There’s certainly no end to the information available about what makes a great company culture. This aspect of business and working life has been studied and written about extensively. And, if you ask around, you’re liable to come up with many different ideas. What works for one company may not work for another.
That said, there are some common themes that run through much of what we hear or read. Here are six of the fundamental elements of good workplace culture.
The perception that staff have of how fairly their employer treats them ranks high with respect to its cultural importance. People need to see that everyone is given a fair chance at work and there is no favoritism. It’s not enough to tell your team that your company has a policy of fair treatment – employees need to be able to experience this in action. Any hint of politicking and gossip needs to be quickly nipped in the bud. Rumors fly fast around a workplace, and it takes very little to topple a CEO’s efforts to build an equitable environment.
Here again, transparency is something that must be continually demonstrated. This is about being honest and open with workers. Give them both the good news and the bad news that pertains to them in a timely fashion. Timely updates, town hall meetings, team check ins and scheduled reports all have a role to play in showing transparency. Employees can tell when there’s something they’re not being told. Everyone has the tendency to fill in the blanks when data is missing, and things can go sour quickly if employees are left wondering. It’s a sure-fire way to disrupt the office culture.
Closely aligned with the idea of transparency is trust. Take the time to build rapport with your staff. Try to get to know them a bit on a personal level as well as showing an interest in their career aspirations. In addition, be sure to follow through on what you tell people you’re going to do. If plans need to change, let your team know as soon as it is feasible. Anything you can do to engender trust by being personable, ethical, credible, honest, and trustworthy will really pay off in helping to promote a healthy workplace culture.
Nurturing innovation among staff members is another way to create a solid company culture. When staff feel that they will be supported for making new suggestions, they’ll have a sense of safety. In turn, this will inspire your people to be loyal to the business and offer more than what is required in their jobs. Encouraging innovation gives your team permission to experiment, come up with novel approaches at work and improve related skill sets. In this environment, employees will enjoy coming to work.
Of course, you care about the enterprise you’re leading, its operational goals and outcomes, and the overall profitability. Your clients, customers, and other individuals you network with in the industry can clearly see evidence of this. However, reputable businesses also treat their employees with respect and care. There are many ways to accomplish this, including encouraging and supporting workers who stay home when they’re sick, a robust family leave policy, sending personalized messages when a life event has impacted them, and more. An employee rewards program with a broad array of benefits that employees actually use is another signal of a caring workplace.
When staff feels a sense of community, that’s also a mark of a positive workplace culture. Beyond their immediate department and team members, people should feel connected to the physical space where they work and to their coworkers. They should feel comfortable walking the halls, visiting the shop floor, and coming to the lunchroom. Strive to make your company a welcoming place for people to spend their time by fostering a feeling of community. This is done by engaging in activities like profit sharing, celebrating special events and company milestones, and supporting employees in their professional development. It’s also important that a business breaks down any barriers between different units, launching opportunities for staff to work collaboratively and discouraging siloed thinking.
Take a close look at these six elements that characterize good workplace cultures. From there, you can take specific steps that embody those traits in your workplace. Pick actions that are both feasible for your company and valued by your employees. The payoff is worth it!