One of your top priorities should be to have happy employees. Why? Because when employees look forward to going to work each day and enjoy the challenges, environment, and people they work with, they will be more productive and loyal. In turn, that means that your company will have better overall performance and a lower turnover rate.
So what is the key to employee satisfaction? The answer: an awesome company culture.
But wait, what is company culture? G&A Partners describe,
“Corporate culture is like the proverbial iceberg. The portion visible above the surface is small relative to the whole. Those things that are visible may include a stated mission, vision and values, organizational charts, policies and procedures, and published processes. What lies beneath the surface can be far more significant. It’s the shared assumptions, norms, unwritten rules – it’s “the way things really work around here.” It may not always be consistent with what is visible at the surface, but it is what’s beneath the surface that truly cultivates culture.”
Frances Frei and Anne Morriss at Harvard Business Review explain the effects of company culture:
“Culture guides discretionary behavior and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is our guide. Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is of course most of the time.”
A company’s culture is in essence its “personality,” and it has a huge effect on an employee’s daily work experience. So when it comes to the job hunt and hiring process, job seekers look beyond salary and take culture into account. They want to work at a place where they would be happy and enjoy spending ±9 hours of every day. They also want to work for a successful, productive company. Therefore, if your company has an awesome work culture in which employees are happy and successful, it will automatically attract compatible prospective employees. “The culture will become a self-selecting mechanism for employees and candidates,” Kissmetrics blog expounds. “The people who would fit into your culture become attracted to it and may end up with a job.”
Here are some ways to create an exciting and enticing culture that will attract excellent prospective employees:
A relaxed dress code
Diversity is a highly valued trait in these modern times. Currently, companies seeking to construct a thriving culture often make their dress codes less restrictive and more relaxed. A professional look can still be maintained while letting employees show their individuality through their appearance.
Put company values front and center
Values are part of the beneath-the-surface portion of the iceberg. They aren’t always immediately visible like the dress code, but are far more significant than most things. Standards such as humility, integrity, respect, honesty, and communication will help foster a tight-knit team that works well together and with customers. Determine your company’s values and then put them at the core of what your business is all about. All employees need to know what company values are and make them priority. When hiring, seek out people that already hold to these same values; they will mesh with your company culture and quickly fit in.
Give your employees freedom. Teach them all they need to know, guide them, and check in sometimes, but give them the space they need to excel. When all employees do is obey orders, they become robots with minimal impact and little job satisfaction. Let your employees in on decisions, ask for their input, and listen to their ideas. Give everyone a voice and an opportunity to use their talent and really contribute.
Offer some flexibility
One way to earn employees’ loyalty and show them they are valued is to give a little flexibility when it comes to work schedules. Examples of ways to do this are letting employees work from home a certain number days per month, or work longer days Monday-Thursday to then get off early on Friday. These kinds of opportunities help employees balance work and life, and are an attractive benefit to prospective hires.
Many people feel the desire to serve others and their community but struggle to find time and ways to do so in the midst of their busy lives. Some companies take it upon themselves to create opportunities for their employees to give back. Employees could first participate by suggesting causes the company could support and then voting to determine which will be pursued. The company could then organize fundraisers, on-site volunteering, etc. A program could also be developed in which employees could choose to take one day off a month to volunteer for a cause of their choice. Opportunities like this help promote a culture of service and humility.
Interact with the little guys
When possible, company leaders can interact with the little guys of the company. Try making executives accessible to employees of all levels to answer questions or listen to concerns. An organized way to do this could be doing a lunch with the leadership of the company on a somewhat regular basis.
Develop training programs in which employees can learn the skills they need to progress in their careers, and more specifically, in your company. Great employees want to grow in their field, and if you don’t provide them opportunities to do that, at some point they will leave and look elsewhere. Tell your employees and prospective hires that there is room for advancement and make it clear what they need to do to move up.
If you are looking to promote freedom and transparency in your company, it only makes sense to have an open floor plan. Get rid of the cubicles and try large tables and open doors. People who want to slack off when no one’s looking won’t be attracted to such an environment. Hard-working team players will be.
You don’t have to live up to Google-like expectations to attract employees with perks. Even small companies can afford to improve the employee experience. Free breakfast or snacks, company parties, a ping-pong table, or the day off on your birthday are just some affordable ideas to lift spirits and contribute to a good company culture. Most importantly, show your employees that you value them and their experience at this company.