In the modern business landscape, effective companies understand that they are in competition for elite talent just as much as prospective employees are fighting for a good job. Focusing on corporate culture development will help you attract, and also retain talented employees.
Although there will always be more available employees on the market than positions to fill, this does not mean that we are in a perennial buyers market.
On the contrary, if you’re a company looking for qualified talent to future proof your business, you have some work to do.
Attract & Retain Employees with Corporate Culture
One of the most important aspects of building a company in today’s business world is the ability to maintain a low turnover rate. Companies with high turnover spend a great deal of money on training, security and other overhead costs.
Effective companies such as Facebook, Apple, and Google have developed a unique and engaging corporate culture building environment that not only attracts employees, but also keeps them once they have been hired.
Here are a few best practices to consider for your corporate culture development building, no matter its stage of development.
Culture is Created from the Bottom Up
Many executives and management level staff believe they have to be in charge of the corporate culture development, as well as the daily decision-making process.
Corporate culture is an exercise that is best performed from the bottom up rather than from the top down.
Culture is formed through individuals interacting with each other on a regular basis. It’s the ground-level employees doing the talking, swapping stories, and having lunch together.
Allow traditions and practices to happen organically in the office. Corporate culture is something that is unanimously agreed upon by the majority of people in the office. Because the majority of the people in the office are ground-level employees, it is much easier to build agreement when they come up with the idea in the first place.
Giving your employees the power and ability to form the environment and culture of the office will make them feel valued, welcomed, and important. Connection through culture creates a sense of unity that positively affects everyone in the business.
Since culture typically isn’t stated in any rule book, there is no formal way to enforce it.
If you try to enforce unpopular business culture you will:
1) reinforce hierarchical structures that will break down open communication
2) create unmotivated employees
3) run the risk of losing employees.
There’s only one true metric of how successful a corporate culture is – if that culture maintains itself over time without any formal coercion.
Although management and executive level employees do not take the lead in creating company culture, they should support it wholeheartedly when it is created. This may seem counter-intuitive with the point mentioned above, but no action within a company will last very long without some support from executive and management level employees.
Once a new office culture practice has been identified, it’s up to executives and management level employees to recognize the birth of a positive trend or habit within the office. Higher level employees aren’t exempt from office cultural norms.
Those practices act as the identity of the business and should be practiced at all levels of employment status.
Managers and even business owners can show co-worker/ employee support by participating in and practicing the same habits.
These shows of support help break down some of the barriers between title positions and allow better and real relationships to form.
Encourage Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge sharing is one of the most important mechanisms of company culture.
It’s easy for each employee to get caught up in his or her daily routine and zone out from what’s going on around them. If this is the case, new employees don’t always receive proper training, get the help they need, or connect with more long term employees. They won’t feel comfortable asking questions of or approaching their more experienced co-workers.
Encourage the development of a company culture which facilitates professional and social interactions. Most business owners would probably agree that a great deal of functional problem-solving takes place outside of the formal communication networks that an organization has put in place for its employees. More relaxed conversations allow employees to think creatively and not feel as pressured.
Supporting group discussions or work will foster co-worker relationships and get you better results as well.
Fun fact, according to Herodutus’ Histories, he records that the Persians would debate motions for new laws while drunk and if they came to the same conclusion when they were sober, they would let the ruling stand. I’m not sure how accurate this “fact” is, but it makes for an interesting story nonetheless.
I’m not saying to discuss important business moves and products during a raging Happy Hour session, but a more laid back approach (within reason) in co-worker and employees relationship building can’t hurt.
Corporate Culture and Corporate Strategy
Corporate culture must be appropriately synchronized with the business strategy, mission, and goals. Your culture should impact and influence your business strategy and vise versa.
When this happens, the cultural aspects of the company roll over into formal communication networks. This positive and reinforcing company culture will merge into client relations, business meetings, and phone calls. Your customers and potential clients will see and recognize the positive influence your company behavior has on your relationships.
Positive and engaging company culture also improves employee morale and loyalty. You can expect higher productivity levels from your employees across the board if they actually enjoy being in the office and coming into work.
As higher management should support positive company culture, it is also their responsibility to cancel out any negative aspects as well. This can be a difficult and sometimes stressful task to accomplish. Your higher level employees must take great care to differentiate between unsuccessful and or unproductive cultural norms along with those that simply seem a bit more informal.
As stated before, some of the best solutions within a company come from informal discussions that are based around the lines of communication that are opened by the culture of a company.
Take the benefits created from positive work culture and use them to address any negative aspects you see.
Keep The Right Tempo
When executives and lower-level employees are on the same page, everything seems to move in harmony. Each company has its own rhythm and ways of completing necessary tasks.
One of the best ways for a company to find this rhythm is to go over its past victories and successes. Analyze the positives. Find the correlation between what goes right and you’ll be able to push those positive occurrences into the future. These discussions will also help you recognize what doesn’t work so you can eliminate those practices in the future.
As you strive to improve your business, take the above mentioned tips to heart. You owe it to your business to focus on corporate culture development that your current and future employees will rave about. The sooner that you do this, the easier it’ll be for you to retain the talent that will take you into the next decade.