Culture can be influenced and new norms can be introduced to employees at any time. Even if a company is not suffering from a negative, toxic culture, there are always steps to take to improve company culture for both the short and long term.

  1. Recognize and reward valuable employee contributions. According to Deloitte, the top 20 percent of companies with a recognition-based culture have a 31 percent lower turnover rate. Fifty percent of workers surveyed by CareerBuilder believe that recognition is a factor that drives retention. To effectively implement a rewards-rich work environment, be sure to do the following:
    • Identify specific behaviors and/or results aligned with your company’s values. Recognize those behaviors as frequently as possible.
    • Make it easy for everyone at your company to recognize and reward co-workers’ behaviors. Often, peer-to-peer recognition is the most effective way to infuse recognition into your culture.
  2. Encourage employee autonomy. It’s no secret that micromanaging your employees rarely produces favorable outcomes. Trusting your employees to manage their responsibilities on their own is not as simple as it sounds, though. Some simple, yet effective ways to inspire employee autonomy include the following:
    • Establishing autonomous work groups
    • Reining in bosses or co-workers who tend to hover over others
    • Creating decision-making opportunities
  3. Incorporate flexibility into your organization. Workplace flexibility can improve morale and reduce turnover. In fact, 51 percent of workers surveyed by CareerBuilder believe that a flexible schedule is a factor that significantly drives retention. Workplace flexibility programs are up to the organization’s discretion, but common ways flexibility is demonstrated include the following:
    • Telecommuting (work from home) opportunities
    • Flexible scheduling opportunities
    • Paid time off (PTO) policies
  4. Provide regular and timely feedback. Once-a-year feedback is a thing of the past. Younger generations thrive in environments where they know exactly how they are doing. Continuous, meaningful feedback provides employees with the tools they need to improve and grow. Opportunities to provide feedback outside of performance reviews could include the following:
    • Monthly or semi-monthly check-ins between a supervisor and employee
    • Peer-to-peer weekly check-ins
    • Mentoring programs
  5. Embrace workplace transparency. Trust is the foundation of a great company culture. Transparency can improve employees’ trust of upper management, give employees insight into a company’s operations and future, and improve cross-departmental collaboration. One way to improve your organization’s transparency is to share both the successes and challenges your organization and its employees face with everyone.

Another way to improve the transparency in your organization is to implement modern communication and collaboration tools. These tools make it easy for your employees to connect with one another and share crucial information. Listed below are popular tools used by other companies for chat and collaboration, video conferencing and project management purposes.

  • Chat and collaboration
    • Yammer
    • HipChat
    • Google Apps for Business
  • Video conferencing
    • Skype
    • Google Hangout
  • Project management
    • Jira
    • Trello
  1. Promote strong professional co-worker relationships. According to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, when individuals identify with and are invested in professional relationships with their colleagues, workplace productivity increases, employee morale increases and burnout levels decrease. However, building strong relationships takes time and effort. To help your employees, consider the following suggestions:
    • Encourage collaboration and peer-to-peer work.
    • Create “collision points” in your office. Collision points include areas like a communal coffee station or cafeteria.
    • Host events. No matter how small (think: team happy hour) or large (think: corporate outing), employer-sponsored events are a great way for employees to interact with peers that they normally would not on an average day.
  2. Create a mentoring program. Providing employees with professional development opportunities is a low-cost retention tool and a simple way to improve employee engagement and your company culture. A mentor is an individual in the workplace who shares his or her knowledge and expertise to help another employee grow professionally. Some companies use group mentoring, third-party mentoring or reverse mentoring, while others use peer mentoring, flash mentoring or one-to-one pair mentoring.

Mentoring programs provide benefits to all parties involved. Benefits include the following:

  • Skill development. Mentors teach mentees the skills and qualities necessary for success. Mentoring provides mentors with the opportunity to develop their communication and leadership skills.
  • Improved networking and teamwork. Mentoring allows employees to build a professional relationship over a period of time and teaches them about the value of networking. This also instills a sense of cooperation and teamwork at your company.
  1. Improve your “soft” benefits offerings. There are a variety of employer-sponsored programs that encourage employee engagement, increase employee morale and attract new talent. Workplace flexibility is a highly effective benefits offering. Other top benefits to offer are listed below.
    • Wellness incentives
      • Subsidize gym memberships.
      • Provide healthier food and beverage choices.
      • Sponsor company sports teams.
    • Trendy, new voluntary benefits
      • Identity theft protection
      • Student loan repayment programs
      • Financial counseling services
      • Pet insurance
      • Discount programs
    • Child care benefits
      • On-site child care
    • Fringe benefits
      • Company-provided beverages and food

A great company culture attracts the best workers, increases retention and improves employee performance. These eight suggestions can positively impact your existing or new company culture.

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