When looking at why employees leave their job or stay for their entire careers, it is essential to review the importance of company culture. The MIT Sloan Management Review found that a toxic workplace culture is 10 times more important than compensation when employees were asked why they left their job. Having a strong culture doesn’t just affect employees and those working at the company, it also affects managers, potential recruits, and even clients. Specifically, it affects the confidence and productivity of everybody involved with the company. Employees enjoy working for companies whose values align with their own, so having a solid company culture attracts talent that will fit well with the company, and drive forward the business.
The Power of Gratitude: Keeping Employees Happy
One of the easiest ways to build a strong company culture is to provide care and support to not only your employees but also their families and those they care about. At the end of the day, most employees value their family over their career, so if companies can tie these two values together it can be extremely beneficial for the company. This can include things like benefits, inviting families into the workplace and to events, and working towards getting a holistic view of employees – which provides for their families and life outside of work! A second way to build the strong culture employees look for is by giving gratitude to employees. Obviously, work and having a career is not all fun and games, but providing sincere gratitude to employees when it is deserved can be one of the best ways to keep employees happy. Letting employees know they are valued and appreciated can come in the form of small things like verbal positive reinforcement or mass emails thanking a team for their work, or larger options like a night dedicated to giving gratitude to the employees and managers of the company.
Along with building a strong company culture, it is also important to maintain it so that the culture can grow and develop within the company. Two things that stand out when researching the best ways to maintain culture are career growth and transparency. Authors Donald Sull, Charles Sull, and Ben Zweig say, “Many workers simply want a change of pace or the opportunity to try something new. When employees talk positively about lateral opportunities they are less likely to quit” (MIT Sloan School of Management, 2021). Although some companies may believe that all employees want promotions in order to stay with the business, most just need a change of pace – and happy employees means a happy company… which means a strong company culture!
Transparency: A Make or Break Factor for Company Culture
Second, having transparency with employees is essential to keeping employees around, and making them feel seen and appreciated. Tom Miller says that “Looking away from unethical behaviors and ignoring workers who feel disrespected will result in losing a lot of your talent pool. Attempting to hide or put off these things will only make matters worse, and it sends out a dangerous message to employees” (SMHR, 2022). He goes on to remark, “Today’s employees want a work environment they can feel comfortable and safe in, along with transparent leadership they can be proud of” (SMHR 2022). Being transparent with employees can be a make or break for a company, but when done right, it can be one of the best ways for maintaining the company culture that most have worked extremely hard to establish.
At the end of the day, having a strong, reliable company culture doesn’t have to be a daunting task that gets put off. Starting off on the right foot by caring for employees and creating sincere relationships is one of the easiest ways to begin the process of building a company culture. Although maintaining a strong culture seems difficult to do when transitioning management, employee bases, and even locations, it can be done by being transparent, allowing career growth and change, and hiring the right people to continue to improve and develop the business for the future.
“Case Study: The Costs and Benefits of a Strong Culture.” Harvard Business Review, 7 Aug. 2014, https://hbr.org/2013/11/case-study-the-costs-and-benefits-of-a-strong-culture.
Gibb Dyer , W. Culture in Organizations: A Case Study and Analysis. Alfred P. Sloan School of Management, Feb. 1982, https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/understanding-developing-organizational-culture.aspx.
Kohll, Alan. “How to Build a Positive Company Culture.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 12 Oct. 2022, https://www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2018/08/14/how-to-build-a-positive-company-culture/?sh=4681e3c249b5.
Miller, Tom. “Shaping a Culture That Will Retain Employees.” SHRM, 8 Mar. 2022, https://www.shrm.org/executive/resources/articles/pages/shaping-culture-retain-employees-miller.aspx#:~:text=Right%20now%2C%20company%20culture%20is,decides%20to%20leave%20their%20job