"What's your culture like?"
It’s a question any HR person is likely to encounter while interviewing candidates. you've probably heard quite often during interviews. Now our question for you is, do you have a good response? Can you demonstrate that your company has a thriving workplace culture?
A strong company culture is about more than how many ping-pong tables you have in the office or whether your company has a bottomless supply of coffee. It's about how well you manage the human side of your business. It takes thought, effort, and planning to create a culture that generates a positive employee experience.
Building a successful corporate culture starts with understanding the needs of your employees and making sure they feel valued. With the right strategies, you can build on that foundation to retain a happy workforce that strives for business success.
- Establish Shared Core Values
Establishing shared core values is a crucial first step to building a company culture. These values typically reflect the company's mission, provide guidance for employees, and help create an atmosphere of collaboration and motivation throughout the organization.
When developing your company values, it's important to be authentic and ensure they sincerely represent your organization’s aspirations. One way to do this is by getting everyone involved in the process — invite your employees to contribute their ideas instead of simply issuing your values from up on high. Doing so will not only help generate values that people can get behind but also set the tone for the collaborative work environment you value.
- Prioritize Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)
Embracing DEIB helps everyone feel accepted and respected regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, or other aspects of their identity. When employees know they belong as their authentic selves, it enables productive and collaborative communication.
In addition, companies that implement diversity and inclusion policies tend to see an increase in innovation and creativity. Having a variety of perspectives allows teams to think outside the box and come up with unique solutions.
Creating an inclusive environment starts with the hiring process. Training hiring managers to recognize unconscious bias helps ensure that qualified candidates are given fair and equal consideration.
Other ways to champion DEIB include:
- Using inclusive language in company emails, Slack, websites, and job postings.
- Providing accessible bathrooms and work environments to ensure all employees feel comfortable in their space.
- Implementing resource groups where employees can freely express themselves with other like-minded people.
- Encouraging open dialogue for constructive conversations around DEIB topics to reinforce acceptance within the organization.
- Celebrate Successes, Big and Small
Acknowledging all wins, no matter how big or small, boosts employee morale and increases their personal satisfaction and pride in their work. Publicly recognizing individual success stories can also inspire others in the workplace. When we see our peers succeed, it can motivate and drive us to do our best work.
Developing and implementing a recognition program is an effective way to reward employees for their accomplishments. This could include monthly awards, performance bonuses, or small tokens of appreciation. And you can try setting up 'Thank You' walls or boards that feature shout-outs to recognize team and individual success stories.
You can also reward employees for their hard work with perks like spot bonuses or extra paid time off. Another option is to announce wins during meetings or celebrate exciting milestones at a happy hour. The key is to make this style of praise consistent so that it becomes a habit for all team members to give out kudos where it's due!
- Foster a Transparent Work Environment
Transparency at work can increase employee engagement and build mutual trust. Open communication channels across teams and departments reduce silos that stagnate progress and prevent teamwork. This could include sharing financial results or holding regular meetings to get project feedback.
The key is to create a space where everyone is on the same page about company goals, objectives, and expectations. In this way, teams can move ahead faster with better results.
To foster transparency, being open and honest in your communications with your team is vital. Whether that means asking for employee feedback or increasing visibility on projects and decisions, consider centralizing information about important changes on a companywide intranet. For example, you can publish monthly updates for the whole company or hold Q&As in meetings with the senior leadership team.
- Give Employees Autonomy
Another way to build a successful culture is to give your staff decision-making power and ownership over projects or tasks. A sense of autonomy positively affects employee wellbeing and job satisfaction, according to a study from the University of Birmingham.
To encourage autonomy within your organization, consider assigning areas of responsibility (AORs) to your team members. This involves giving staff opportunities to own important areas and grow as leaders. AORs encourage independent thinking by allowing employees to explore new ideas and express themselves.
Whether you roll out AORs or attempt a different approach, try to give employees the chance to experiment with new solutions. Don't be afraid to let people have the space to try something different. Other way to foster autonomy in your workforce include:
- Creating small cross-functional teams to promote knowledge and skill sharing.
- Setting goals and expectations rather than giving specific instructions.
- Encouraging employees to take the initiative and speak up about their ideas.
- Implementing a mentorship program for seasoned employees to guide new hires.
Building a Healthy Culture
Every organization's culture is going to look slightly different. But there's one mindset we believe an exemplary company culture has: An emphasis on employee health and wellbeing.
As you embark on your culture-building journey, consider prioritizing wellness. Offering group wellness activities can help build camaraderie among your team, reduce stress, and allow employees to recharge. Emphasizing the importance of work-life wellness also shows your employees how much you care for their wellbeing. Demonstrating this level of care and support for team members will go a long way in shaping a great culture.
You can build a culture around wellness and show your support for employees in so many ways. Reach out to a Gympass wellbeing specialist today to learn how we can help.
- Autonomy in the workplace has positive effects on well-being and job satisfaction, study finds. (April 24, 2017). University of Birmingham. Retrieved April 13, 2023 from https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news-archive/2017/autonomy-in-the-workplace-has-positive-effects-on-well-being-and-job-satisfaction-study-finds.
- Diversity wins: How inclusion matters. (March 19, 2020). McKinsey. Retrieved April 13, 2023 from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters.
- Employee Recognition: Low Cost, High Impact. (June 28, 2016). Gallup. Retrieved April 13, 2023 from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236441/employee-recognition-low-cost-high-impact.aspx.
- Rethinking the org chart: Areas of Responsibility (AoRs). Wavelength. Retrieved April 13, 2023 from https://wavelength.asana.com/workstyle-aors/.
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.