my success right there!)
The best managers and leaders are coaches first. They listen to their employees’ problems, and they facilitate ways to solve those problems and coach employees out of the problem.
9.) Always stay true to the company’s core values.
What are your company’s core values? These values define who your company is and why you are in business. Values also explain to what extent you care about your customers and employees. These core values are your company’s DNA. Stay true to them and keep others true to them as well.
A company’s core values are a direct reflection of the founder’s core values. They are not something that is half-sketched up and written down on a napkin; they are the pillars of your company’s existence.
Lolly Daskal wrote a great article for Huffington Post about company core values. In it, she described the concept perfectly:
“Your values determine what is important and meaningful to you. They align with your purpose, and speak loudly and passionately to others — and to yourself — about who you are and what you’re called to do in this world.”10.
10. Invest your time and effort into building your company culture!
Your company culture is the key to having a vibrant and motivated workforce that wants to help your company succeed. When should you start to build a company culture? The answer is… Before you start a company!
Once you have written down these three highly essential items, you can start to build and mold your company to fit them. If you fail to put in the time and energy into building your company culture, you will be left with a company that people won’t want to put in their full efforts, and neither will you.
Remember, you never stop building and encouraging a strong company culture. It’s a work in progress, and it mimics the company’s leadership and their actions.
I’ll tell you the highlights of the company culture I set out to build when I started Allshore Virtual Staffing. My partner in Pakistan, Raheel Afzal, and I decided very quickly that we wanted a family oriented company culture. We wanted to be positive role models that offered to coach employees instead of being harsh and strict. We also wanted to instill a value of accountability amongst our team, and we did this by holding ourselves accountable when we made mistakes. I quickly and easily admit my mistakes when I make them, and when people in our company see their leader as an honest person that is not driven by ego, then they want to be in that team for the duration.
My companies enjoy HIGH retention rates because of everything you read in this post. I hope you too can enjoy the same successes if you implement some of the ideas shown here.