Make your workplace the healthiest environment possible for your team – and reap the benefits.
Not only does company culture define your organisation’s working environment, values, and priorities, but it also defines the persona you give off as a manager. Although many senior management teams let their focus on workplace culture slip, developing a healthy culture can make working for your company a motivational, enjoyable experience for all employees – benefitting both you and your team.
It’s important not to underestimate the power of healthy workplace culture. While a great culture attracts ideal candidates and retains employees, a weak culture turns employees away, leaving the company with poor employee retention and the significant costs that come with this. To put this into perspective, one U.S. study found that 35 percent of candidates would turn down an otherwise ideal job offer if they didn’t believe the culture was a good fit for them.
As Group CEO of the award-winning digital collective Inc & Co, Jack Mason has grown the collective’s team from 5 to 750 since its launch in 2019. Here, he explains how building an effective company culture has helped him retain staff while expanding the group and shares his tips to help you improve your company culture, too.
What Is Company Culture?
Jack Mason explains that, in short, company culture is your organisation’s personality: the values, beliefs, and ideas that affect how your business operates. Many people think that physical factors influence company culture – employee perks like a modern office and relaxed dress code. But it’s the intangible elements that dictate the culture of your workplace and your employees’ attitudes. Keep in mind that employee benefits should echo your company culture, not influence it.
How to Improve Company Culture
Each company’s culture reflects its individual setup and the unique individuals who form the team. As no two businesses have the same cultures, it’s not a good idea to attempt to replicate another company’s culture. Instead, Jack Mason recommends focusing on your team’s current dynamics. This will help you evaluate your workplace’s current culture, pinpoint potential improvements, and strategise a route to happier, healthier culture.
Here, Jack Mason shares nine ways to get your company culture into its best shape.
1. Analyse Your Current Employee Dynamics
Start by thinking about how your employees work together, how engaged they are, and how you can keep them motivated. Investigate any unfriendly competition between employees, rumour-spreading, or high rates of absenteeism. These kinds of issues need instant attention. It’s also a good idea to think about the ways your team works best. For example, if your employees are great at out-of-the-box thinking, you could include creativity in your core values.
2. Re-align Your Existing Core Values
Any strong culture stems from a carefully thought-out set of values that informs employee relations and business decisions. You may find that some of your original core values, if you set any in the past, no longer fit the culture you’d like to create, and you may need to re-align these. When revisiting your core values, keep your long-term business goals in mind. These values need to be as relevant to the company in five years’ time as they are today.
3. Plan Your New Company Culture Ideas
Next, collate your ideas for a restructured company culture. Draw up a strategy, timeline, and budget to keep on track. It can also be helpful to set benchmarks so you can monitor progress easily. For example, you could commit to hosting employee engagement activities and/or arranging one social event every quarter.
Avoid overwhelm by limiting your list to ten values – any more and you risk diluting the most important principles and creating a list that is difficult to action.
4. Uphold Transparency
Employees are unlikely to enjoy their roles if they’re not confident they can trust their senior management team. You can build trust by upholding transparency across the company. For example, you could make senior staff accessible to employees by setting up an open-door policy, arranging small-group discussions between senior staff and other employees, and keeping employees up to date with company news in timely updates.
5. Reward Employees Through an Employee Recognition Programme
Another great way to improve your workplace culture is to set up an employee recognition programme. These programmes have proven success. For example, 85 percent of HR leaders in one study confirmed that their company’s employee recognition programme improved their culture.
When you acknowledge and reward your employees for their hard work, they’ll know you value and appreciate them. Meanwhile, other employees will likely feel inspired to strive for their own successes. You can set up a programme by allowing employees to nominate those who have gone the extra mile. Then, you can share these team members’ profiles in a company-wide shoutout or through internal communications channels.
6. Celebrate Team Successes
While it’s important to celebrate individuals’ contributions to the team, it’s equally important to highlight team wins and company milestones. Employees are more likely to feel motivated when they know they’re part of the broader strategy team. Including them in celebrations for major achievements helps everyone feel included and appreciated.
7. Embrace Flexible Working Approaches
Most employees have commitments outside of work, and non-flexible working arrangements can make keeping up with these commitments difficult. When organisations aren’t flexible, employees may feel resentment, which can have a negative effect on productivity and employee retention. On the other hand, if your company embraces flexible schedules, employees are likely to feel valued and appreciate your understanding. In turn, this tends to improve employee engagement and productivity.
8. Make Time to Give and Receive Feedback
Employees need feedback, both constructive and positive, to grow in their roles. Lots of companies run annual reviews, but these one-off events are often ineffective and even anxiety-inducing. Instead, encourage managers to normalise regular, positively framed feedback.
Remember that feedback should come from both directions, though. Encourage employees to give feedback on new initiatives, software, or other changes, too. Employees can usually offer invaluable outlooks on your company, especially if they’ve been working for you for a long time. A company’s leaders might be responsible for setting the culture, but the employees are the driving force behind it.
Asking your team to complete an employee engagement survey can also be a great way to seek feedback and find out exactly how well your culture really resonates with your employees.
9. Monitor Your Company Culture
It’s all too easy to let your workplace culture efforts trail off after the implementation stage. But regularly assessing these efforts is key to keeping your culture on track and making changes when necessary. Culture evolves in line with your team and company, so prepare to adjust your strategy in line with your business growth and team’s needs at any time.
Developing Your Company Culture
Wherever you’re starting from, you can make changes to build a healthier company culture right away. Make sure you have the full support of your employees, HR department, and leadership team first, though. Jack Mason emphasises that with everyone on board, you’ll be able to make the changes that motivate, inspire, and encourage your employees to thrive in their roles.
Changing up your company culture requires lots of research and thought, but it’s well worth the time you’ll put in. With a healthy culture in place, you should find it easier to recruit the best-fit candidates and enjoy the benefits of leading a dedicated, enthusiastic team.
You can pick up more business tips from Jack Mason on his blog.
About Jack Mason
As the Group CEO of business group Inc & Co, Jack Mason oversees the group’s strategic direction, bringing together companies that need help with their marketing and business development strategies. Jack Mason has led the transformation of several companies under the Inc & Co umbrella, including digital agencies such as Skylab, MyLife Digital, Cuhu, and Brass and leading fashion brands like KNOMO London and Tootsa. Most recently, he has taken Inc & Co into the food and beverage arena by leading the acquisition of plant-based milk brand Gut Instinct.
Aside from leading Inc & Co’s acquisitions process, in 2020, Jack Mason also managed the formation of incspaces, the UK wide shared and flexible workspace.