It’s official – employees care about company culture just as much as (if not more than) they do about the physical work environment, tools & technology, and management of the workplace.
As such, business leaders are increasingly facing the responsibility of fostering a healthy and vibrant company culture.
Fortunately, there are now various procedures in place such as eNPS (employee net promoter score) and employee feedback methods to measure and optimise the function of your HR and business as a living entity.
But if you’re unsure of how well your business prioritises employee engagement, try asking yourself the following five questions.
1. Are our employees actively promoting our company?
In today’s highly competitive talent market, building a strong brand ethos to attract potential employees is easier said than done.
The good news? Positive employer branding tends to come naturally with positive employee engagement.
You’ll know you’re on the right track when your core business values and mission are clearly defined. They should be naturally integrated and evident across your business’s operations, initiatives and environment.
What would you want your staff to say about your business? Certain keywords, phrases or expressions may come to mind. These could also help you to form a more coherent and consistent brand image and collaborative team.
These values should also be clear to your current employees, who are the ones that live your brand every day they come into work.
The goal is for your employees to act as proud ambassadors of your brand.
The next step, then, is to encourage everyone to share these feelings by spreading the word about your business, whether through online platforms or face-to-face interaction with people of interest.
2. Are people from all walks of life treated equally and respectfully at our workplace?
Just as with the last point, it is imperative that you put yourself in your employees’ shoes.
How are people treated at your company?
The modern workforce is diverse in gender, age, socio-economic status, culture, religion, and language background. Recognising, or better still, celebrating this diversity is key for positive engagement and communication between all of your employees.
Are you being wary of potential discrimination?
Keep in mind that discrimination is also a legal matter, reinforced by company codes of conduct, HR frameworks, and government legislation.
Compliance with equal opportunity goes all the way from the recruitment process to employee recognition in the workplace (think: promotions, awards, and general praise).
3. Does our work environment reflect our company culture?
Culture cannot exist in just one aspect of your company. It should be manifest across the space, in both tangible and subtle ways.
To make things easier, consider your workplace in simple terms; as a physical space that hosts people and objects.
Your office design alone – from the colour scheme, to the shape of the walls and doors, to the style of decor – can really help to define and symbolise your values and missions.
How is it structured? Are people segregated according to their position, department, level of seniority, or other factors?
If your organisation values innovation and modernity, for example, then you might want to consider showing this in your organisational structure.
Some companies might opt for more open workspaces, reflecting the flat or interdependent nature of their employee structure.
Others will separate departments or teams but encourage interaction through communal areas, whether for meetings, casual ‘water cooler’ chat, or lunch-time leisure, just to name a few examples.
Ultimately, the objective should be to create a work environment in which employees feel safe, comfortable, valued, supported and engaged while at work.
4. Are the causes & networks we support a reflection of what we believe in and who we are as a business?
The initiatives, projects and partnerships that you enter into and support can be both a reflection and an extension of your corporate identity and values.
These also help to paint a clearer image of your business’s beliefs and longer-term goals. Where is your business heading? How do you plan to get it there?
Companies that are socially responsible do just this – they utilise their resources to help others in society (or the planet), thus demonstrating social, cultural, and environmental responsibility.
There are a number of companies that prioritise corporate social responsibility. Danish toy company Lego, for example, promotes sustainability through its Build the Change and Sustainable Materials Center initiatives, and also maintains a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund.
It’s not just about creating a positive external brand image. Internally, your employees will see these efforts and be equally appreciative of how you give back. Employees who feel engaged with and connected to the causes you support will be proud and enthusiastic to represent a brand that does good.
5. Is our workplace a space that welcomes and encourages open discussion?
It can be difficult for leaders to boost collaboration and conversation across various departments and teams in a business.
Sometimes, the executive decisions are the only things really talked about in the office – and these, of course, are handled only by the executives.
This is where opening up channels to demonstrate your workplace as a public forum will set you apart.
Some executives favour an open door policy, making themselves more accessible to others in the workplace.
Fostering a culture of feedback also encourages employees to open up about their issues and concerns. This is crucial to promote engagement and address potential pain points before they may escalate.
By establishing an equal and accessible platform for your employees, you invite constructive feedback, ideas for enhancing the workplace, or suggestions to change things up – all from people who live your brand day in and day out.
Every business is different, and therefore so is every company structure, workspace, and team of employees. Crafting an empathetic and engaging employee experience and ensuring your employees’ happiness requires due care from both a professional and personal standpoint.
What’s your recipe for a dynamic, engaging workplace and a positive, productive team?