In today’s job market, employees have high expectations for employers beyond benefits and compensation packages. In addition to competitive compensation, employees desire a workplace that values and respects them and prioritizes a positive culture. Employees are quick to switch jobs if they encounter a negative or toxic work environment. To attract and retain top talent, it's vital that, as a business owner, you understand what employees are seeking to address any issues preemptively.
Employees seek out companies whose actions align with their communicated values. In other words, if you say work-life balance is essential, but the level of work assigned requires regular overtime, or you preach education as a company pillar but rarely offer training or pay for external certifications, your values and actions are misaligned. Employees will take this to heart, which can negatively affect morale, productivity, and more.
Strong Company Cultures
Company culture may seem abstract however, there are tangible ways it impacts your business. Company culture is a work environment's shared values, attitudes, behaviors, and standards. It describes not only your staff's experiences but also how customers experience your brand.
Positive cultures tend to include:
- Clear and open communication. Between employees, across departments, and with management – open and non-ambiguous communication is a critical factor for a healthy culture. Managers should offer plenty of opportunities for their team to provide feedback and be readily accessible to help guide employees and provide clarity when needed.
- Professional development opportunities. In addition to open communication, companies with positive company culture offer employees the opportunity to grow professionally. Access to training, education stipends, mentorship programs, and other resources can help employees to succeed. In addition, communicate a defined process to the team that explains how employees can get promoted or receive a raise.
- Collaboration mindset. Positive cultures allow plenty of opportunities for teams to collaborate. Although rewarding individual contributions is essential, a positive work culture fosters a deep sense of belonging through consistent collaboration with peers and across departments. Individuals who feel supported and part of a team often experience more job satisfaction, which boosts productivity and retention.
- Defined purpose and core values. Core values should be purpose-driven and align with long-term company goals. For example, environmentally conscious companies may aim to become carbon neutral by a specific date - their decisions and actions on a small and larger scale are then all informed by this value. Positive cultures have a clearly defined purpose and core values are easily accessible to employees.
- Intentional focus on boosting morale. Positive work cultures aren’t built overnight. There is a careful strategy behind them. Leadership plays a critical role in building and maintaining a positive culture, from hiring staff that aligns with company values to creating opportunities for team bonding and implementing recognition and reward programs.
- Employee recognition. Recognizing the achievements of individuals and departments is essential to a healthy work environment — monetary rewards, public recognition during meetings, a social media post, bonus days off, etc. Positive cultures value acknowledging the efforts of the team regularly.
Negative Company Cultures
Even if your company has one or several characteristics of a positive culture, your business might still struggle with culture. Generally, you can identify the health of your work environment by looking at employee engagement, productivity, turnover, and absenteeism. Ensure you look at historical data to identify abnormal spikes and patterns. Suppose a specific team or role has a perpetual turnover or struggles with productivity. In that case, it might be time to carefully examine the team manager, offer additional leadership training, or restructure the role.
Another way you can assess your work culture is by how often your team stays late, skips lunch breaks, or works on the weekends. When staff consistently work overtime, they likely have too much on their plate and need additional resources to accomplish their tasks. When overtime becomes a pattern, employees can suffer from burnout and increased health issues, which can ultimately affect your bottom line.
Furthermore, conducting surveys and feedback sessions can offer valuable insights. These should include questions about job satisfaction, relationships with managers, and perceptions regarding the company's values. When employees leave your organization, ensure exit interviews are part of your off-boarding process. While regular feedback sessions with current employees are helpful, individuals who are leaving may feel able to offer more honest answers.
Align Your Actions And Values
Creating a positive culture takes work. You need to establish your values and create a clear implementation plan. Ensure you include your team in decisions affecting their day-to-day and implement their ideas when possible.
In addition, make sure your leadership team is embodying your values. If collaboration is something you value and there’s a lot of unhealthy competition within a particular department – investigate where that is coming from. Train your managers regularly so they don’t inadvertently promote behaviors misaligned with your values and know how to interrupt them as they arise.
Your employees are your biggest assets, and investing in creating a strong work culture, ensuring your team is engaged, valued, and supported will positively impact your business in the long run. Partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) like GMS can allow your small business to offer competitive benefits so you can attract and retain top talent. Beyond benefits, GMS can also help you assess your company's HR practices.
- Non-compliance fines
- Miscommunication between departments
- Slow productivity growth
Inefficiencies in your HR processes can lead to unforeseen costs that weigh heavily on a small business. PEOs like GMS can perform human resource audits to review your current HR policies, procedures, documentation, and systems. By conducting an HR audit, we can help your business reduce costs and improve its HR functions in a fraction of the time. In addition, HR audits can help assess compliance with ever-changing rules and regulations to minimize legal and regulatory liability.
Let us help you maintain or improve your competitive advantage. Connect with an HR expert today!