Guest Blog from Ben Edwards of www.benedwards.com
Company culture, by definition, can include anything from working hours to social calendars and the design of an organisation’s physical space; it is essentially the personality of a business. Unsurprisingly, company culture therefore has a significant impact on employee wellbeing and retention, as well as indicating the extent to which a company values its staff, beyond the immediate needs of the business.
A positive company culture is one which consistently assures employee needs are met, and performance is supported; the benefits of which are limitless. This is reflected in a 2003 survey by Management Today Magazine which reported that virtually all (97%) employees regard their workplace as a symbol of whether they are valued by their employer.
However, it conflictingly appears that only 37% thought their offices were designed with ‘people in mind’. This gap should certainly concern those in managerial positions, as workers who fit with company culture are likely to not only be happier, but also more efficient, therefore reaping profitable rewards.
For prosperous businesses pursuing growth and development, a poor company culture can be significantly detrimental. In fact, it can deter potential candidates, who source information regarding employee welfare either through the website, their interviews or through speaking to existing employees, with an uneasy atmosphere pre-empting discomfort.
In order to assist business owners and managers with crucially improving their company culture, Ben Edwards, a qualified life coach, NLP practitioner & motivational speaker, outlines several easily-implemented recommendations.
1. Listen to your employees:
Communication is essential in maintaining a positive company culture: transparency builds trust and establishes a committed pool of employees. It is important to provide your staff with an environment in which they feel their opinion can be heard, particularly as it has been reported that 75% of employees claim they would stay with a company for longer if they had listened to and addressed their concerns.
Similarly, effectively communicating your organisation’s mission, vision and values establishes a sense of having a shared goal among employees, promoting teamwork and dedication. Statistics continue to support the benefits of having such a cohesive group structure: only 1 in 50 employees who say their organisation does not have a strong set of values are fully engaged. Contrastingly, employees who say their organizational values are “known and understood” are 51 times more likely to be motivated in achieving company goals.
2. Be consistent:
Organizational culture needs to be nurtured and this undoubtedly begins with its leaders. Managers must visibly demonstrate their commitment to the company and belief in its core values: employees are more inclined to endorse the organisation’s vision if they can see their superiors doing the same. The benefits of a strong leadership team are particularly evident when considering data, where 35% of Millennials say strong leadership defines a good work culture.
In order to provide consistently efficient management, provide regular feedback to assure staff feel valued, allowing for personal development in areas they appear to struggle. This would not only benefit the employee but would also encourage enhanced productivity, and profitable rewards. It has been found that 68% of employees who receive accurate and consistent feedback feel fulfilled in their jobs, suggesting it could also enhance employee retention levels too.
It is interesting to note that employees do not only seek positive feedback, in fact, setting challenges for your employees may be seen to reflect your investment in them, promoting a sense of loyalty to the business. 76% of millennials think professional development opportunities are one of the most important elements of company culture, whilst employees who get the opportunity to continually develop are twice as likely to spend their career within the company.
3. Cultivate strong co-worker relationships and embrace autonomy:
Having strong employee relationships at work acts as a key motivator but these do not always formulate automatically. Businesses can benefit from encouraging colleague engagement, by developing spaces and situations that promote co-worker interaction, such as social events or a communal lunch area.
Whilst it is critical to promote colleague relationships, it is also important to not micromanage: trust your employees to manage their responsibilities, independently or when operating as part of a team. This encourages employees to embrace accountability, whilst instilling a sense of trust.