Countless factors contribute to a company’s success, but few are more important than company culture. That said, talking about company culture and creating one worth sustaining are two separate things. Whether you’re a hiring manager, a budding entrepreneur, or someone looking to understand what company your skills and mentality would mesh best with, this quick read is for you.
Here’s everything you need to know about cultivating a nurturing company culture.
Why Company Culture Matters
If your office or digital storefront is the body of the company and your employees are the brains, then company culture is the soul of an organization. It’s what motivates people to show up consistently and do their best. It’s what inspires loyalty, improves retention, and sets your organization apart from its competition. Positive company culture is undoubtedly irreplaceable and possibly only second in importance to profitability.
You could recruit all the best minds and use cutting-edge equipment, but the organization is doomed to fail if no one wants to be there. It’s often said if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. And anyone working in a field they enjoy understands the truth of that statement.
Building a company culture is akin to turning any job into one an employee can love. Plus, there’s a proven connection between productivity and company culture, with employee performance improving upwards of 13% when they enjoy their jobs.
How To Create A Positive Company Culture
Creating a positive company culture is accomplished with the following steps.
Establish your Core Values: This can be summed up as figuring out what your company stands for. What is the overall goal besides just profitability? Are you committed to providing exemplary service? Do you seek to push the envelope in your field by innovating new solutions to old problems? No one can answer those questions besides you and the upper levels of your management.
Remember that establishing core values is more than just throwing words on paper. It’s about ensuring there’s action behind the words. If you’re an entrepreneur, then what made you start your business in the first place? Once you figure that out, you can cement what your company stands for. You can have as many core values as you want, but the average company has approx 5-10.
Prioritize Synergy: Synergy is a word thrown around more than is understood and far less than implemented. When building company culture, synergy is the ability of multiple employees and departments to work and collaborate toward the same goal. This is crucial. We’ve all worked in places where it felt like each department was its own team and everyone else was an outsider. Pitting departments against each other may net short-term gains but at the cost of long-term collaboration.
One of the best ways to prioritize synergy is by encouraging open and honest communication between departments. Does the marketing team understand what makes a particular product stand out? If not, have them meet with the designers and the sales department. Does I.T. know when the best time to roll out an update is? Have them meet with project managers to figure it out. You can build communication into standard procedures as well. Alternatively, company-wide retreats or monthly multi-department meetings are an option.
Lead by Example: It’s human nature to expect our superiors to set an example. This means hiring executive leadership whose goals align with your predefined core values or at least hiring executives who understand your values’ reasoning and are as committed to them as anyone. If your core value includes providing service that goes above and beyond, then higher-level staff must, in turn, go above and beyond for their team.
Nurture, not Punishment: Every company, regardless of culture, has a few bad apples that may not be the best fit for their role. But the first line of defense for the average employee shouldn’t be punishment, PIPs, etc. Improve your retention and employee enjoyment by having managers figure out the root of the problem first. Is an employee chronically late? Maybe they have a baby. They may rely on public transport or other factors that don’t reflect their work ethic. The only way to know for sure is to ensure their manager can have an open and honest conversation with them. The solution may be having their shift start later or offering remote options.
Create Paths to Advancement: Few employees stay at companies with no opportunity for advancement. That’s especially true for hardworking employees who eventually realize they can make more money working for a competitor. You can fix the problem by promoting from within whenever possible. Another option is offering partial scholarships for industry-relevant licenses and degrees.
Create a Safe Space: Safe space is a new name for an old concept. The concept of “No dumb questions” aligns with a nurturing, not punishing, and prioritizing synergy, which means letting employees spitball ideas until a solution is found.
Sure, not every idea will be compelling, but you’ll be that much closer to finding one that will while also sparking new thoughts among the team. Ultimately, a safe space is one in which everyone feels welcome, and their ideas matter to at least some degree. Check out our article on Maslow’s Hierarchy to learn about the connection between being respected by peers and performing well at work.
Ensure Employees Understand the Role They Play: Building company culture is done by more than just the executive leadership. Employees have to understand how they help. Whether that’s how new employees are trained by old ones, or the attitude needed in the workplace, the responsibility to create a nurturing environment is also on them.
Adaptability: Long-lasting companies have one thing in common, their ability to adapt to societal shifts, market changes, and anything that comes their way. You have to be able to make decisions based on the data you’ve provided. But how do you know how far is too far? How do you know what your company will be after overcoming this new challenge? Refer to your core values. As the saying goes, stand for nothing, and you may fall for everything. Use your company values to stay the course.
What Else Contributes To Employee Happiness?
Building company culture and employee happiness goes hand in hand. The modern employee expects a few perks to come with the job, including but not limited to the following.
Health Benefits: These days, everyone expects health insurance, and considering how expensive even routine procedures are, this should be no surprise. If your employee wants to start a family, they’ll be more than happy to switch to a position that can afford them the benefits needed for checkups, ultrasounds, etc. This is just one of countless examples.
Hybrid Work Opportunities: Only some jobs can be done remotely, but for roles like marketing, project management, accounting, etc., affording those employees the option to work from home occasionally is enormous!
Raises: There’s no way around it; even the best workplace will lose workers if they can’t afford them. With housing prices skyrocketing and interest rates rising, living costs are at an all-time high. And the simple fact is an intelligent employee knows the best way to get a significant raise is by switching employers every few years. The best employers stay abridged of cost of living changes and build in yearly raises to keep their employees. While hiring a new person at a lower rate may seem cheaper, it won’t be once the cost of training, the hiring process, and production factors catch up.
How To Communicate Company Culture To New Recruits
Wondering how to attract new employees and communicate company culture to new recruits? The best way is by having a company culture worth noticing. We’ve all held jobs where managers use phrases like “We’re a family here.” or “Work hard, play hard.” The modern worker knows that these are little more than red flags that indicate overworked employees and managers that test professional boundaries. Even if your workplace is actually as close as family, it’s better to show it rather than tell it. That said, a tangible way to communicate company culture is to utilize social media.
Many employers forget that candidates are interviewing employers as much as they’re questioning the candidate. That means the ideal employee has likely searched your LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Put your best foot forward by ensuring that significant company events are online.
Show Off Your Culture To New Recruits
The best way to show your culture off to recruits is by giving them a tour of the office space or, for those without a brick-and-mortar location, letting them shadow a Zoom call. If you’ve built an ideal workplace, the recruit will notice that just as quickly as they’d see a toxic, unprofessional environment.
Don't Underestimate Company Culture
Building a company culture to be positive and nurturing is what separates the average business from a thriving one. You’ll improve retention, boost productivity, enhance reputation, and more. There’s no downside to having a positive company culture. That said, it’s not the company that makes the culture; it’s the employees. Start on the right foot by hiring the ideal candidate quicker and retaining them longer. And a big part of that is the interview process. That’s how KarmaCheck can help. You’ll streamline the hiring process with our fast, reliable API and background check system. Reach out today to build a company culture that lets you stand out.