Sure you want to improve your workplace culture. But how do you start? And what does "company culture" mean, anyway?
It's an often talked about, but still misunderstood idea. Because the concept of workplace culture can be hard to grasp, it's even harder to try to improve culture for your employees.
In this article, you'll find 3 easy examples of company culture, with tips on how to start them at your company.
Company Culture Examples: 3 Ways to Kickstart Your Team
When "company culture" comes to mind, often people will think of Google -- or really, any Silicon Valley company -- that has disrupted what workplace culture used to be.
By shaking up the status quo of things like dress codes, benefits packages, and standard recognition programs, a new cultural shift is well underway. Here are 3 simple ways to inject of shot of this new culture into your workplace.
1. Break the Chain of Predictable Meetings
Freedom and spontaneity allow creative thoughts to bubble up and see the light of day. Doing the same thing day in and day out slows the flow of ideas, energy, and enthusiasm.
To be innovative, you've got to allow the space for innovation to grow.
While some companies are choosing to do away with meetings altogether (at least for a short time), that's not going to work for every business.
But it's worth it to examine the ideas behind eliminating meetings.
By getting rid of some standard meetings that always happen at the same time and place, employees are able to have spontaneous conversations about specific topics with exactly the right people -- no more, no less.
That means more productivity on a list of topics that are relevant to everyone.
How to Start
Start making small changes that shake things up a bit.
If you can't fathom getting rid of meetings completely, try have the weekly staff meeting at the coffee shop down the street. A change of venue could be just the thing to create a more relaxed, creative atmosphere.
You can also try a rotating schedule where the meeting is led by a different person each time.
2. Provide Continuing Education & Skill Building Benefits
Providing on-going learning opportunities has a big impact on the products or services you offer your clients. With the most up-to-date information under their belt, your employees will have a handle on what's going on in the field outside the bubble of their office.
It's not just that someone at the company needs to keep up with new tools, technology, and trends -- it's that everyone should.
Your goal should be to improve your employees out of the position you hired them in.
As Tech.co shows, one way to do this is to be flexible enough to shape an employees job tasks around what they're good at. Leveraging each employees' aptitude will go much further than trying to mold individuals to fit the company's needs.
How to Start
To start small, bring in a speakers for regular lunch and learn sessions at work. An hour of compelling ideas with a free lunch can be a good way to kickstart some creative thinking.
For a bigger step, offer continuing education reimbursement or a ticket to an industry conference.
Anything you can do to keep your employees engaged with the work and continuing to better themselves will ultimately benefit the company.
3. Understand Who Owns Culture
It may be in one person's job description to keep on top of a company's culture, but the responsibility falls to everyone.
From the CEO to the newest hire, everyone contributes to and benefits from (or is crushed by) the workplace culture.
For example, it's up to management to solicit feedback from employees about how things are going, what changes they'd like to see -- and then to follow through with the conversation.
Don't let suggestions fall flat -- if they're not going to happen, spell out why it's not a good choice at this point. Otherwise your employees will feel like their ideas are just being ignored.
On the flip side, employees need to take an active role in shaping the company culture, too. Being a problem solver will make employees more valuable to the company than being a complainer will. And it's more personally rewarding too. At the end of the day, it feels much better to have spent time finding solutions than feeling like it's all out of your hands.
How to Start
Get a conversation started. Either in person or through an online survey. Gather some talking points about what everyone feels about the company's culture. Ask questions like:
- What 3 things do workers look forward to each day at work?
- What 3 things do workers dread each day?
- Where are the bottlenecks?
- What drew employees to the company in the first place?
- What changes -- small and large -- would people like to see?
Questions like these can serve as a place to start when deciding the best steps for shaping or re-shaping your culture.