Building a Company Culture People Love to Work For
Do your employees jaunt home after work to brag about how much they enjoy their jobs? Or do they scurry out of the office as quickly as possible, hoping to push memories of the workplace from their minds? Most companies would hope they have loads of the former and none of the latter, and that’s entirely possible by improving your company culture and creating a company that people love to work for.
Building such a company can start with pinpointing a few companies you truly admire, and then researching their culture to see what makes them shine. While you can certainly use their culture as guidance for creating your own, you want to ensure your own unique passions and values come through. True passion for what you do can work like a magnet in attracting others that feel the same way. It’s also is a significant contributor to a happy workplace, particularly if you enhance it with the following strategies.
Encourage Professional Growth
Stagnant employees can quickly become unhappy employees. One way to boost happiness is by providing opportunities for professional growth. For larger companies, this could mean job promotions into management or into subject matter expert roles. Smaller companies may find this can mean additional job responsibilities and investing in their professional development.
For companies of any size, it is important to set goals for employees that are both relevant to their position and motivating to their personal interests. Further, you should show that you are invested in seeing them achieve these goals. One way to support professional goals is by giving your employees the chance to attend conferences or enroll in classes that will support their learning and development.
How Birkman does it: every Birkman employee has an annual professional development budget that they can invest to develop their skills, stay knowledgeable of their industry trends, and earn new credentials.
Listen for Feedback
People like to feel valued, and there’s no better way to show value to your employees and improve company culture than by listening to what they have to say. Creating a culture of listening contributes to valued opinions and freedom of expression, but it can also result in innovation from brilliant employee-driven ideas.
It’s important to hear input from all employees, whether they’re providing feedback on a major client-facing project or a minor improvement in the company processes. Allowing people to speak openly and share their ideas without fear is a must for generating high morale throughout the workforce.
How Birkman does it: employees are empowered to give anonymous feedback to leadership both on their performance and how key events, such as the Birkman Conference, are managed by our leaders.
Employees don’t fall in love with companies they don’t trust, and a solid way to build trust is by being as transparent as possible in everything you do. Whether it’s information about growth plans or nitty gritty details on financials, share what you can to get everyone on board.
Transparency applies to the company as a whole and to the way company leaders relate to and communicate with the team. Leaders need to be as open and honest as company disclosures, especially when dealing with employees that may be underperforming. Let everyone know exactly where they stand with the company, and what they can do to improve that standing if needed.
How Birkman does it: for company-wide announcements, we use our weekly entire-team meetings to share big news. To encourage transparency between managers and their direct reports, weekly private meetings are scheduled to review current projects or leadership decisions, while quarterly reviews maintain a regular feedback loop on performance.
Hire People Who Fit Your Culture
Company culture is much more than just the latest buzzword. It’s a concept that can make or break a company, and organizations that lack a passionate culture may stagnate in mediocrity. Not many employees are thrilled to work for a company that boasts mediocrity.
Creating a company culture that aligns with your core values is your first step. Hiring people who align with your culture is your second. Since your culture is a reflection of what your company is all about, think about the type of employees who will help you sustain it.
It's important to create thought diversity in your organization, and using a personality profile for talent selection can be helpful for creating that balance – but it's also okay to look for shared values. If your company fosters a “work hard, play hard” mentality, establish that balance of work and play while hiring people who want the same from their work environment.
How Birkman does it: we use The Birkman Method assessment during the interviewing process to ensure a good fit for the new hire within the team and we ask questions to gauge how invested the new hire would be in the future vision of our family company.
Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is a way of running your business so that it has a positive impact on both the environment and society. A positive environmental impact can come from policies that ensure your company sustains economic prosperity while tending to the environment as well as your employees. Social responsibility can arise from an ethical framework that acts for the benefit of society as a whole.
Encourage social responsibility by allowing and even encouraging volunteer opportunities for your employees. You may even want to consider a “Give Back Day” on a regular basis where employees can choose to spend the day volunteering at select organizations in lieu of a day of work at your company.
How Birkman does it: in addition to recycling and other environmentally-conscious efforts around the office, we partner with non-profit organizations that change peoples' lives through career preparedness – and they use The Birkman Method to help people find their calling in life.
Have Some Fun!
Whether it’s indoor rock climbing every other Tuesday, morning yoga every other Wednesday, or happy hour outings on Fridays, plan some out-of-the-office activities that help employees break out of work mode and have some fun. What counts as fun is different for each company, of course, and some businesses, such as tech startups, can get away with more on-the-job fun than others, such as financial and medical facilities.
What your company considers fun is not as important as simply ensuring your employees are having fun. In addition to regular outings, you can try adding fun elements around the office, offering perks like half-day Fridays in the summer or catered lunches for everyone at least once a month.
How Birkman does it: we start every Monday morning with an announcement of the achievements from the previous week, we celebrate employees' birthdays monthly, we offer a 9/80 schedule to give employees alternating Fridays off, and we celebrate work anniversaries with off-site lunches.
Building a company that people love to work for involves keeping a keen focus on the people that make it work. Being open and honest, hiring employees that fit the culture, and providing opportunities for growth, input, and feedback are all key contributors. Further ensure success by topping it off with plenty of passion and an equally wide array of chances for employees to kick back, relax, and have some fun. A solid culture and good employee morale have tremendous impact on businesses (and happiness) in the long run and help you attract more stellar talent to your team.
As a result of our efforts towards building a company culture, Birkman has been awarded the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® award locally and nationally in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
About the Author | Amy Shepley
Amy is a third generation Birkman family leader with seventeen years of experience working with organizational behavior and perception to help individuals, leaders, and teams increase performance. She started her professional journey at the University of Texas studying psychology, followed by receiving her MBA from Tulane University, and has developed her skill set by working on different types of organizational challenges with clients and consultants at Birkman. Amy has a passion for all things personality, but especially in driving innovation at Birkman to improve and scale organization success.