While most companies are interested in developing a good company culture, it can be challenging to determine exactly what “good” means. What is good for one company may vary somewhat from what is good for another. However, there are some fairly universal standards that most companies can draw from to build a culture that attracts and retains employees.
TIPS FOR CREATING A GOOD COMPANY CULTURE
1. MAKE THE WORKPLACE COMFORTABLE AND ATTRACTIVE.
One of the things every company can do to make time spent at work a little more enjoyable is to improve the design of the work space. Small and mid-sized businesses don’t have to try and look like Google, but they can put in the effort to combine efficiency with comfort and ergonomics. Hiring a designer can be a worthwhile investment for businesses who need a little help in this area.
2. ENCOURAGE AUTONOMY.
More and more businesses are ridding themselves of the old management style that required manager oversight for every little task. Instead, they have found that trusting employees to do their work and make decisions within their scope of responsibility makes for happier workers and happier management. It also tends to improve productivity.
3. MANAGEMENT NEEDS TO BE AVAILABLE AND ACCOUNTABLE.
Most companies imply that employees only need to seek out management if they have a problem. Unfortunately, many times when employees do seek help, they are ignored, made to feel like they are wasting management’s time, or promised something that is never delivered. The more employees feel like they can get help when they need it, the more likely they are to seek that help. And the more employees feel they can trust the word of management, the more stability there will be in the organization.
4. HELP EMPLOYEES GROW.
In a workplace that has limited room for growth, employees tend to only stay for as long as they need to. As soon as they feel confident that they can get a better position, they will move on. While this pattern can work for some businesses, it does not tend to create the most positive workplace culture. Businesses that want to retain employees need to allow and encourage employee growth. Paying for further education and training is one way to show a commitment to employee growth.
5. KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN.
Communication is another area where most companies say they are committed to openness, but in reality tend to be much less interested in fostering ongoing communication. The lack of communication at many companies is unfortunate, because communication is one of the cornerstones of a good company culture. Whether it’s a relationship, a team or a workplace, communication is key to keeping people happy and involved. Even when things are not perfect, like when an employee cannot have exactly what he or she wants, being able to talk about it openly and feel like someone is listening can make a big difference in job satisfaction.
6. CONSIDER POTENTIAL NEW HIRES FOR COMPATIBILITY.
No matter how skilled, experienced or knowledgeable someone is, if he or she cannot integrate into the existing company culture, there will be a problem. Sometimes companies can become so excited about the resume of a new hire that they fail to account for the individual’s personality. They hire the person because they want to gain access to his or her skill set, and don’t realize how damaging the hire will be to the rest of the team.
Most of the leading companies today have a comprehensive hiring process – one designed not just to determine ability, but also to measure personality. Hiring someone who is mean, unpleasant, deceptive, manipulative or has some other bad personality trait is not worth damaging an exisiting team.
7. ENCOURAGE RELATIONSHIP BUILDING.
Two people can work side by side in an office for years and never get to know each other. It is not enough for employees to work together to create relationships. For a really strong culture to develop, it is necessary to incorporate team building into the way the company is run. Different companies accomplish this in different ways. It can be helpful to both work and play together, such as having company outings, workplace competitions, projects that expand beyond work (like charity work), etc.
GOOD COMPANY CULTURE REQUIRES DEVELOPMENT AND NURTURING
No company culture is perfect. Every company needs to make developing a good company culture a priority, and needs to accept that maintaining that culture will require ongoing effort. Fortunately, the process can be fun and rewarding – for employees, management and owners.