You can feel it when you walk into your office. Social dynamics, work expectations, ways of dealing with stress and conflict — all of these factors play into the overall culture of your company. A healthy culture can make or break an otherwise fantastic business. If you want your employees to thrive (and your business to become more profitable) you should consider taking a step back to evaluate whether or not the culture you are perpetuating in your workplace is one that you can stand behind. If not, below are a handful of actionable tips to improve the culture of your workplace.
1. Let Relationships Grow Organically
It’s part of your job as a leader and as an employer to cultivate a community in your workplace that works well with each other. As a rule of thumb, if your employees can have fun together, they will be willing to work hard together. However, nothing stifles fun more than trying to force it. Do things to foster community; hold events, celebrate parties together, etc, but don’t force your employees to be together outside of work hours. If you try to make your workplace involved in their outside life, it will only breed resentment.
2. Provide Value To Your Employees
If you want someone to buy your product, a good way to do it is by convincing them of the value of that product by providing a small window into its usefulness or desirableness before they buy it. This is why so many entrepreneurs today focus on creating online content for their customer base — it allows them to market to their customers by providing a small taste of what they have to offer. The same should go in your workplace. Your employees need to know they are valued and appreciated, and providing simple, well-done perks such as free snacks. Be creative here; although it may seem like a lavish way to use your money, employees will ultimately provide more value if they feel that they are valued.
3. Increase Employee Retention
One of the best ways to measure the health of your company’s culture is your turnover rate. If your employees are constantly leaving for better pastures, that should clue you in as to the health of your company’s culture. Relating back to the theme of providing value, you should make sure that employees have opportunities for advancement. This will allow them to have goals to work towards and stay motivated. A good way to make sure your workplace is a desirable place to work is to cut out unnecessary busywork. Many common tasks, such as placing orders, can be cut down on by using order management software. Employees should have the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to your company. If efficiency is not your strong suit, consider hiring a consultant that focuses on this.
4. Allow for Flexible Schedules
The 9-5 is slowly dying in favor of better options. Most employees work for an average of 3 hours per workday; the rest of their time is spent conversing with friends or browsing the Internet. One way to cut back on this is to ensure your employees are excited about their work (see above point) but there are some situations in which your employees genuinely do not need to be at work. Allowing your employees the opportunity to have a certain number of work-from-home days per month can greatly increase morale. In addition, consider whether or not certain employees should actually be hourly, or whether a salaried position might be a better fit for them.
5. Revisit Your Values
Does the way your company operates align with the values it claims to uphold? This is a question the leaders and employees in your workplace should ask regularly. Don’t be afraid to make drastic changes if it means that your company’s culture will improve as a result.