Improving workplace culture is a thorny issue for most business leaders. It’s something that they probably know is important, but can’t quite get a handle on. Finance, strategy, product development, operations – those are the tangible, measurable elements of their business.
But Culture? That’s the definition of the “soft stuff,” the stuff they probably skimmed over in business school, the stuff that makes their eyes glaze over whenever speakers bring it up at conferences.
However, more and more leaders are learning it’s no coincidence that the biggest, best, and most innovative companies also happen to have great cultures. In fact, so often these companies are great precisely because they have phenomenal workplace cultures.
While most business leaders probably know a good company culture when they see one, defining what it means to have a good culture is a bigger challenge. Actually developing a strategy for creating one is a different story altogether. Culture isn’t a one-size fits all solution. Workplace cultures take many forms, and can mean different things to different organizations. They also evolve over time as businesses change or as they grow.
That being said, company culture certainly doesn’t happen by accident. Culture is a deliberate practice, and there are clear, actionable steps you can take to guide the direction of your company’s culture in a way that benefits your employees, customers, and shareholders.
In the following guide, we’ve compiled the best, most actionable tips from the smartest companies with the best, most innovative cultures so you can take their learnings and apply it to your business. Consider this is your one stop shop to learn how to improve your workplace culture and help your business go from good, to great, to awesome.
Chapter 1: How a Strong Culture Will Boost Your Bottom Line
In functional terms, your company’s culture is the sum total of the beliefs and behaviors that guide interactions between employees and other key stakeholders. It manifests in observable things like hours, dress code, benefits, workspace, turnover, hiring, and customer care and satisfaction.
But culture is also something less tangible – it’s a feeling or a vibe, the energy people bring in each day, the language they use, the mindset they adopt, and the methods they use to solve problems.
There’s a strong business case behind developing a vibrant, healthy, and productive culture, as it affects everything from the overall health and quality of life of your employees, to retention and hiring, to your company’s product, brand, and customer service – and therefore, your profits.
Here are some of the best resources for understanding culture and why it’s important.
- Birthday Cake, Beer and Bikes: Why Company Culture Matters | Altitude Marketing
- Why Your Company Culture Can Be Your Greatest Advantage | WorkStride
- The Business Impact of a Winning Culture [infographic] | O.C. Tanner
Chapter 2 – Incorporate Wellness Initiatives to Maximize Morale and Productivity
Studies show that wellness has a direct correlation with things like turnover, morale, and productivity, and therefore must be considered when cultivating a stellar workplace culture. The key isn’t to offer one-off perks, but to develop a holistic wellness culture that focuses on both the mind and body, and incorporates fun and a little friendly competition. Nutrition should also always be top of mind when thinking about wellness, and providing access to healthy snacks is an easy way to achieve this.
- Why Corporate Wellness Matters | The Huffington Post
- Six Ways to Promote Wellness at Your Organization | WorkStride
- Mindfulness At Work: 5 Tricks For A Healthier, Less Stressful Work Day | The Huffington Post
Chapter 3 – Strong Leaders Equal Strong Cultures
Culture starts from the top. A strong culture requires strong leadership, and leaders and managers who are accountable, transparent, and lead by example. Today’s workforce can sniff out authenticity a mile away, so it’s imperative that organizational leaders do what they say and say what they do.
- 9 Leadership Steps For Corporate Culture Change | Forbes
- What Bad Managers, Good Managers and Great Managers Do | Entrepreneur
- Culture-Driven Leadership | Ivey Business Journal
Chapter 4 – Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the extent to which people are personally involved in the success of a business, and it’s directly correlated with things like profitably, retention, and customer success. Although it seems like another one of those fluffy, intangible ideas, it can actually be measured – by the likelihood that an employee would recommend working at his or her company to a friend. Engaged employees work harder, are more productive, are more innovative, and are the ones you want on the front lines in moments of crisis.
Employee engagement and culture go hand in hand. Engagement will foster a positive culture, and vice versa. So exactly how do you engage your employees? We’ve got some answers:
- Engagement Ideas that actually make sense (especially in Greece) | WorkWell Blog
- 10 Ways to Make Work More Fun and Increase Productivity | Hppy
- 10 Social Activities to Help Improve Employee Engagement | Herd Wisdom
Chapter 5 – Case Studies, Strategy Tips, and Stellar Cultures in Action
So now you know the theory. But what does it look like in practice? Here are some examples from a few of the companies who are getting workplace culture right. (Break out a pen and paper, because you may want to take some notes!)
- The Importance of Company Culture from the Inside Out | Mack Web
- Clif Bar climbs to the top of America’s workplaces | Fortune
- How to Create and Maintain a Workplace Culture That Will Make Your Company Thrive | Forbes
These resources should have you well on your way to creating an epic culture at your office. But they’re just the tip of the iceberg!