How to Improve Company Culture: 5 Easy Ways [Ebook]
If things seem to be okay in your organization, why should you bother learning how to improve your company culture?
For one thing, even the best company cultures still have room for improvement. And building a stronger, more vibrant culture will pay dividends for your organization and everyone in it, as you’ll see below. So, don’t miss out! Whether you want to take your culture from good to great or need to fix a broken culture, we’ll explain five key steps that can help.
What Is Company Culture?
You might say that company culture is the personality of an organization.
Company culture is a shared set of workplace beliefs, values, attitudes, standards, purposes, and behaviors. It reflects both the written and unwritten rules that people in an organization follow. Your organization’s culture is the sum of all that you and your colleagues think, say, and do as you work together.
Have You Identified Your Company Culture?
You may think that you first need to learn how to establish your company culture before you can improve it. Some organizations believe they don’t have a company culture because they haven’t done anything to create one. But unless today is your first day in business, your culture is already there. That’s because every firm develops a company culture whether they realize it or not. Even if you do nothing, culture forms and evolves on its own.
The trouble is, an unguided, unstructured culture may do more harm than good. There may be a serious disconnect between your organization’s mission, values, and vision and what its employees and leaders actually do. That’s a telltale sign of a dysfunctional company culture. And that’s why it’s so important to learn how to build company culture in positive ways that align your organization’s ideals and goals with everyone’s behaviors.
Benefits of Improving Company Culture
Working in a terrific company culture can make employees feel like they’re at the coolest party in town: they love where they are, they’re surrounded by great people who do interesting things, and they don’t want to leave. Metrics like employee satisfaction and engagement are bound to go up as people do meaningful work in an appealing environment.
- Higher productivity
- Greater creativity and innovation
- Increased revenue and profits
- Improved morale
- Reduced turnover and associated recruiting and training costs
- Greater ability to attract top talent
- Improved customer experience and satisfaction
It’s widely acknowledged that culture can have an enormous impact on business outcomes. In a recent culture survey conducted by BambooHR, an overwhelming 94 percent of respondents agreed that culture is related to their organization’s success.
5 Steps for How to Improve Your Company Culture
Developing a better culture doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are five simple steps to consider.
1. Find people who fit.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost-per-hire is $4,129, while the average time it takes to fill a position is 42 days. Imagine spending all that time and money only to find that your new hire isn’t working out.
To help prevent this, hire people who not only have the needed job skills but who also share your organization’s vision and values and will fortify them with fresh perspectives. Help candidates get to know your company culture during the application process so both you and the applicants will have a better idea of whether they would be a good fit.
Avoid the common mistake of hiring people who all think in similar ways. That might seem like an easy way to have a unified culture, but instead, it limits the healthy differences in experience, background, and perspective that strengthen organizations and their culture.
2. Integrate your values into everyday activities.
Ideally, your culture should be the showplace where your values come to life and prove their worth. But BambooHR CEO Ben Peterson puts it more frankly, saying, “The values you define for your organization will mean nothing if you don’t intertwine them into everyday work.”
Ways to integrate your values can be found almost everywhere in your organization. You can, for instance:
- Teach your values and their significance to each new employee during onboarding
- Stress the importance of your values during company meetings and in company communications
- Make sure your external messaging (marketing, social media, etc.) reflects the same values so your branding is consistent
- Make values-based decisions when choosing company initiatives
- Use your values to guide performance management and help underperforming employees improve
3. Foster more feedback.
Both your employees and your organization can benefit from a company culture that encourages more and better feedback. Here are solutions to two common feedback issues:
First, to help staff members progress, many organizations still primarily rely on annual performance reviews that aren’t very accurate, timely, or helpful. The right performance management software replaces this with a constant channel of communication that’s more meaningful and simpler to administer.
Second, many organizations don’t know what their employees really think of them, leaving leaders in the dark as they make decisions about culture initiatives. Simple email surveys can reveal what employees like and don’t like so you can shape your culture in ways that increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.
4. Keep up with changes.
The business world continues to change at a dizzying speed. New industries rise. New processes disrupt traditional ways of doing things. New generations of employees and customers bring different expectations to the workplace and marketplace. No organization is exempt from the effects of change, so in order to keep up, your company culture must change too.
The best way to prepare your culture to adapt to changes is by basing it on timeless best principles, instead of locking it into rigid best practices that often become obsolete. In another article by BambooHR’s Ben Peterson, he dives deeper into the why and how of evolving your organization and its culture to keep up with the times.
5. Learn how to change company culture that’s broken.
Despite best efforts, just about every organization will face times when something about their culture isn’t working. Don’t think of these issues as failures, but as opportunities to improve. Harvard Business Review tells how to change company culture using four key practices:
- Articulate the aspiration. Analyze the issues in your current culture and define the kind of culture you want.
- Select and develop leaders who align with the target culture. Their support, strategizing skills, and ability to implement changes will be critical to success.
- Use organizational conversations about culture to underscore the importance of change. Just as culture is everywhere in an organization, frequent and open dialogue about culture changes must be too.
- Reinforce the desired change through organizational design. Align your organization’s structures, systems, and processes to support the improved culture you’re developing.
Keep On Improving
There is much more to know about how to improve company culture. That’s why BambooHR created our ebook The Definitive Guide to Company Culture. As you read it, you’ll learn:
- How culture can help you achieve your business goals
- More tips and techniques to strengthen your culture
- What type of company culture you have
- Important findings from the BambooHR culture survey
- And more