5 Ways to Improve Your Company Culture Starting Today
According to a survey by Glassdoor, culture now matters more to job seekers than any other factor, including compensation.
So, if your company culture is toxic, you could lose out on the best candidates, no matter how competitive your salaries are.
Don't risk missing innovative ideas and amazing employees because your workplace culture is unappealing. Use these tips from some of the largest and most ethical companies in the world to improve your company culture.
A strong culture begins with well-written policies.
Organizations need to develop policies and procedures that reflect their vision and ethical values, as well as their employees' needs. Download our free policies and procedures template to start writing or revamping your internal documents.
1. Encourage Giving Back
Donating time and money to the community can help you improve your image and uphold your values as a company, so encourage your employees to do the same.
Forest products company Weyerhaeuser promotes philanthropy by matching employees' donations, awarding grants to organizations where employees donate their time and naming an employee Volunteer of the Year annually.
Valuing philanthropy can improve your company culture in a number of ways. First, you show employees that you care about them as whole people with interests and passions, not just drones who live to work for you. As a result, their loyalty to and trust in your organization will increase.
Secondly, employees will see that being kind and helpful is important to your company. They'll likely carry that over into their work lives, too, valuing teamwork over toxic competition and pettiness.
2. Rethink Your Policies and Training
If your policies and training are dry, out-of-date or confusing, employees are less likely to remember and follow them. To quickly improve your company culture, review and update them.
Catherine Mattice, strategic HR consultant, says that companies are often so "focused around case studies or case law" that their training and policies are "not useful to anybody."
Instead, follow the example of chemical company Kao. Their code of conduct is presented as a collection real-life scenarios that employees might face. Each one includes an FAQ from employees, with a detailed answer and considerations. They also reference the official corporate policies in case employees want further details.
The easy-to-understand language and format increase the odds that employees will remember the company's rules and apply them in the workplace. Plus, framing policies in a more practical, rather than theoretical, way helps employees make good choices when a confusing situation arises.
3. Expand Culture Beyond Employees
Company culture shouldn't just apply to employee behavior. It's the whole feeling of your organization, so anyone who interacts with you should follow it, too.
Require all contractors, clients, suppliers and visitors to abide by your company's values. For instance, you wouldn't allow an employee to verbally harass another employee, so don't let a client do it, either.
Hasbro's Code of Conduct sums it up perfectly:
"Our Code applies to all employees of Hasbro, regardless of position. Our Board of Directors and certain business partners serve as an extension of Hasbro and their conduct can have an impact on our Company. They, too, are expected to follow our Code as well as any applicable contractual provisions when working on behalf of Hasbro.
If you are in a position to supervise our business partners, you are responsible for ensuring that they understand our ethics and compliance standards. We expect all our contractors and their employees to act in a way that is consistent with our Code. We will take the appropriate measures where we believe they have not met our high standards or their contractual obligations."
This is just another way to drive home your commitment to your policies and values. When employees see that not even visitors can get away with breaking the rules, they're more likely to follow them.
4. Give Employees Flexibility
Employees are real people with real lives outside of work. When you don't give adequate time off for parenting, and caregiving, medical issues and burnout, employees are distracted and stressed. They won't produce their best work and could lash out at their coworkers.
Offering flexible scheduling lets employees take care of their other responsibilities without fear of losing their job or giving half effort at both work and life. They'll take the time they need and come back refreshed and ready to give work their all. In addition, they'll see you as a caring employer and you will earn their loyalty and trust.
A good example of this comes from Netflix. Their vacation policy is "take vacation" and their parental leave policy is "take care of your baby and yourself." They know that working nine to five, Monday through Friday with two weeks of paid vacation per year doesn't work for everyone. Instead, they trust their employees to take the time they need to be their best.
5. Offer Learning Opportunities
With new skills, technologies and best practices emerging all the time, employees need to educate themselves to keep up. However, having to do so on their own time and dime might discourage them.
Set a yearly budget for each employee for learning and professional development. Here's how Adobe does it, according to their Careers page:
"Adobe employees are the brightest of the bunch, so around here the learning never stops. Grow your skills and feed your curiosity in a rich learning environment that offers generous educational reimbursement for eligible courses and programs, on-demand access to training through LinkedIn Learning and Harvard ManageMentor, leadership development, and more."
Employees will be able to innovate better for you and feel empowered by learning something new. They might even make professional connections that could benefit your organization. When you offer learning opportunities, you promote a culture of creativity, independence and excellence, which serves both you and your employees.