In the world of business, buzz words like employee retention, employee engagement, and company culture are thrown around at alarming rates. There is great debate as to whether any of the above listed concepts carry much meaning. What is employee retention? Company culture? These seemingly nebulous concepts all really amount to one thing: the way your people feel when they are at work. So, who sets the metrics on good company culture and employee retention? If you fail to set clear parameters when it comes to company culture, you may realize that employee retention is more difficult and find yourself with a mutiny on your hands.
Good company culture grows out of a few different places. Your staff must be like-minded, listened to, and also motivated to work on a common goal. The concept isn’t exactly nebulous, but it is difficult to foster a strong sense of what your business does, what your business means, and how your employees specifically play into the ‘doing’ and ‘meaning’ of your business. You can help build a strong company culture by doing the following:
1) Hiring is a science. Training is an art form.
If you peruse job listings on many websites, there a few key phrases that are repeated over and over. Hiring managers are often looking for ‘self-starters’ that need ‘little to no supervision.’ These are not necessarily bad things to look for in staff. Autonomous workers who take initiative are the lifeblood of good business. That being said, those phrases can also mean that a business is looking for people that they do not have to train. While an employee handbook may seem like a small detail, it is actually a huge component in building solid company culture. You want your people to know from the first day they come into your office what is expected of them. If everyone starts on the same page, from the same place, your managers will have less work to do when explaining company policies and protections. This is imperative for new hires, but can also be important for existing staff as well. If you hold regular all-hands meetings that review company structure and policy, you do a better job at ensuring that your people understand the rules of the job they are undertaking. This creates a structure, but also a sense of camaraderie that cannot be undervalued.
2) Hire for job fit first, culture fit second.
Every good human resources professional knows that if you were to leave hiring solely up to the CEO, you would end up with a staff that is almost unilaterally the same. Having staff that is like-minded and interested in the longevity of your company is a good thing, right? It can be, but CEOs are also in charge of setting the tone for the entire company. Which means that diversity is often the mother of creativity. It is up to cooperation between your hiring managers and your human resources people to find the people who fit the position first, and potentially your culture second. Why? Because the more you diversify your company culture from the top down, the more your people will be open to new ideas and innovations. This circles back to the idea of training that includes strong mission statements and company values. Even if a new hire is a little bit different from your current team, if you set clear company policies, you garner the expectation that everyone will be operating under the same set of rules. This way you diversify within an existing structure and innovate within a given set of rules.
3) Listen to your people.
One of the biggest reasons why an employee may leave a job is that they feel undervalued, and that their voice is not heard. Of course, every company has the squeaky wheel employee that never seems satisfied with anything, we agree that there are more effective ways to deal with those types of people. Those specific people should not deter you from keeping a listening ear open for your employees who do good work on a consistent basis. Train your management to keep there doors open to your people so that your employees feel like their ideas and contributions are valued within the company structure.
4) Good company culture starts from the top down.
If your CEOs and upper-level managers are not willing to play by the companies policies, your managers will be less likely to as well. This all trickles down to the lowest level employees. The most important people in the company have to be willing to embody the mission and concept of the company as a whole. If your top people are open, honest, and willing to play by the rules, they will set the standard for the rest of your staff to behave the same way. The old parenting trick of, ‘Do what I say, not what I do,’ does not go very far when it comes to building successful company culture.
5) Value HR. Even when it’s not your friend.
The job of Human Resources is to take care of your people, from payroll to compliance. If your human resources department is weak or non-existent, you leave your employees without proper channels to express concerns or feelings of discomfort within the work place. There is also a certain level of security that comes with knowing exactly who writes your paycheck, where you stand with PTO and benefits, etc. Your human resources department is also responsible for writing and administering things like an employee handbook. Make your HR department be a key player in how your company runs, and you can see growth, and financial gain.
At Idilus, we know that employees and employers live in a delicate balance of needing each other. Let us help you find the perfect mission statement and voice for your company to lay the framework for strong company culture today. For more ideas on how to value your people see here.