Company Culture and the Employee Experience
Company culture has a lot to do with employee experience, and vice versa. In fact, they are essential to each other’s success: a great company culture fosters a great employee experience, and a great employee experience both reflects and fuels a great company culture. Together, they can lead to valuable business benefits like increased productivity, reduced turnover, and greater employee satisfaction.
The HR team as well as management can be the ideal catalyst for improving company culture and employee experience. With its finger on the pulse of employee and leader sentiments alike, HR is often described as the caretaker of workplace culture and plays a major role in shaping employee experience.
What Is Company Culture?
Company culture is often called the personality of an organization. It is a shared set of workplace values, attitudes, standards, purposes, processes, beliefs, and behaviors. Company culture reflects both the written and unwritten rules that people in an organization follow. Your organization’s culture is the sum of all that you and your colleagues think, say, and do as you work together.
Each company’s culture is different, influenced by the foundational elements of the organization’s mission, vision, and values plus a unique combination of other factors such as the company’s leadership, goals, obstacles, industry, workforce characteristics, and position in the marketplace.
Examples of Company Culture
Culture includes a thousand little things, and some big ones too—such as:
- How different departments and teams get along.
- The way work assignments are doled out.
- Whether birthdays are celebrated.
- How opportunities for advancement are provided.
- Whether employees can have face time with executives.
- What’s talked about (or taboo) in the lunchroom.
- Whether employees prefer to collaborate or work alone.
- Whether there’s pressure to work when you’re sick.
What Company Culture Is Not
People often incorrectly associate company culture with perks that are provided for employees, like free food and video games in the workplace. Most perks are too superficial to create or define a company’s culture, although they may be welcome expressions of it.
How Does Company Culture Take Shape?
Every organization develops a company culture, whether they realize it or not. Even if an organization does nothing, culture forms and evolves on its own—but an unguided, unstructured culture may do more harm than good. A serious disconnect could emerge between your organization’s mission, vision, and values and what its employees and leaders actually do, damaging your employees’ trust in their employer. To avoid this, management must take an active role in building company culture in positive ways that align your organization’s ideals and goals with everyone’s behaviors.
Some elements of company culture are easier than others to shape and guide—and that’s okay. Fostering a strong culture doesn’t require having complete control of it (which is unrealistic to expect); it’s about nurturing an environment where people can thrive and do their best.
Who Is Responsible for Company Culture?
From new hires to senior executives, everyone in an organization should play a part in developing and maintaining a vibrant company culture. Leaders approve initiatives that shape it. Middle managers put those initiatives into action. Employees strengthen the company’s culture by supporting its ideals.
Why Is Company Culture Important?
It’s hard to overstate the potential impact of company culture—and the business world knows it. Here are some of the key business benefits that can result from a thriving culture:
- Increased revenue and profits
- Higher productivity
- Improved morale
- Greater employee satisfaction
- Increased employee engagement
- Reduced turnover and associated recruiting and training costs
- Greater interest from top talent
- Heightened creativity and innovation
- Improved customer experience and satisfaction
When employees enjoy their jobs, they strive to improve their work and their workplace. That’s why maintaining a strong, appealing company culture is not only the right thing to do, but also a smart business strategy.
What Does a Great Company Culture Look Like?
No two workplace cultures are alike, but many great ones share common practices such as these that make their company a great place to work:
- Encourage diversity: Organizations with great cultures hire different types of people who add new perspectives and skills instead of people who all think alike.
- Help new hires feel welcome: From the beginning of onboarding, these organizations provide the tools, training, guidance, and relationship-building opportunities that new hires need to settle in and do their best work.
- Engage employees: Great company cultures promote performance, growth, and loyalty by providing meaningful learning opportunities and appealing career paths.
- Include everyone: They make sure every employee is heard, valued, and respected.
- Recognize and reward: They regularly provide helpful feedback and sincere appreciation.
- Prepare for the future: As the industry and workforce continue to change, great organizations proactively adapt to their employees’ evolving needs and interests to sustain each individual’s success.
Maintaining Company Culture with Remote Employees
The arrival of COVID-19 brought explosive growth to the already-increasing number of people who work remotely, and many continue to do so. But whenever employees aren’t physically present, it can be all too easy to overlook them. HR should take steps to make sure remote workers are familiar with your company culture and know they are an important and welcome part of it.
What this looks like will depend on the nature of your business and the remote worker’s circumstances, but here are a few suggestions:
- If feasible, invite remote workers to come into the office for onboarding activities and periodic visits so they have a chance to meet people face to face and experience the workplace environment.
- Introduce them to your company’s mission, vision, and values during onboarding and explain how the new hire can support them.
- Have their manager use a videoconferencing platform such as Zoom to include them in team and company meetings, strategy sessions, training, and even social events like lunchtime birthday parties or baby showers. It’s a good idea to keep the video on as often as possible to help remote workers get to know their coworkers better and bond with them.
- Include remote workers’ deserving accomplishments in your rewards and recognition program.
- Encourage the team to keep their daily chat conversations flowing to give remote workers a handy way to make friends, ask questions, discuss team projects, and avoid feeling isolated.
Tags: company culture, employee experience, employees, leadership, mission, morale, productivity, team building, turnover, vision