As businesses contemplate the year ahead, recruiting and retaining great people is an issue that’s top of mind for many. Following the “Great Resignation” of 2021, there’s currently a shortage of available talent. According to a new report from Glassdoor
, the tight labor market trends are set to continue through 2022.
For these reasons, forward-looking organizations hoping to win the war for talent put company culture at the heart of their business strategies. A recently published article by Forbes asserted that 2022 will be “The Year of Workplace Culture.”
At Ideal Outcomes, we couldn’t agree more.
In this article, we’ll outline why we believe nurturing and investing in your company culture needs to be at the top of your business agenda now more than ever. We’ll also explore some actionable steps and strategies you can leverage to chart your course forward.
According to the Harvard Business Review
, company culture is an expression of an organization’s values and beliefs reflected through shared assumptions and group norms within the workplace.
An organization’s culture isn’t a one-dimensional concept. It encompasses everything from the organization’s mission, purpose, values, and ethics – all the way to the physical working environment.
To sum it up briefly, company culture is “the way we do things around here.”
A strong workplace culture can be an organization’s most powerful asset, setting the tone and context for everything it does.
Take a read through this article if you’d like a deeper dive into the definition of company culture and the different types of organizational cultures that exist in businesses today.
The rewards of fostering and sustaining a winning culture manifest in multiple ways. First, your employees will be happy. Employees want to work at a place where there’s a positive vibe, people treat one another with respect, and management always does the right thing. It’s basic human nature.
It also helps with employee retention. People who enjoy this kind of workplace experience day in and day out will be less inclined to leave the organization or seek work elsewhere. What’s more, they’ll spontaneously sing your praises to their friends, family, and professional networks. This will mean you’re more likely to find like-minded candidates considering you as their next employer of choice.
When it comes to team dynamics, companies with strong cultures enjoy greater levels of internal collaboration. Projects are executed faster, more cooperatively, and with minimal conflict.
Organizations with a positive workplace culture also have more satisfied customers, as the employees they interact with are generally more motivated and happy. Customers will quickly pick up on negativity and any signs of workplace toxicity.
Conversely, a poor culture can bring a business to its knees. When people are disillusioned or disengaged, the organization can expect to see high levels of staff turnover, less collaboration and innovation, stalled execution, and strained customer relationships, all of which will inevitably hit their bottom line.
Now that we’ve outlined what company culture is and why you need to prioritize it, let’s look at some ways you can build a great one.
It falls to leaders to champion and drive the corporate culture agenda. That being said, these efforts must be authentic and sustained. Company culture isn’t something you can delegate to your internal communications team and then forget about. Part of a leader’s role involves being thoroughly transparent in their actions and words and always acting with integrity and humility.
Too many organizations make the mistake of focusing solely on prospective candidates’ qualifications and prior work experience when making hiring decisions. While it’s vital that you hire people who can perform their roles competently, the last thing you want is someone who will feel like “a square peg in a round hole” in your organization. A good way to gauge whether a candidate will be a good cultural fit is to ask a few of their would-be peers to conduct or sit in on their interviews.
Once you’ve identified and hired the right employees, make them feel welcome, create a great first impression, and set them up for success. Onboarding isn’t just about people learning the layout of the office or getting up to speed on new systems and processes; it’s also the time when newcomers are taught about the organization’s norms, values, and expected behaviors. So, make sure that all your new hires have early job experiences that reinforce your culture.
Most people have an inherent desire to better themselves and grow personally and professionally. Companies with strong cultures don’t regard their employees as “inventory.” Work with your human resources team to optimize learning and development programs. Mentorship and “buddy” programs are other options to consider.
Never underestimate the importance of open lines of communication. Communication should be frequent, iterative, and happen cross-functionally and bi-directionally within the business. When leaders share information, strategies, progress, and even challenges with their people, employees feel that they matter. As a result, they’re more likely to be loyal and engaged.
People are most motivated when they feel that others appreciate their hard work and their extra effort is being noticed. Employee recognition programs are a great way to acknowledge and reward high-performing individuals and teams. Such initiatives are proven to reinforce positive behaviors and outcomes that contribute to the organization’s overall performance.
In the modern business context, a “command-and-control” attitude about where and how people work is no longer fit for purpose. People want to work for companies that appreciate they have a personal life. Offering employees a level of flexibility will go a long way to growing their loyalty and contributing to the organization’s overall cultural climate. This flexibility might take the form of a parent stepping out for a few hours to watch a child’s soccer game, allowing people to work from home, or even enabling workers to take a short sabbatical.
Of course, leaders and managers should be clear with their teams that the company is a place where hard work is expected. However, part of sustaining a positive workplace atmosphere is allowing time for relaxation and fun. Schedule informal social events or team-building activities where people can get to know each other better on a personal level.
Follow our simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to reaping the many benefits of a flourishing company culture that supports your employees and advances your business goals.
Ideal Outcomes stands ready to help. Our game-changing culture change plan provides a roadmap for getting employees aligned, engaged, and empowered in your business.
If you’d like to speak to one of our team of seasoned company culture consultants, please get in touch.