Entrepreneur Jeffrey Hayzlett, author of Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless, stresses the need for a company to determine a clear purpose and set of core values before a strong culture can be developed. He said: “Only when you have aligned your language, values and standards will you have a cohesive culture. Cohesiveness should be your end goal.” Being clear about the aspirations and ethics of your business is key to engaging employees in its culture.
- Lead by example
Leaders in the workplace should reflect these core values and the company culture in a way that drives and engages their teams. In addition, there’s no better way to lead by example than to work directly with your team towards common goals – as HR ‘evangelist’ Jessica Miller-Merrell explains: “Management should be approachable and work “in the trenches” with their employees in times of need”.
- Communication is key
The best way to promote a strong company culture is to ensure everyone, at all levels of the company, is well-informed. Modern HR systems can include corporate information easily accessed by employees, while internal communication tools can also help inform and engage employees
With important updates and projects, it’s best to go direct. Team meetings in the office or via video conference are the best way to communicate vital information and coordinate projects – ensuring everyone is clear on what is expected of them (and can’t blame ‘missing the memo’).
But it goes both ways – encourage your employees to share their ideas and input, too. An open message board where teams can post suggestions – and receive direct feedback from managers – can help great ideas come into fruition.
- Look after your employees
In order for employees to fully embrace company culture, they need to feel engaged, valued and respected. Looking after the wellbeing of your staff is an important element of creating a strong company culture, according to TalentCulture CEO Meghan M. Biro:
“Developing a culture-first mentality means focusing on employees’ total quality of life – including physical, mental, social, emotional and financial health.”
- Think outside the box
HomeAdvisor move things outside of the office environment to help inspire creativity and collaboration in its employees, with sports teams, bike rides and rock climbing clubs. Engagement in company culture can be improved with projects that take teams away from the daily grind and promote teamwork. Charity challenges that all employees can take part in, sports teams or other pursuits help workers to engage with company culture even beyond the confines of the workplace.
Developing a strong culture, while ensuring people engage and feel a part of the company is no mean feat. Company cultures are born out of the attitudes and influences of company leaders, teams and the development of a workforce that feels valued and wants to support wider company goals. People need to embrace their company’s culture and leaders need to walk the talk. Recognition and reward schemes should tie to key values, reinforcing the importance they play in building culture, engaging employees and driving success.