Companies want employees to be passionate advocates for their missions, but the sad truth is most employees aren’t that excited about work. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 32% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. If your employees aren’t committed to and enthusiastic about work, it may be time to examine your company culture.
In short, company culture is a company’s personality. It describes how workers relate to and experience a company’s mission, values, ethics, expectations, goals, and workspaces. A strong company culture is linked with how satisfied and productive employees are and whether they decide to stay at a company long-term. Unfortunately, the culture at many companies could use some work: Only 27% of employees strongly agree that they believe in their company’s values.
Ways to Improve Company Culture
Deliberately cultivate a culture that makes employees excited to come to work with these six tried-and-true principles.
1. Be on brand
A company culture grows out of a company’s brand, and it should be unique. Airbnb and Etsy are examples of companies with rich cultures that reflect their overall missions. Airbnb’s travel-inspired workspaces are decorated like exotic locales, including a Mexican log cabin, a Shanghai loft, and a café in Mumbai, and employees receive annual travel credits. Etsy’s employees work on artisan-made desks and attend on-site craft nights. Make sure your office and employee practices reflect the unique values and vision you promote as a company.
2. Be transparent
Nearly one in three employees say they don’t trust their employer. You can create an open culture by sharing successes, failures, challenges, and organizational changes with your team. Hold regular meetings to keep everyone in the know.
3. Prioritize well-being
American workers are stressed out: 80% of workers report feeling stress on the job, 25% of workers say they’ve felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress, and 19% of workers have left a job because of job stress. Here are some ways to make your employees’ physical and mental well-being a priority:
- Encourage employees to take breaks
- Provide healthy snacks and meals
- Offer flexible working hours
- Provide sick and vacation leave
- Offer discounts on gym memberships or meditation classes
- Provide bike parking and a changing room for foot and bike commuters
- Make sure managers model healthy work-life habits
- Provide dynamic workstations, such as sit-stand or active desks
4. Reward valuable contributions
If you want your employees to come to work inspired to work hard every day, notice and praise them when they do well. Only 29% of employees say they always know whether they’re doing a good job at work. Appreciation makes a difference. Between 67% to 90% of companies who adopt an employee recognition program report an improvement in employee engagement. The most valuable kind of recognition frequently happens during sincere in-person interactions. Rewards don’t have to be monetary. Thank your employees for doing fantastic work by giving them more of the types of projects they love.
5. Embrace constructive feedback
Constructive criticism is necessary because it helps workers, managers, and organizations improve. Most managers don’t like to give negative feedback, but 72% of employees in a Harvard Business Review study said they thought their performance would improve if their managers provided more corrective feedback. Moreover, 57% of employees in the same study preferred receiving corrective feedback to receiving praise. If this study is any indication, employees want managers to behave more like mentors. And the conversation needs to go two ways: Managers must be able to listen gracefully to and act on employee feedback. Encourage employees to share concerns and give them multiple ways to do so, including anonymously. No matter how hard it is to hear feedback, thank employees for speaking up, take action if necessary, and follow up.
6. Support employee growth
If you want your employees to love work, you should commit to their growth. In one study employees who received the most career development resources were the most loyal to their companies. Help employees create individual career development plans, which include the skills they want to build, projects they want to take on, and steps for achieving their goals. Check in regularly to make sure employees feel satisfied with their career development path and have the resources they need to grow.
Build Your Culture and Your Employees Will Flourish
Your employees are the ambassadors for your company. By actively developing an open, positive, healthy, and innovative culture, you’ll transform them into your most passionate advocates.