In any company, a clearly defined business culture is crucial to the productivity of its employees. Without an easy-to-understand set of expectations, it can be difficult for people to work with one another. You understand the importance of company culture, but what if something just isn’t working the way you think it should? How do you take a culture that’s lagging and breathe new life into it?
1. Be More Transparent
Transparency has become something of a buzzword in business, but committing to true transparency can boost both your business and your employees’ satisfaction. More than simply being honest, business transparency is about how much and how quickly information is available to workers and customers. Transparency is about trust, and showing your employees that you trust them with company successes and problems will help them trust you in return.
2. Recognize Employees' Achievements
In an article for Forbes, contributor Josh Bersin draws on research done by his company, Bersin & Associates, and writes, “Companies that scored in the top 20% for building a "recognition-rich culture" actually had 31% lower voluntary turnover rates.” By recognizing the achievements of your employees, coworkers, department, and company as a whole, you can help each worker feel more motivated and empowered to reach for greater things. The best part of recognition-rich cultures is that they work best when recognition comes from everyone, not just management. Doing some work to encourage recognition now could create a more positive business culture for years to come.
3. Foster Strong Work Relationships
You don’t need to become best friends with everyone at your company. In fact, attempts to do so can often seem inauthentic. You should, however, pursue meaningful and genuine relationships with your employees and coworkers, and create both space and time for others to communicate and bond with one another. Try setting aside some time to speak with someone every day, or changing your workspace to encourage productive encounters. It may surprise you how much people will open up.
4. Encourage Employee Autonomy and Flexibility
Some people prefer more hands-on management, while others feel smothered by frequent check-ins. Some people do their best work in teams or groups, while others would rather work independently. Setting expectations for these things is a good first step, but you should also consider letting your employees decide how they work best. Flexible hours and the ability to take on additional projects or tasks that employees may be passionate about could go a long way in empowering the people at your company.
5. Give (and ask for) Regular Feedback
Everyone feels good about a job well done, so it’s vital to offer regular feedback. Annual, or even quarterly, reviews may not be doing enough to help your employees learn and grow in their positions. By giving constructive feedback on specific projects, you open lines of communication with your workers and create an honest and productive work environment. Remember, this goes both ways. Encourage employees and peers to give you feedback, as well, and keep an open mind about changing the way you do things.
6. Listen Carefully
Most importantly, listen to your employees, coworkers, and peers. Ask for their suggestions on how you can make their work experience better, and plan improvement strategies with them. While talking to the people around you, try to set aside your personal and professional goals and practice active listening. Encouraging a culture of empathy and understanding is the best strategy to improve company culture.
Your company’s culture is like its personality, and for you and your employees to do their best work, you need to be able to get along. Listen to everyone in your business about what works and what doesn’t, and don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Ultimately, it comes down to what the people on your team need, so it’s impossible to have just one solution. Show your company that you care, and everyone will flourish.