I’m consistently surprised by how much an organization is willing to spend on a new, flashy logo, yet how little so many are willing to spend on employee engagement. Last month, I wrote about how company culture is more important than your brand. This month, I want to follow up with ways you can implement initiatives to strengthen your company culture, have happier employees and ultimately a more profitable business.
If you believe, as I do, that your employees truly are your most valuable asset, you will do whatever you can to help them do their jobs as well as possible.
– Harvey Mackay
An instructor once told my class when an employee feels respected and happy at their job, that’s when they “volunteer” or begin to do more than just the bare minimum of their job description. So the question to follow is, how do we get employees to volunteer?
So what is company culture? It’s the personality of the company. It’s how employees interact with each other, their managers and direct reports. A good company culture that aligns with employee’s personal values energizes teams to work towards a shared purpose.
Company culture is also the way work seeps into our personal lives and co-exists with our time out of the workplace. If employees are going home every day feeling defeated and frustrated, the culture will inherently be negative. If employees go home capable of leaving the work day at work or are happily sharing parts of work with others, you’re more likely to have a positive culture. But regardless of where your culture is, I have four tactics to increase positivity and get the most of out your employees.
Tactic 1: Inform
Use strategic internal communications to keep your employees informed with what’s going on in the company. Regular meetings or newsletters are great informative tools. They’re also opportunities to acknowledge outstanding employees and hard work. Whatever this ends up looking like, make it light-hearted and engaging. Don’t just have people sit around you while you read company updates off a paper. Bring snacks, play some games or open up a dialogue for a thoughtful discussion. Engagement is key here.
Tactic 2: Involve
Involve your employees in the decision-making process when you can. For example, if your organization regularly raises money for charity, ask for employee input on which charity should be next, and why.
Or you can implement a book club, choosing books related to your industry. You can also create a public Pinterest board that employees can share and post to. This tactic is also a great way to weave the company’s mission and values into the employee’s day-to-day.
Tactic 3: Reinforce
If you’re an HR pro, you know that positive reinforcement is more effective than negative reinforcement. Thanking your employees for working hard is a good start, but go further. If your employees worked really hard on a long project, thank them by giving them an afternoon off. Acknowledgment is key and a little goes a long way.
Tactic 4: Train
Give your employees the tools they need to constantly grow in your company and industry. The book club mentioned in Tactic 2 can also come into play here. Pay for experts to come in and speak to your employees or pay for a class they can all take and learn from. Employees perform better when their employer puts resources into employee learning and growth. Not every company can afford to send employees to conventions, but if you can get a local expert in to talk about a new perspective on something, that will go a long way.
If your workplace is in the depths of culture rot, it might be time to hold a meeting with all employees and open the dialogue. Give employees a safe space to talk about their concerns and offer suggestions on how they think it can be improved. Let them know they have been heard.
If employees aren’t speaking up, don’t blame them—blame the culture.
It’s not enough to create a suggestion box. Leaders need to stop punishing voice and start rewarding (1) raising problems and (2) proposing ideas and improvements.
– Adam Grant
Regardless of the size of your organization, company culture initiatives are essential to highly productive employees. The more you respect and invest in them, the more efficient and happy your workers are, and in turn, the more profitable your business is.
If you need help analyzing your company culture and creating a cohesive strategy, give us a shout.