The Do’s and Do Not’s of cultivating a productive company culture
When you think about company culture, what comes to mind? Some may picture a spacious office building with up-to-date decorations, unlimited snacks, and a laid-back atmosphere. Others may think about company mission statements, slogans, or organized activities. No matter what your idea of company culture may be, all of these things can be considered a way to encourage employees to be better, therefore increasing company productivity. But what does company culture really mean? Does cultivating a meaningful and fun culture really increase performance? The numbers say yes. A study completed over a ten-year period by Queen’s University Centre for Business Venturing found that an engaged work culture can increase productivity by 15%, customer satisfaction by 30%, and unsolicited employment applications 100%.
All companies should want to experience this increase. The only question is, how can this be successfully achieved in your company? This post will address how companies can increase their performance and productivity by cultivating a better company culture.
Do Reduce Stress in the Workplace
Although there is an idea that stress, pressure, and strict deadlines create a productive company, studies revolving around positive psychology are arguing otherwise. Nearly 65% of workers say that workplace stress has caused difficulties in their lives. According to the American Institute of Stress, our bodies are naturally programmed to have specific reactions when under stress. These reactions include increased blood pressure, a decrease in productive and healthy digestion, blood clotting, a rise in blood sugar, and many other bodily reactions. While these reactions can be helpful in a time of crisis or extreme danger, they are not reactions that help cultivate a productive workplace, nor should they be experienced often. While high levels of stress may increase short-term performance, studies show that it will increase the need for time off for illness and doctor’s appointments. Research cited in the Harvard Business Review says that up to 90% of doctor visits end up being stress-related.
Some common sources of work stress include excessive workload, a lack of social support, and a workplace that isn’t engaging or challenging enough. Companies can strive to listen to their employees, strengthen relationships for increased support in the company, and monitor workload and give help where it’s needed. By putting effort in to reducing intense stress in the workplace, employees will be happier and healthier overall, resulting in a more productive environment in the long run.
Do Not Mistake Perks For Culture
Many companies have added exciting new benefits to give their employees in a world now dominated by working from home and startup culture. These benefits look like in-office gyms, massage rooms, unlimited snacks, meals in the office, and modern interior. While these new perks often appeal to employees, they don’t necessarily mean a solid culture is being curated. Humans naturally want to feel cared about, engaged, and recognized. This can effectively be done by monitoring and caring for the well-being of employees. It’s important for employees to feel cared about. Companies can do this by
- Listening to their Employees
- Creating Safe Spaces for Employees to Share Concerns, allowing them to feel heard
- Encouraging employees through weekly team spotlights or bonuses.
With COVID-19 forcing companies to shift to a work from home situation, company culture is more important than ever. With many of these workplace “perks” no longer being an option, company culture must be instilled in the company’s tone. Culture can be how employees treat one another, communication among departments, core values that are emphasized often, or positive weekly meetings to encourage motivation. This form of culture can set a strong tone of positivity and productivity throughout a company, and this tone can be carried on throughout a work from home phase. For ideas on creating a company culture, check out our Blaast blog post about staying connected during remote work.
Do Cultivate Positivity
Harvard Business Review claims positive work cultures are more productive because they:
- Create social connections: Positive social connections in a work environment can create solid relationships and strong social interaction, leading to a productive team that can happily work well together.
- Encourage communication: When communication is encouraged, employees will find it easier to discuss their problems or voice something that causes negativity or stress in their lives. The more employees communicate with one another, the less negativity will be fostered among a work culture.
- Require Compassion: Rather than quickly punishing an employee for a decline in productivity, take the time to sit down and talk to them about why they are not performing well.
A positive employee or leader can set the tone for an entire company. By striving to achieve a positive environment, employee emotion and well-being will increase over time. Healthier, happier employees will perform better.
Do Not Lose Sight of Company Purpose
While culture is fun and exciting, it is crucial that your company still has a purpose. Perks and culture can become distracting and messy if not done carefully and correctly. Make sure that your culture relates to your brand and does not take away from productivity. Activities, games, delicious food, cool meetings, and a trendy atmosphere can be a major plus within a company, but these things can also serve as a distraction when too common. Make sure that if you are going to focus on and emphasize these culture perks, you do so alongside a conscious effort to stay centered on your company’s purpose. While that is easier said than done, leaders can strive to work company purpose and core values into meetings, office spaces, and activities.
Do Schedule Consistent Events in the Workplace
Whether you decide to hold fun events daily, weekly, or monthly, it’s up to you. But holding events to give employees a break and chance to get to know each other better can go a long way. While working out of an office space in a WeWork building, I got to experience how they increase culture in the workplace. Each building has a community specialist that plans simple daily events. These events range from donuts in the morning to Happy Hour on Friday afternoons. From my experience, I observed that many companies working in WeWork spaces found these community events to be a positive way to get to know others while taking a brief break from a busy workday.
Do Not Keep Things From Employees- Be Transparent
Keeping secrets from a team will never result in a positive and trusting environment. Make sure to be honest and open as much as possible. As trust is instilled among the work community, a strong relationship of communication and honesty can be built between a leadership team and employees. If this isn’t done, you’ll quickly find that no one likes working in a non-trusting atmosphere. For more on transparency, check out this recent Blaast blog.
Do Commit to Diversity and Taking a Stand
Different people offer unique values and ideas to a team. Commit to hiring from a diverse group of people, whether it be age, ethnicity, background, or experience. By doing so, an exciting, uniquely innovative, and creative culture can have space to form naturally.
Many companies are also deciding to take a stand on significant issues. At Salesforce, the executive team has done an outstanding job of taking a strong position on social issues while using their resources to benefit others. Salesforce is ranked on top lists for company culture while also succeeding in business with a very successful product. By taking a stand and having a position on social issues, employees will feel the company values others’ well-being. By committing to diversity and to take a stand on topics, a strong and unique company culture can be formed around specific values.
Do Not Ignore Success
Employees like to be rewarded and recognized for hard work. Spend time celebrating successes, big or small. Whether it be a new deal that just closed, the launch of a fresh product or even a new employee completing their first month of work, celebrating successes will help employees feel valued. Make sure every employee knows they are important and celebrate when necessary! What better way to cultivate a company culture than celebrating victories?
Do Recruit to Fit Your Culture
As you start to achieve a desired culture, it’s crucial to fill roles with people that fit into the company culture. Diligently try to seek out people who mesh well with your community. Not only will this assist in creating a productive team, but new hires will also be happy with the new work environment.
Lastly, Do Determine Core Values
Decide your company’s “why” and emphasize that where possible. Find what motivates your employees and what gives them daily purpose and strive to emulate that throughout the company. Company culture often occurs naturally, but as you strive to find core values, they will slowly become deeply rooted throughout a culture.
What Works For You?
Workplace culture is quickly changing. Company culture can change as the atmosphere or logistics of a company change. Ensure you actively try to cultivate a culture that encourages productivity, remains positive through hard times, and encourages employees to do their best work.
What have you seen work and not work in the culture of a company? Have you enjoyed working with brands and businesses that heavily emphasize culture, or do you feel it unnecessary to be successful? Let us know what you think!