There are many schools of thought around what impacts internal culture. Through our experience working with clients to help engage employees and conducting research on the value and methods for doing so, we’ve identified five key areas that contribute to a company’s culture: understanding, appreciation, happiness, participation and loyalty.
Are employees aware of what they need to know to succeed and how to use it?
An important baseline for fostering a positive culture is open communication. Employees need to understand leaders’ goals and vision for the future. They need to know what the brand is all about — what it stands for and how it should come across. And they need to recognize their role in the company’s success. This includes defining their responsibilities, opportunities and potential career trajectory.
Do employees feel valued?
This comes down to a combination of respect and recognition. Respect is as important in business as it is in life. Creating a culture of respect means employees feel they are treated fairly, they can contribute and they are heard. And that when they contribute something meaningful, they are recognized for it. Not monetarily, but with acknowledgment and appreciation.
Do employees find enjoyment, energy and inspiration in their work and workplace?
Not surprisingly, happy workers are more productive. 12% percent more productive in fact. A positive culture can go a long way towards impacting employee happiness — including things like a comfortable, inspiring work environment and policies that promote work-life balance. Fostering positive working relationships among colleagues also contributes to employees’ happiness. 67% of employees in a recent survey reported that having friends at work makes their job more fun and enjoyable.
Do employees take advantage of opportunities offered and find them relevant and rewarding?
Whether it is providing continuing education and career development through conferences, classes or mentorship, or hosting social events from holiday parties to happy hours to volunteer efforts — a key component of any corporate culture is bringing employees together. The personality and values of an organization should guide the types of programs and events offered. And, the more involved employees are in creating these opportunities, the more likely they’ll be to participate and find value in them.
Do employees want to stay and contribute to the company’s success?
Research out of Columbia University showed that companies with a strong culture are less likely to have high turnover than those with weak cultures. At the same time, low turnover is a part of what fosters that positive culture. Employees build relationships and grow more comfortable and efficient working together over time. In addition to retention, a telling measurement of employee loyalty is their likelihood to refer people from their own network to their company’s job openings.
These five areas combined create a holistic picture of a company’s internal culture. They can guide how to build, improve and even measure it — an effort that is worth the investment. In addition to benefits like higher customer satisfaction and lower employee turnover, investing in culture leads to stronger financial performance. In fact, stock market returns among the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® are nearly three times greater than the market average.
We use this framework to help companies of all types cultivate a strong internal culture and engage employees in ways that align with their brand and lead to meaningful business results. Interested in how we could help yours? Contact us.