The daily grind. A common way to describe one’s job, whereas grinding typically means to pulverize into fine dust. It’s a reassuring way to describe an activity most of the world has to participate in. Who among us hasn’t disliked a colleague, whined about the lack of work-life balance, or lamented in the absence of transparency in our work environments? At some point, most people will work a job that does grind them into a fine powder, only existing to collect a paycheck. More so than not, this lack of motivation and job satisfaction can be attributed to poor workplace culture.
A bad office environment does more than drain current employees, it also makes it hard to recruit top talent. Today, it’s hard to find a person who would endure a bad work environment for money. Even more so, it’s easy for any potential employee to look up reviews on sites like Glassdoor to see what past and present employees are saying. If you want to find, and keep, employees who consistently put out great work, you need to focus on company culture.
Good company culture is the foundation of any successful company. It prevents a high turnover rate — which is as damaging as expensive — and keeps everyone working towards the same mission. While a decent salary is important, most employees are no longer willing to endure a bad environment for money alone. Focusing on creating a great work environment will go a long way in attracting exceptional talent and ensuring employee happiness. An unsatisfactory workplace culture can lead to stress and if your employees don’t look forward to coming to work every day, their performance levels and overall productivity will suffer.
How do you create great company culture? While it takes commitment, it’s nowhere near impossible. Read on for our list of ways to start building a great company culture — one that makes work life interesting, encouraging, and stimulating for everyone.
Make Your Employees Feel Valued
This is easily the most important — and it starts the moment someone joins your team. When you make the decision to hire someone, you should also be ready to trust them with important responsibilities without stifling their creativity. Encourage open workplace communication and be welcoming of suggestions. Even more so, work towards creating a team that regularly gives praise to each other. If managerial employees have a monopoly in decision-making, it is a surefire way of alienating other hard-working employees and making them feel resentful. Wouldn’t it annoy you if you were always sidelined at work? On the other hand, when decisions are made together as a team, employees will gladly get on board with the company’s goals and targets. With a collaborative and encouraging environment, employees are more likely to bring new ideas to the table.
Encourage Outdoor Activities and Employee Wellness Programs
You shouldn’t just give your employees an annual gym membership and call it a wellness program. People are more stressed than ever now and visits to therapists have skyrocketed over the last decade. Instead of just having an office gym or reimbursing your employees for their gym memberships, inspire them to be more outdoorsy. As human beings, we spend a substantial portion of our lives working indoors at our desk jobs and there is no reason to restrict our exercise routines to enclosed rooms. Spending too much time indoors can lead to depression and other mental health disorders. Consider reimbursing your employees for a bicycle instead or organize regular outdoor activities with the team. Workplace fitness challenges are also gaining in popularity. You can alternate challenges every month ranging from how many steps one takes to how often they bring health lunch options.
You should stock your office pantry with healthy snack options and do away with sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks. In addition, consider investing in standing desks that let employees switch between sitting and standing during work hours. To combat stress, host regular yoga classes at the workplace.
Flexible Work Hours and Occasional Remote Work
We all know how stressful it can be to juggle work and other obligations. The average person has very little time to spend with their friends and family. Offer your employees flexible work hours instead of forcing them to work on a predetermined timetable. There is plenty of research to support the advantages of flexible work hours. When you allow employees the freedom to create a work schedule that suits their lifestyle, it will invariably increase their productivity and commitment to the job. Whereas forcing someone to be in front of their computer from 8-5 doesn’t guarantee they are getting work done. Occasional remote work has also shown to lower stress levels as it reduces the commute time and leaves employees with the ability to pursue their hobbies and interests. Remote work has the added advantage of being an environment-friendly policy as it reduces pollution and makes our roads less crowded. It also comes down to making the right hiring decisions. Everyone on your team should be someone you trust to meet their outcomes without you monitoring them.
Treat Your Employees to Awesome Social Events
Organizing regular corporate events and team outings can help create meaningful experiences for your employees. It gives them the chance to bond and get to know one another outside the office. Although fancy dinners, spa weekends and all-expense paid trips can be fantastic options, corporate social events don’t necessarily have to be extravagant or fancy. If you’re working on a tight budget, there are plenty of simple things you can do to induce a sense of relaxation and camaraderie among your employees.
Beyond social events, consider arranging an offsite meeting. It gives your team a chance to get away from their work to focus on company goals. When everyone feels involved in the company’s mission and values, they are more likely to work together.
Say Yes to Paid Vacation
Employee burnout is real. While burnout can be addressed by organizational changes, your company should also force employees to take time off. Americans get less paid vacation than other countries resulting in both poor mental and physical health and higher health care costs. An increasing number of employers are beginning to offer unlimited vacation policies as it shows employees that the company cares about their well-being and trust them enough to prioritize work whenever necessary. Other options are having more companywide days off — more and more offices close the week between Christmas and New Years. Alternatively, forcing employees to take a set amount of PTO each year. If you do this, however, it’s important to make sure the number of days you require isn’t their entire allotted time, since a lot of people do like saving their PTO for bigger trips. For example, if you offer 15 days of PTO, requiring employees to use five days each year ensures they are taking time off, without sacrificing too much PTO.
Promote continuing education and growth opportunities
Some of the best employees are the ones who are always learning. One of the most popular employee benefits includes company-assisted continuing education programs. More companies nowadays encourage employees to explore additional professional certifications, while offering to subsidize a portion of the costs. This encourages individuals to further hone in on industry-specific accreditations which are mutually beneficial. Additionally, many companies will pay for their employees to attend a few conferences each year, giving them the chance to grow their skill set and network.
The current workforce is full of skilled professionals that any company would be happy to have. But, how do you retain them? With well-known companies such as Google, Facebook and Airbnb all implementing well-publicized employee benefit plans and office perks, it is hard not to see the value. Beyond big companies, many smaller companies are also realizing it’s worth the investment to prioritize good company culture. It allows them to hire the best talent early on, which is essential for growth. The days of standard annual pay increases are long-gone, and companies are now adopting policies that include pay hikes coupled with other employee benefits geared towards making their lives better.
In the age of increasing corporate transparency and overall access to information, we hear a lot about company culture. Who pays their workers. Who doesn’t. Who is regularly ranking on “Best Places to Work” lists. Your company is only as good as your employees, so it’s critical that you invest in them.
Ready to build your great company culture? Start with a team building event! Contact us today to learn about our customized events for companies of any size. Currently offering corporate events in Berkley, Long Beach, Marina del Rey, New York, Newport Beach, San Diego, and San Francisco.