5 Ways to Improve Company Culture

A group of diverse employees comes in for a huddle of hands, denoting unity.

With the Great Resignation and now Silently Quitting making the digital news headlines, there is no better time to examine the health of your organization’s culture. This article provides five ways to improve company culture to improve employee engagement, satisfaction, and your bottom line.

Company culture is one of those broad, intangible concepts. It concerns employee satisfaction, communication, information transparency, values, and attitudes (for starters). Here’s a simple definition from Webster:

“Company culture is a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.”

—Webster

You may have heard that culture starts from the top down. Leaders set the tone for the company, but everyone contributes to culture.

Why Company Culture is Important

Company culture is a significant factor in determining and defining a person’s professional experience. It is equally vital to an organization’s bottom line. Consider these stats:

  • 46% of job seekers cite company culture as necessary when applying to a company (Builtin).
  • 47% of active job seekers cite company culture as their driving reason for looking for work (Builtin).
  • 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is essential to business success (Deloitte).

Since cultivating a positive culture is on par with a company’s overall business strategy, it’s essential to “get it right.”

How Can You Tell If Your Company Culture is Healthy?

How can you tell if you are leading a healthy corporate culture? An excellent place to start is by answering these questions:

  1. What is the percentage of turnover in your company over the past five years?
  2. What processes are in place within the company to solve problems?
  3. What is the company’s level of transparency (sharing of information)?
  4. What type of 1-on-1s are managers having with staff, and how often?
  5. What does your leadership structure look like, and how accessible are they to employees?
  6. What does your company do to engage its workforce?

With a shift toward a candidate-centric marketplace, companies must enact positive change within their organizations to attract and retain top talent.

5 Ways to Improve Your Company Culture

Woman throwing confetti in virtual office

1) Make Building a Positive Corporate Culture a Strategic Initiative

Today’s working environment is either hybrid or 100% remote. Now more than ever, company initiatives that promote connectedness, a sense of well-being, work-life balance, kindness, and gratitude go a long way in contributing to healthy company culture—and a healthy bottom line.

Consider the direction of your organization, its philosophies, work ethic, and overall vibe, and then map out a plan of action. Start with the CEO and executive team. Look at your company’s behavior and ask:

  • What behaviors and values do we want our company to embody?
  • What new behaviors will we need to learn?
  • What behaviors are we looking to eliminate?

Culture change cannot be mandated—it must live in the hearts and minds of employees, who then carry out the culture through their daily habits and behaviors.

2) Communicate the Excitement

Many people resist change. Even when things are not going well, given a choice between the status quo and trying something new, many will choose the path of least resistance. Communication is key to getting employees excited and engaged in the workplace. To feel part of the company culture, people need to understand it. There is no doubt about it—onboarding drives employee engagement. Communicate your company mission and values through a fun promotional campaign that helps reinforce your company’s mission and values to employees throughout the year.

3) Cultivate a Feedback Culture

Feedback not only impacts culture but also increases employee engagement. One-on-one meetings, employee satisfaction surveys, and company-wide recognition programs are just a few ways to obtain employee feedback. Industry research demonstrates that when employees are recognized for their efforts, this increases retention and productivity.

Feedback must go both ways. Employees need to feel heard and acknowledged. When business decisions are changed based on the input of others, let this be known. This feedback loop lets employees know that their opinions are important and that their contributions impact the business in a significant way.

4) Build a Strong Team Culture

A sense of connectedness is critical to strong collaboration and communication. ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ and is the bond that keeps an organization together. Especially in hybrid and 100% remote working environments, employees need to feel they belong on several levels.

Form a ‘culture club’ to get others involved in ideas for improving employee engagement and adding more fun to your work life. Here are a few ideas:

  • Monthly Happy Hours—Host a virtual happy hour event. Ship mixology kits to colleagues and then hire a mixologist to walk everyone through creating a variety of cocktails/mocktails. Sit back and enjoy your custom drinks together.
    • Hump Day Hang Outs—Once a month, on a Wednesday, promote employee engagement by hosting a Hump Day Hang Out. This can be hosted virtually or in person where everyone gathers in the same space to enjoy their lunch, socialize, and get to know colleagues. This is a great way to connect people who don’t usually see each other during their regular workday.
    • New Employee Welcome Kit—To make a great first impression, welcome new employees with a goodie box packed with company swag. The welcome kit can include some or all of the following items:
      • CEO Welcome Letter—A personalized, hand-written note from the CEO or manager is a nice touch.
      • New-Hire Paperwork—Including benefits information and employee handbook
      • Technology Necessities—Computer, keyboard, headphones, mouse, travel charging device, etc.
      • Company Swag—T-shirt, coffee mug, water bottle, and tote bag are all must-haves
      • Office Supplies—Desk essentials like post-its, folders, business cards, stapler, pens, stress ball, and notepads
      • Snack Box—Who doesn’t like food? Depending on your culture, you can create a healthy or indulgent collection of snacks.
    • Team Step Contest—Here’s another fun idea that encourages physical fitness and fosters some friendly competition. This one will require wearable tech and an app where each employee selects their health goals and gets grouped with teammates with similar goals. The app generates daily health tasks, weekly team challenges, and chats where you can support each other.

5) Measure Your Progress

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. To see how your culture transformation efforts are having on your organization, here are a few ideas on how to measure your success:

  • Conduct Surveys—There are several ways to measure the impact of your company culture activities. Inc. magazine has developed nine factors you can use to quantify the value of your culture.
  • Collect Culture Event Data—Determine if your extra-curricular events are successful by tracking attendance at social events or wellness campaigns over time. Lack of involvement could indicate a lack of connectedness. Find out why people are unable to attend these events. Is it pure reluctance, lack of interest in the event, or time conflict?
  • Track Comments—What are employees reporting on company review sites like Glassdoor or Indeed? Are company culture activities mentioned there? Employee sentiment data often gives a great deal of insight into employee satisfaction and the strength of internal relationships.
  • HR Data—Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as turnover rates, absenteeism, internal promotions, and employee referrals are all data points that reflect your company culture. Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is another way to quantify metrics against your company culture activities.
  • Business KPIs—Significant change in the business can indicate either positively or negatively against your company culture. Work with your business leaders on tracking culture activities against business KPIs.

Each organization’s culture is different. Building a winning environment depends on your company’s business vision, mission, and values. Make company culture a strategic initiative and involve leadership to ensure it’s adopted at every level. Encourage feedback and frequent and open communication. Finally, measure your success and modify activities as needed to keep building a positive impact.

Get More Onboarding Strategies

Are you looking for more ideas to create a strong organizational culture? With the right onboarding strategies, PDG can help you attract top talent, increase employee engagement, and retain and grow your best people. We’d love to talk to you about how.

Sharlene Douthit

Sharlene has over 25 years of experience in various sales roles—from account executive to VP of sales. She comes to PDG with a deep portfolio of leading multimillion-dollar turnarounds, volume increases, market share gains, and sales organization performance improvement.

All author posts