Understanding and Developing Positive Organizational Culture
Your work environment is one of the biggest factors to determine how much you like your job and how good you are at it. If you work alongside people who are friendly, willing to compromise, and complete their tasks on time, you are much likelier to be happy at your job than someone who works in a toxic environment (and, by extension, your life outside of work as well).
As the adage goes, “People leave bosses, not jobs.” Employees care deeply about the environments they work in. So, if you want your employees to be excited to come to work and put in their best efforts, you need to cultivate an organizational culture that encourages and enables them to do so. It’s essential for both everyone’s well being and your company’s overall success.
What is Organizational Culture?
Organizational culture, commonly referred to as company culture, refers to an organization’s internal “character.” It includes elements such as shared values, attitudes, and goals. Your company mission, for example, influences your organization’s culture because it defines the ultimate purpose everyone is working toward.
How much do you (if you are an executive or someone with decision-making power) care about your employees? How well do people get along, and what actions do you or your H.R. team take when they don’t? What is your overall atmosphere like? Similar to how your business has a customer-facing brand persona, your company also has an internal “personality” that reflects its values in action (e.g., diversity, teamwork, mental health, understanding that work isn’t everything).
Why is company culture important, though? Organizational culture is so essential to a company’s success that 66% of respondents to a Fast Company survey noted that it’s the most important factor they consider when applying for a job. Company culture is a top indicator of whether you will be satisfied or miserable in a new position.
4 Steps to Positive Organizational Culture
So, how do you build a positive company culture? Your business can:
1. Express Gratitude to Your Team
Don’t take your employees for granted. How do you feel when your boss doesn’t recognize you for your work or only provides feedback when you do something incorrectly? It probably doesn’t motivate you to do better next time. In fact, you might want to go somewhere else where higher-ups appreciate you.
Thank your employees for their hard work. Give feedback of all kinds gracefully, including positive. Companies with a strong organizational culture have 72% higher employee engagement rates, so it’s in your best interest to express gratitude as often as possible.
You can showcase gratitude through various outlets. Verbally acknowledging someone’s success is always an excellent way to go, but you can compliment doing so with an award, a shoutout in the company newsletter, or recognition on digital signage displayed throughout your building.
2. Help Employees Work Toward Goals
Goal-oriented organizations provide their employees with a mission to rally around. If you don’t have one already, draft a company mission statement that outlines your business’s purpose.
Asana’s mission statement is “To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.” This statement guides the task management platform’s broader business practices and endeavors. The company wants to help other businesses manage their workloads, so the features it produces help its customers streamline workflows and enhance internal communication.
Think of goals on a smaller scale, too. Goals provide individual teams in your workforce with clear direction on how to structure their activities and measure their performance.
3. Promote Health and Wellness
Your company can prove its loyalty to and concern for its employees by prioritizing their emotional, physical, and mental health. You’ve undoubtedly seen or heard of companies with on-site gyms, workout classes (or those that at least provide gym memberships), benefits that include mental health services, and catered healthy lunches. There’s a reason employees stay at those companies, and their employer’s emphasis on health and wellness plays a role.
4. Invest in Your Employees
Your employees are invaluable to achieving your company’s goals. That’s why you can’t lose sight of their individual development. If you view them primarily as an expense to manage or reduce, your organization will suffer along with them.
On the other hand, a company that understands this fact and embraces employee development will have a much healthier organizational culture. For instance, Adobe makes efforts to recognize its LGBTQ+ employees and provides a place for them to socialize. It also recognizes innovative employees at an annual banquet and offers tuition reimbursement for those who want to continue their education.
Likewise, L.L. Bean offers paid time off to volunteer and sponsors employee excursions (such as camping and kayaking). Its managers conduct regular one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss their career goals so that individuals are headed where they want to and can address any complaints. A company that treats its employees like individuals is one people want to work and do their best for.
What Culture Will You Build?
Some company culture examples include horizontal culture (which is popular amongst startups because titles don’t mean much), conventional corporate culture (a traditional approach that many companies are trying to lean away from because it leaves little room for flexibility), and team-first corporate culture (which allows employees more autonomy).
Your organization’s culture may be unique unto itself, but it’s essential for your employees’ satisfaction and your bottom line to cultivate a positive one. Your company’s success is much more likely if it creates an environment that makes employees want to stay.