It’s likely a lot less time-consuming than you might think. It’s also one of the number one ways to engage your employees continuously over time. Workers will always do better in a culture that focuses on support, collaboration, and ongoing communication.
That’s what great company culture is all about.
If you’re looking for ways to make your workplace an even more desirable place to work in 2022, focusing on company culture is an excellent starting point.
Below, we dive into what company culture is, why it matters, and provide insight from HR expert Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of Workology.
What is Company Culture?
Think about how you would describe your workplace. That’s company culture. How your team acts and your company’s responses to various situations? That’s company culture. The most successful companies are ones with a cohesive culture that’s thoroughly understood and supported by a company’s structure and in-place strategies.
Why it Matters to Look at How to Improve Company Culture
Want to keep the best employees on your team? Company culture plays a role in that. With many companies experiencing staffing shortages, doing what you can to keep your best workers in place should be a priority.
Going into 2022, take a look at how to improve company culture in a way that works for your company.
Thanks to the pandemic, there will be more than one culture within workplaces that use hybrid work models. Molding a strong culture helps employees understand how to react to situations and that there are rewards and consequences for following company culture and protocol.
A strong company culture:
- Engages employees
- Reduces turnover rates
- Increases the bottom line
- Maintains employees long-term
- Improves customer relationships
Ultimately, your company culture can make or break your team. It can cultivate engaged employees or further disengage employees. Think of ways leadership would want the company to be described — progressive, fun, casual, collaborative, connected, etc. — and then work toward that with your team as you build and rework your own unique culture.
One HR Expert’s Thoughts on the Future of Company Culture
Jessica Miller-Merrell is an HR expert and the CEO and founder of Workology, an HR digital resources website. Miller-Merrell is also an author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. She has been recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker.
Below, she weighs in on how company culture will look different in 2022.
Q: How do you think companies are looking at company culture in new ways post-pandemic?
There will be two different company culture and engagement strategy focuses moving forward: remote and in-person culture building. While these are not mutually exclusive and all that different, there are some key challenges and planning that need to happen, especially for the remote workforce.
Relationship and culture-building take intention and thought in order to build relationships. This goes beyond simple happy birthday and employee time in service recognition.
The majority of my team are remote only and a handful I have never met in person, but we have created a culture that I believe is inclusive of all our staff, open, and allows everyone to participate. It takes thought and intention to do this. Personally, we work very hard and offer intensive training for our new team members for the first 45 days while meeting with everyone weekly (at a minimum) to ensure we are all on the same page.
Q: Why should C-suite level and company leadership care about company culture and frequently review its place in the workplace?
Great company culture helps decrease employee turnover and increase employee satisfaction. If your company is experiencing high turnover, it is not always because of salary or a lack of qualified candidates; it can also be that your company has a negative reputation that candidates are steering clear from applying.
Spend time looking at online company review sites and look at your employee exit interview surveys to get a better understanding of why people leave. Executives also need to understand how expensive it is to hire right now which makes employee retention efforts more important than ever before.
Q: What are some ways to make company culture strong?
Start by talking with your employees. Ask them what three words they would use to describe the culture at your company. Ask them what they like most about working there. Get your employees involved and spend time listening to them. Make changes or adjust programs based on their feedback and ideas. This will help create a stronger culture just by spending time asking the questions.
Employees want more respect and communication from two different groups of people at their company above all others — and that is executives and their direct managers. There is no secret weapon or strategy to "create culture." It starts by asking the right questions and listening to your people and doing that regularly.
Q: What suggestions do you have for those in company leadership positions to enter 2022 with a focus on improving company culture?
Talk to your people. If you don't see them often in person or you are working remotely, schedule a 15-minute conversation 1-2 times a month with direct reports, at a minimum.
Executives should make time to drop into team meetings of their direct reports and to be available for questions and relationship building. Find ways to be available online or remotely for team members. One of my favorite ways is what VaynerMedia is doing. They have a daily team meeting for 25 minutes on a private YouTube channel where they have fun and it often includes a special guest. Leadership is visible, accessible and they engage with the entire team at least once a day.
Enter 2022 Focused on Company Culture
It’s a new year and a perfect time to turn over a new slate. If your company leadership needs another solid goal to set for 2022, make it focused on cultivating the ideal culture.
Final tips to create a better company culture:
- Hire right - Even if you’re short-staffed, quickly hiring just anyone to fill the position is a mistake. Not only can it potentially cause rifts in the department if the wrong person is hired, but it is also costly. One survey report uncovered that organizations with 100-999 employees spent about $1,678 per employee in 2020 for training.
- Have open communication - You won’t get the proper feedback if you aren’t open to it. Provide a variety of ways and methods your team can offer insight into the company’s culture without pressure.
- Make employees the priority - Employees know if all a company cares about is the bottom line. Invest in employees, ask for feedback, take concerns seriously, and they’ll feel respected and stay loyal.
Whether you want to keep loyal employees, improve your company’s reputation, attract better employees, or improve productivity, focusing on improving culture is the answer. It will take time, feedback, and patience, but it’s well worth it when it creates an atmosphere that’s exciting to go into each day.
What are some ways your company is working on creating a better culture in 2022? Drop your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!