10 January 2014

9 Ways To Grow Your Company Culture


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Strategy culture and values


We all want to work in a happy, productive and rewarding environment. We all want to get up and be happy to go to work, everyday. Company culture is a vital ingredient to achieving true employee happiness, wellbeing, productivity and engagement, if your culture doesn’t encourage and reward these values then you need to change, today. If your employees aren’t happy where they are then they’ll look elsewhere, and be less productive in the process. Getting your culture right is something that you should be doing asap, here’s how…..

1) Assess the current situation

Take an open and honest look at your current culture, and make a note of what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t. Can you further enhance the areas that do work? What can be done to change and improve those areas that aren’t working?
These are all things that you need to ask yourself, and discuss with your management team and employees.

2) Communicate and discuss

Speaking and, more importantly, listening to your workforce builds trust and respect,which are essential elements of any successful and positive company culture. Ask your employees what they believe are the positives and negatives of working for your business. It’s important that employees feel that they can give an honest opinion, without fear of being scorned.
Holding an open forum will also serve as a reminder of the positives, as employees discuss these openly with their colleagues and suggestions on how to improve the ‘not so great’ elements can be taken.

3) Weed out the whiners

It may be that your company has it’s whiners, those employees that always see the negative in everything. These are the people that shouldn’t be part of, and will hinder the progression of, a positive and successful culture. These people should change their ways and be sincere about it, or leave.
A negative influence within a  company will damage morale, productivity of those around them and the culture as a whole, and there’s no room for such an influence in your new company culture.

4) Enable

Enabling your employees to collaborate, achieve their objectives and go home at the end of each day will a feeling of a job well done is key to your culture. Frustration is not a feeling you want within your workforce. Not being able to do your job, or even certain tasks, will lead to such feelings. Enable your employees to communicate effectively, collaborate and simply do their job to the best of their ability.
If there’s something required by an employee then let them know that they can ask, and that their request will be taken seriously.

Work/life balance of your employees should also be taken seriously. Flexible working and working from home are two important elements of a happy employee. Allowing your staff to manage their personal lives and responsibilities by working from home if required, or changing their work pattern is not only a sign that you, as a brand, care about your employees, but will also improve productivity and morale.

5) Attract the right talent

Being aware of the company culture, and actively looking for talent that matches it, will ensure that new employees are the right fit and also give you, as a leader, a head start when it comes to integrating new staff into the company. By attracting candidates that have similar goals, values and mindset to that of your brand you also increase retention and reduce turnover, which in turn decreases your recruitment costs.
If your employees are happy, they’ll take fewer days sick leave, reducing absence costs.

Candidates should be able to demonstrate, from their initial application, that they understand and agree with the company culture. Anyone that wishes to work for your organisation should be excited by the company values and what it’s trying to achieve, this could be demonstrated making social media part of your hiring process.

If the initial application letter/email appears to be generic text that has simply been adjusted to fit your vacancy requirements then this is probably a sign that the applicant is blanket applying for roles. An applicant that tuly wishes to work for your brand will have taken the time to write an application from scratch, not simply recycle one from a previous attempt.

6) Invest in the community

Encouraging a culture that is actively involved in the local community not only improves brand awareness and trust, but also improves employee morale. If your workforce are actively helping locally, in whatever medium, then they’ll feel good about themselves. A side effect of this type of proactive campaign is that it’s often shared by employees and those involved on social media and in the local news, great for your brand!
If you have a percentage of your workforce that live locally then this will further strengthen the bond between the business and it’s local surroundings.

7) Reward for a job well done

Rewarding your staff, whether on an individual basis or the workforce as a whole, is a great way to improve or maintain morale. Knowing that a reward is likely for a job well done will encourage consistent high quality work. Consider running an employee of the month initiative for those employees that go the extra mile. Ongoing rewards in the form of benefits and perks also go a long way to ensure the happiness and general wellbeing of your workforce.

8) Dedication to the cause

Once you start on the road to a better company culture, don’t give up or get complacent when you think you have reached your initial goal/s. Maintaining the culture is an ongoing responsibility of the business as a whole and this expectation should be set right at the beginning.
It’s likely that you’ll have to tweek, refine and add initiatives, processes and policies, that’s fine, the whole process of building a company culture is fluid.

9) Monitor the culture

It’s important to monitor your company culture and act upon any areas that require attention. Schedule discussions to assess and discuss strategies moving forward with different areas of the business. It’s important to maintain momentum and interest from everyone.

Reviewing the differences that people have noticed as a result of the changes is a great way to realise and publicise the benefits of what you are trying to achieve.

Without a company culture a business lacks soul and values that your employees can identify with and connect to. Working in a generic office with no purpose or passion isn’t something that anyone wants to do, and most won’t stay in such an environment long. Creating and nurturing culture within your business will not only benefit each and every employee, but your business as a whole too.