Many different elements can contribute to a negative company culture: bad fit, tension between personnel, or poor management.
The drawbacks of a negative culture are numerous and obvious.
Your company, though, should work not only to avoid negative company culture, but establish and foster a positive and engaged culture.
Maintaining a positive company culture takes a lot of effort, but the benefits of an engaged and happy workforce validates the time and resource investment.
Consider these 3 approaches for establishing a positive culture:
- Aligning on core company values
- Recruiting for fit
- Emphasizing employee engagement
By holding managers accountable for employee engagement and building a strong culture with established core values, your company can improve attitude, productivity, and profits.
1. Align on Core Values
Your company’s values are the foundation of your culture. They guide your company’s thinking, behavior, and decision-making.
Values also inform how you recruit talent, the structure of your professional development, and the backbone to your company vision.
Fostering full alignment around your values organizes your company around shared goals, which are much easier to achieve than disparate objectives.
Include your core values in company communications and offer recognition and incentives to employees that demonstrate your values when appropriate.
Perfect Search Media, a search agency in Chicago, literally posts their values on their walls to boost awareness and keep their values top of mind.
Company values can encompass a range of objectives and can be as specific or vague as you see fit. What’s important is that they mean something and have direct application to your business.
It’s up to you to communicate how your values run through your business processes. The more aligned you get your team, the more people perceive their work as demonstrating your values.
Company values should evolve as the business grows, so revisit and update them over time.
2. Hire Employees That Fit Your Company’s Culture
Nearly 80% of HR professionals find behavioral questions essential to evaluating the potential culture fit of job candidates, according to a study from Ultimate Staffing.
Structure your behavioral questions around your values to determine their culture fit and passion.
A candidate’s passion for your business offers valuable insight about whether they are a good fit for your company.
Consider some of the following questions to determine fit:
- What type of culture best suits you?
- What values appeal to you?
- Tell me about a time when you were not a good fit for the company’s culture.
- Based on what you’ve seen so far, how would you describe our company culture?
Hiring employees for your company culture fit is an essential part of creating a positive and engaged work environment.
Companies struggling to properly vet culture fit in the hiring process should contact a recruiting agency to better understand how to maximize the success of every new employee.
3. Increase Employee Engagement
An essential component of a positive work environment is a well-developed culture of engagement.
Engaged employees are emotionally invested in their jobs and fully committed to the company and its goals. Companies with engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147%.
Unfortunately, nearly 90% of employees worldwide are not engaged, and managers are responsible for at least 70% of the problem.
Here are several ways companies can improve employee engagement, according to a report by Gallup:
Hold managers accountable
The best managers understand their employees’ strengths and provide them with opportunities to apply those strengths in their current position.
Strong performance keeps employees engaged – they feel like they are doing good for the company.
Companies should coach managers to improve workforce engagement, and hold them accountable to clearly defined engagement goals.
Leaders should work with employees to uncover engagement barriers and find opportunities to create positive change.
Structured Onboarding for New Employees
You need a structured onboarding system that encourages new employees to engage and contribute to your culture from the beginning.
Introduce new teammates to at least one member of every team to give them exposure to the full scope of your operations and create a point of contact for any questions they may have.
Fostering understanding of your broader business processes and encouraging collaboration with employees fast-tracks their familiarity with your company.
Make Employees Feel Valued
Employees like being valued. The more you recognize your employees, the more engaged they are with their work.
Providing incentives to encourage high-level engagement is not a bad idea. For example, sponsor professional development courses or create incentives for completing extra-curricular but professionally-focused tasks.
Employees also need to feel safe at work. Work to create a safe environment for employees’ well-being, self-image, and the ability to take risks without harming their career.
Finally, to create an engaged environment, employees need to feel they can put all of their energy into their work and all necessary resources are available to them.
Build a Sense of Meaning In the Workplace
According to Fast Company, increasing employees’ sense of meaningfulness in the workplace is one of the most effective ways to increase engagement.
Employees list making the world a better place as a valuable workplace attribute, so consider investing in socially responsible practices.
When your company’s work achieves a greater sense of purpose, you validate employee engagement by demonstrating that you share their values.
Positive Company Culture Fosters Employee Engagement
Businesses that establish and maintain positive cultures effectively attract and retain employees.
To achieve a positive culture, create company values that you can base your work around. Values should drive your hiring decisions and guide management.
Your company should also screen candidates for culture fit and work to improve employee engagement through investing in employee and corporate well-being.
About the Author
Riley Panko is a Senior Content Writer for Clutch, a B2B research, ratings, and reviews platform in Washington, D.C. She leads the company’s business and HR services research.