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How to Improve Company Culture

February 10th, 2020


What is company culture? Company culture is the personality of the company. It encompasses the company values, work environment, ethics, goals, customs, and the behaviors shared by a group of people. One in five Americans has left a job in the past five years due to bad company culture. This is why culture is important in the workplace because a happy employee is a more productive employee. Even the best companies have opportunities to improve their company culture.

Hire People Who Match Your Culture

During the interview process, managers can state the company values and ask questions about how the potential hire would relate to these values. This is a good question for all potential hires. (If this idea is new to you, searching the Internet for value-based interview questions will help you create your own questions based on the company values.) Avoid the common mistake of hiring people who all work and think in similar ways. Employees with different backgrounds, experiences, and opinions can strengthen your company’s vision and values with their fresh perspectives.

Treat Employees as Part of the Team

If you watch sports, you know teammates work together, encourage each other, and communicate often. Employees who see themselves as part of a team, rather than just a bunch of individuals, will work harder, share more ideas, feed off each other, and accomplish more together. This boosts the CAN DO attitude. About 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important”, yet only 18% of employees get communication evaluations at their performance reviews. In a collaborative team environment, feedback about more than tasks accomplished is another positive way to foster teamwork. Decision-makers should seek team opinions before making the final decision.

Invest in Employee Perks

Big campus companies like Google and Facebook as well as startup tech companies invest in employee perks. These vary greatly by company, but providing some perks shows employees that you are invested in them, even without the big dollar investments, like on-site health care or daycare. Some fun and inexpensive employee benefits could include: 

  1. Providing a game room. Allowing employees to play a game gives them a much-needed brain break! Video games, board games, ping-pong, pool, and more are usually a one-time investment that can boost morale.
  2. Implement a wellness program. A healthy employee is a benefit for the employee and the employer. You could offer discounted or partial reimbursement for gym memberships, prizes for completing an annual physical, group fitness classes, or an area for relaxing and meditation. 
  3. Free drinks and snacks. A coffee bar, soda fountain, and snacks allow the employees an opportunity to socialize and refuel. By having snacks in one central place, cross-department collaboration may naturally happen as well as friendly banter in the communal drink and snack station. 
  4. Consider flexible work hours, flexible time off, or unlimited PTO. Offering more flexible work hours helps boost employee creativity and productivity because they have more focused time to complete office requirements and flexible time to work on personal tasks. Doctor’s offices and dental offices rarely offer alternative appointment times, so allowing employees to come in later or leave earlier allows them to adapt as their days change. Another option some companies implement is flexible time off. This is time off that employees can take when they choose and they do not have to accrue the hours. This is especially helpful when new employees are hired before a traditional holiday vacation time. And finally, unlimited PTO is beneficial in a trusting environment. This fosters trust between the employee and employer, and many employers state this policy with a caveat that it may be taken away if abused. 

Reward employees for good performance. 

Recognition and appreciation are valuable tools to provide “shout-outs” to employees that go above and beyond. That implies that employees don’t need to be rewarded for every useful thing they do at work. But being valued and recognized allows employees to believe that management acknowledges their importance to the team. Recognition can be anything from a handwritten note, shout-out board, gift card for coffee or lunch, a day off with pay, reserved parking spot, and more are simple and cost-effective ways to show appreciation. Often the value of the reward is less important than sincerity. Know what your employees would consider valuable to them and customize if applicable.

Listen to feedback from all employees. 

You may think you have a stellar company culture and aren’t aware of any problems. Provide a way for employees to provide feedback or ideas. You never know what ideas they may have that can boost your morale even higher or resolve existing issues. And as mentioned before, provide a way for managers to give employees feedback on a more timely basis than annually. Many employees are unaware of what their supervisor thinks of them. Using an anonymous email survey can provide a benchmark of where to start when searching for areas to improve company culture. 

In today’s world, success depends on improving the culture at the right time and in the right way. Hire employees that follow your company values, create a feeling of teamwork, allow flexibility in the workday, and consider all feedback. Your company culture influences how your employees work and your customers perceive your business. Small steps to incorporate change will make a positive impact on bringing your business to the top. 

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