How to Improve Corporate Culture

Have you ever been in a corporate environment that felt dull, dry or boring? If so, you’re not alone; in fact, a recent study found that 51% of employees feel disengaged at work.

While this lack of interest in the workplace can certainly take a toll on the mental health of each employee, breeding burn-out and stress, it also has an enormous impact on the economy at large as disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses between $450 and $550 billion per year.

On the other hand, when employees are interested and involved in their workplace, the impact is strikingly positive: absenteeism drops by 41%, productivity increases by 17%, and turnover lowers by 24%. Furthermore, highly engaged teams can boost profitability by 21%.

It’s clear that refining a company’s corporate culture to promote engagement is an excellent way to not only elevate employee happiness but to improve the bottom line as well. When it comes to improving an organization’s culture, the best place to start is at the top.

A Top-Down Approach

Companies tend to mirror the traits of their leaders. Strong leaders build strong cultures, and weak leaders build weak cultures.

While inclusive, thoughtful and inspiring leaders can steer their companies towards interactions that are vibrant, collaborative and engaging, idiosyncratic leaders often foster environments that promote greed, isolation and attrition.

Such idiosyncratic leaders tend to make decisions without considering how their choices will affect their subordinates first. Because employees serve a company’s customers, when managers show that they don’t value the well-being of employees, they also send that same message to the public, thus leading to negative impacts on many levels.

Therefore, leaders should understand the value of a robust corporate culture and begin to consider the traits that define their ideal corporate culture. Then, they should work to imbibe those traits within themselves. If done successfully, the positive attitudes of the leader will permeate throughout the entire company, allowing for enormous bottom-up growth as employees become more confident, creative and engaged.

However, it takes more than one person to change a company’s culture. Companies typically don’t have just one leader; instead, leadership happens on many levels. With that in mind, adapting the hiring process to bring on individuals who will push culture forward is a big key to success.

Hiring With Culture in Mind

Each individual hire should be made in part to push the organization’s culture forward. However, human resource departments typically don’t focus enough on how individual hires will improve culture. Instead, they often look for people who fall in line with their existing culture. As such, office dynamics remain stagnant, never experiencing any fresh approaches that might add value.

So, when hiring, it’s important to understand each candidates’ demonstrated experience in participating and shaping organizational culture. It’s also necessary to get to know how the candidates define being a positive influence and how they’ve done it in the past.

Leading companies understand that their HR departments can’t do this alone, so many have created new positions within the company that allow one individual to focus solely on cultural development, many of whom hold titles such as Chief Culture Officer, Chief Learning Officer, or Chief People Officer.

The individual who takes on this type of position will be responsible for cultivating a strong, dynamic, and resilient culture that adapt to disruption with ease. After conducting research to define what kind of culture the company needs, they will work closely with the CEO and HR department to reinforce this culture in all areas, including the recruitment, on-boarding, team-building, and recognition of employees.

Those in this new role will also work to ensure that their company’s culture falls seamlessly in line with their goals and that the best practices for communication are invoked at all levels to keep the culture vibrant.

Although this might sound like a lot of work, investing in corporate culture can provide a company with a strong competitive advantage, which will lead to an excellent ROI in the future. With these principles in mind, your organization will be on its way towards developing a robust culture in no time.


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