Company culture has become increasingly important in attracting job candidates and in creating employee satisfaction. This emphasis on company culture will continue to be important as younger generations enter the workforce.
Currently, millennials account for 30 percent of the workforce, and 86 percent of them would consider making less if it means their employer shares their ideals. And, according to a Mercer survey, Generation Z places more weight on office environment than on pay. With 61 million Generation Z-ers looking to enter the workforce in the next few years, a critical look at company culture is necessary to stay competitive. With this in mind, some companies are already making changes. Now the questions begs, where do you start?
Make your employees part of the process
1. Poll Your Employees
When working to construct a company culture that is beneficial to employees, make sure to include them in the process. No one knows your company culture better than the people who engage with it every day. They know what works and what doesn’t and are a great source of information about the quality and status of your company culture. Use this to your advantage and ask your employees to share their thoughts about your company’s culture. Encourage honesty without repercussion and use this feedback to make changes to your culture that your employees actually want to see.
2. Keep Your Employees in the Loop
“Honesty is the best policy” isn’t just an old adage. Keeping your employees informed is an important aspect of company culture. When you keep communications channels open, you foster trust between you and your employees. By doing so, you create the kind of culture where employees feel valued and invested. You want your employees to believe in their work and the company as a whole.
3. Thank Your Employees
Employees want to be recognized for the work they do, and thankless work only serves to sap enthusiasm. Employees want to know that their work is noticed and creating a work culture where this is the norm fulfills that need. Showing appreciation also helps employees understand their value within the organization. When you thank them for the work they do, your employees will know that they are doing work that matters, fostering a positive work culture. At Camp Corral, we do our best to recognize everyone for the work they do by sharing the feedback we get from the camp families we serve. Hearing directly from the people we serve really gives meaning to the work we do every day. It also strengthens our identity and helps us maintain a positive culture in the office.
Make the Commitment
1. Bring on the Right People
Company culture starts with your employees. In order to ensure that employees are invested and engaged with your organization’s ideals, you need to start at the hiring process. Make your values clear during the hiring process and include it as part of your criteria when evaluating job candidates. Ask yourself if this person will exemplify company values as a member of the workplace. Will they add to or detract from the culture you’re trying to promote?
2. Hold Employees Accountable
In the same way that it is important to bring on employees who embody your ideals, there should be processes in place to maintain company culture amongst current employees as well. If there is a culture, but no one really fosters it, does the culture exist at all? As an organization, you should ensure that employees engage with the culture and help to foster its longevity. Your work environment shouldn’t just be an ideal that you reference on occasion or advertise on your website. It should be an expectation for your employees and company to continuously achieve. And, it is your job as leadership to encourage them to do just that.
4. Embody the Values as a Leader
If you have the expectation that your employees are going to adhere to the culture you put forth, you should have the same expectation for yourself. Lead your organization by example and show your employees what it means to live by the values of your organization. Your employees should look to you as a model, and they should be proud to have you as the leader of your organization. If you fail to meet the standards that you set for your employees, their faith in you and your organization suffers, eroding the culture you are working to create. As CEO, I always try to set an example for my employees. I firmly believe that I can’t expect them to act a certain way at work if I don’t expect the same for myself. I believe that acting out Camp Corral’s values inside and outside the organization increases the respect that others have for me and for my organization.
Creating and implementing a good work environment isn’t a quick or easy process. It takes thick skin to handle the constructive criticism from employees and stamina to stay the course through challenges and setbacks. But, once you have embedded the culture into your organizational identity you will see important improvements in various sectors of your business. The investment in your culture now will pay dividends in the future.