Why the culture of your company is more important than you think

25 November 2021 Sharyn Waterworth

Arlington Research K N K Vi Dch A0 Unsplash

Creating the right culture at your company is probably one of the last things on your mind when you’re writing your to-do list for the day — right?

Sure, “company culture” might sound like a HR buzzword that’ll go away if you don’t look at it. It’s a fad; a trend. People come to work to get the job done. Their environment doesn’t matter that much. Does it?

Research shows that creating and maintaining your company’s culture is a huge win all round.  Not only for your team, but for the productivity (and profitability) of your company, too. 

That’s right — as it turns out, there’s a reason us HR folk have been banging on about improving workplace culture all this time. Celebrating employee birthdays and throwing company christmas parties actually have huge benefits in the long run. Let me show you why.

What is “company culture”?

One of the reasons you might be giving the idea of workplace culture the side-step is because it sounds vague. 

Does “culture” mean mood lighting and sticking positive affirmations up on the walls? Or is it something more grounded; like company values and what’s considered an acceptable attitude or behaviour to bring into the workplace? 

Culture is an amalgamation of everything your company is and everything your company does. That’s why it’s so difficult to pinpoint. But, there are ways of determining what yours might look like. 

First things first: do you know what values are underpinning your company? 

These values should be reflected in the people you hire, the policies you enforce and the practices you uphold. 

Why your company culture matters 

  1. Your reputation will attract top-tier candidates 

It’s no secret that a toxic work environment, whether a business be small or large, can quickly snow-ball and impact company reputation in the long run. 

Just look at corporate giants like Amazon and Uber — both have been called out for high employee churn rates. They’ve both garnered media attention in recent years, but for all the wrong reasons. 

On the flip side, having a strong company culture that promotes flexibility, employee independence and role fulfillment will do wonders for your reputation. 

And that includes attracting high quality talent. Instead of head hunting, your company's reputation and credibility can do a lot of the hard work for you. 

  1. Happy employees equals better business results

You might think that companies focused on increasing their profits would exhibit greater growth than companies that are focusing their investments on their people, but, in reality, it’s the opposite. 

A strong, people-focused culture results in higher productivity due to increased levels of motivation. In fact, companies with a strong culture tend to produce superior results as compared to those with weaker cultures. 

When your employees are satisfied, it leads to continued engagement and involvement. And, you guessed it, a satisfied employee is more productive than an employee who feels underutilised or unrecognised. 

  1. You’ll win your employee’s loyalty (and reduce your turnover rate) 

A strong culture not only results in greater productivity, but it can also win you employee-advocates who are in it for the long haul. 

This means you need to engage with the hiring process less often (and consequently the process of onboarding and inductions) because you’ll be retaining talent instead of burning through it. 

When an employee feels valued and accepted, they’re less likely to abandon ship and seek a new opportunity elsewhere. 

Simple ways to improve your company culture 

  1. Encourage interpersonal interactions through regular social events 

While it may feel like a big investment up front, one way to quickly create a sense of community and belonging is through holding regular social events that promote a team environment. 

This gives employees a chance to ‘let their hair down’ and mingle with each other, without a feeling of being on the clock or like they need to focus on work. 

By initiating a casual group activity, it allows employees to bond and create stronger group dynamics that will actually assist them and you, while they are at work. 

Do you have a Christmas party every year? The holidays are the perfect time to bring the team together. 

Similarly, cultivating strong team relationships through team-building activities is a great way to improve employee engagement. You might roll your eyes — but they work. 

Your first steps could be as simple as mixing up your workplace lunch arrangements. Does everyone eat lunch in a communal area or go their separate ways back to their desks?

 The easiest way to quickly build a strong culture is by encouraging communication and interpersonal interaction.

  1. Give your employees a sense of autonomy and flexibility 

Each industry is different, and throwing the 40-hour work week out the window certainly isn’t going to work for everyone, but I can guarantee there are still things you can do to promote a sense of flexibility in your workplace. 

The majority of people list flexibility as the biggest incentive a workplace can offer, and 77% believe flexible office hours are actually more productive

With this shift in expectations being seen across the board, especially during pandemic times, it’s worth considering how you can create a flexible environment that suits your industry and benefits your employees. 

Another way of promoting autonomy is by pumping the brakes on micromanaging employees. Micromanagement can lead to feelings of frustration and underappreciation. 

What can you do so your employees feel like they have some responsibility and aren’t constantly under the microscope? 

Taking a step back indicates trust, and trust makes people feel like valuable members of an organisation. 

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