In the past several months, you’ve probably seen headlines, articles, blog posts, and even news stories surrounding company culture. If you’ve looked at any job postings, you’ve probably even seen some boasting a great work environment and company culture, but not all of those stories answer the question: what is company culture?
While company culture looks different in every office, there are a few things that are central to the idea of company culture. Something else you need to be aware of is that every company has a culture, but you need to cultivate a culture in which employees want to be a part of and feel included. When you do this, you can improve and grow your business because ultimately it is your employees who will do this for you.
The first step in creating, maintaining, and understanding your company’s culture is to define the values in which your company operates under. These values go beyond the mission and vision statements you have. Company values provide direction, support, and standards for employees, managers, and even owners of companies. Through values, you can begin to form and shape your culture into one of a successful company.
If you take a look around at articles discussing companies that have great cultures, you may notice high tech, design-heavy and creative offices. This might make you think that your company will never have a great culture, but the work environment is about more than pure aesthetics. Sure, having black walls and no windows probably isn’t a good idea, but work environment goes much deeper than that. Creating an environment where employees feel respected, trusted, and cared for is much more important. Provide employees with an environment that allows them to get their work done, but done in a way that allows for creativity and passion, and you’ll be on your way to improving company culture.
A critical piece of the company culture puzzle is engagement. This goes beyond just talking to your employees every morning. Engagement is meeting with employees, discussing their work, their career development, their goals. Engagement is finding out what you can be doing better as an employer or manager. It also means being accessible to your employees. Create an environment in which employees feel comfortable talking to you about their work, issues, and ideas.
Employee programs often get confused with fun things like ping-pong tournaments and beer Fridays. But what it really means is setting up beneficial programs for employees. These programs can include things like health initiatives, tuition reimbursement, community programs, monthly lunch, or annual company events. Employee programs serve to help you engage your employees and go above and behind to help them lead better, healthier, and happier lives.
How do you define company culture? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
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