“Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company.” ~Brian Kristofek, President and CEO, Upshot
The importance of a well-defined and well-executed company culture cannot be overstated. Many employees, especially Millennials, will change jobs looking for the right “fit”, even if it means less money. According to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial survey, 38% said they anticipated leaving their jobs within 2 years, and another 7% said they planned to leave “soon”. This high rate of employee turnover is costing businesses billions of dollars each year.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Keeping your employees engaged and motivated to come to work each day should not be a drain on your business, it should be a conscious team effort to do what’s right for the employees, who in turn will do what’s right for your customers. As long as you focus on the employees, you are headed in the right direction.
Once you’ve outlined and put in place the parameters for your company culture, how do you know if it’s having the desired outcome? But first, what exactly is company culture? As defined in this recent post, company culture is “A conscious culture put in place by an organization that inspires and encourages its members to reach their full potential while contributing to the success of the organization and their own well-being.”
A few things to remember about company culture when starting out:
- Start small. It will take time to get to where you want to be.
- Hire for attitude, train for skill. Attitude is the most important attribute when hiring. Make sure company culture is part of the hiring process.
- Communicate continuously. Even if it’s bad news, your employees (and customers) can handle it as long as you are honest and forthcoming. Listen.
- Reward excellence. Show people you notice and care when they are doing something you want emulated. Make sure evaluations and performance appraisals reflect company values and add to the employee’s growth.
- Continue training and education. It doesn’t stop with one quick training session. Your top talent will want to learn, grow and improve both personally and professionally. Help them get to where they want to go.
Company culture is an ever-evolving standard for the business and there are always techniques to refine and enhance. So how do you know if it’s succeeding?
In a word, ASK! There are a number of ways to get feedback from all employees that can show you what’s working and what’s not. Here are a few examples:
- Host a monthly brainstorming breakfast or lunch for 8-10 employees from various departments to meet with senior management and discuss various work situations. You can have a different theme or topic each month.
- Establish an “Employee Welfare Committee” with one member representing each department or area in the company. Monthly meetings would address various topics related to company culture and working conditions. Employees are more engaged when they know they have a voice in the direction of the company, and that upper management is willing to listen.
- Create anonymous surveys that ask critical questions. You can see if expectations are being met in significant areas.
- Get feedback as part of the evaluation process. Ask questions along the lines of “what can we do better?”, or “what is one change you would make if you were in charge?”
- Check online sites that encourage employee feedback, although be careful not to overreact to every negative post. If a post has merit then follow up.
- Have a good ole “suggestion box” in the office.
Company culture starts at the top and focuses on the human element. It should align with your values and principals, and offer a foundation from which all employees can grow. It will provide many benefits in the long run, one of which will be more people wanting to work with you. Customers can tell when employees enjoy working at a business. It creates a better customer experience, which leads to increased repeat business and customer loyalty. It’s a win-win all around.