“A good culture fit”. It’s something we hear quite a lot during the interview process for jobs when developing a business and it’s found in pretty much every job description on the planet. It’s such an abstract term, but it means a lot when it comes to business. So much so, that there are whole guides on how to portray good culture fit during interviews.
Which leads on to a difficult question: what do you do when your company culture has fizzled out?
People are your greatest asset and if they’re unhappy it can be a problem. Unfortunately, a bad or waning culture can easily be the cause of this unhappiness. This can then cause staff members to leave, work to diminish and your business on the whole to suffer.
And for that reason, here are five very good strategies to help you re-build your office culture.
1 – Promote Work/Life
All work and no play makes your workers unhappy. It’s a simple fact, but it can often be overlooked by small and big business alike.
Showing an understanding and support of an appropriate work/life balance can do wonders for your company culture. It means you won’t have staff feeling fatigued, overworked or underappreciated as much. Let people log off, don’t allow staff to take work phone calls at home and set a good example for employees. The better the balance, the better your workplace culture becomes. Here are some ways to improve work-life balance:
- Implement flexitime.
- Promote health plans.
- Ask employees what they want.
- Allow for some level of remote work (even once a week can make a difference!).
- Encourage creativity and fun.
But, there are plenty more ideas for improving work/life balance out there.
2 – Actually BE Transparent
Transparency in the workplace can make workers much, much, happier.
The reasons for transparency are quite numerous. But, some obvious benefits are the fact transparency promotes trust, it helps build relationships and can even be shown to boost productivity. Employees aren’t sat wondering about what is going on in the business, they know and this allows them to feel secure as a result.
Unfortunately, employees can feel that things are hidden from them by management or that they are typically the last to know when something happens. Which can create an atmosphere of resentment and unease.
As such, some ways you might be able to improve transparency in the workplace can actually be quite simple. Ideas like ensuring job functions aren’t secretive (people know what other people are doing), results are shared (good and bad), and ultimately know how far to take it. Your employees don’t need to know every nook and cranny of the business, but they should be given as many of the facts as is relevant for them to perform well in their role.
3 – Collaborate
Creating a good atmosphere of working together and teamwork is one of the best ways to try and rekindle your office culture. After all, collaboration can make us feel much more energised and creative.
In order to create a good collaborative workplace, you need to establish trust. This trickles from the top. If your directors, management and other serious stakeholders trust workers to collaborate appropriately it can make a big difference to culture. New ideas, creativity and a feeling of achievement can all spring from this.
Try and establish a sort of mentorship program for new employees. This can, from day one, then instil a collaborative and trusting feeling into their everyday work life.
4 – Listen to Feedback
Do your employee’s have feedback for you? Have you always tended to ignore it in the past? If so, you might be missing a trick.
Feedback is ever present in your business, whether you solicit it or not. So listening to it and trying to use it as part of your business plan should be an obvious step for your business. Some feedback, when given earnestly, can really have an impact on your business and the way you work as a full, moving, machine.
And there is another important element to think about in this case. Effectively receiving, listening to and then acting on feedback can genuinely motivate your employees. Because even a simple thing like being listened to really can have a massive effect. If you listen to and actually make some positive changes, you may be very surprised by what happens as a result.
Ultimately, feedback can be an extremely valuable tool which is the way your business should learn. If you don’t ask for it then you will never have this valuable learning options at all.
5 – Treat Your Staff
Rewarding and treating your staff should never be a question. When done right, it can really boost your workplace culture and create a very happy workforce. This doesn’t have to be excessive by any means. Obviously, it depends on what sort of budget you can stretch for these types of ‘treats’. However, there are plenty of small gestures you can make that don’t have to break the bank. Such as:
- Providing a small allowance for desk upgrades; desk plants can improve everyone’s mood!
- Take new employees to lunch on day one – a nice welcome to the team affair.
- Treat everyone to a group activity such as bowling or laser tag.
- Have a snack corner because… well, why not?
- Plan a monthly happy hour!
- Celebrate milestones – like birthdays, having children and time spent at a company.
Say thanks. Sometimes even just saying those one or two words can go a long way to re-igniting your company culture. Employees want to feel appreciated, so show them that they are!
Culture wasn’t built in a day. Wait… is that how that saying goes?
Anyway, the statement still stands. You won’t be able to build an astounding culture overnight, whether you try really hard or not. And if you’re having to rekindle your culture from a period of downturn, it can often feel like a much bigger uphill battle. But it’s definitely a cause worth fighting for. Start now and you may be extremely pleased by the results.
It is located on my author log-in page, but here it is Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer for many different business publications. With a range of knowledge in the business and insurance sector, she is an avid researcher and writer in the field. Having worked with a number of different businesses, including Red Cow Media, Natalie is now a freelance writer looking to specialise in the topic. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.