Company culture influences a variety of company aspects – hiring, retention, risk – the list is almost infinite. Yet company culture is hard to quantify, just because it’s made up of informal, intangible qualities and actions.
A company that expects employee commitment 24/7, for example, will have a quite different culture from one that encourages work-life balance. The former will tend to reward people who work long hours and go the extra mile. They may discourage people who want flex time or who prioritize family life. The latter, on the other hand, may encourage job-sharing so that people can maximize schedules. People who are on the phone or e-mail after standard business hours may not be popular or rewarded.
How do you know if you need to improve your company culture? You’ll usually get hints if you have problems with hiring, retention, or risk.
If you don’t seem to be receiving resumes from top-notch people, or your offers are not accepted, it pays to ask why. If experienced people leave to find a job with a competitor, you may want to conduct exit interviews to find out the reason. Is their culture better, or more desirable to certain individuals? If an employee files a complaint, it can be because the culture didn’t protect you from risk.
Here are four simple steps to improve your company’s culture.
1. Seek feedback
Put policies in place to seek feedback. When potential hires turn down a job offer, for instance, ask them why. When employees leave, develop exit interview questions to assess their job satisfaction and to determine if the company culture is a cause for satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
2. Perform a culture audit
Yes, a culture audit is a thing! Outside consultants review your culture. It consists of interviewing all employees about their perception of the culture. What behaviors are rewarded, for instance? What behaviors are discouraged? What are your company values and mission? Do employees feel these align with life in the workplace?
Employees can also be asked if they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the culture.
3. Determine changes
Once you know what your culture is and how it’s perceived, you can take steps to change it. Say you’re perceived as desiring 24/7 commitment, but employees think the more work-life balance would enhance their job satisfaction.
You could take steps to underscore the importance of balance, such as encouraging everyone to take vacation time accrued. For some companies, that’s a major change. You could also roll over flex time on a limited basis to see how it works, and then extend it companywide if it’s successful.
4. Model the new culture
Whatever changes you decide to make, management needs to realize that they must model the changes they want to see. If you are moving toward work-life balance, all managers need to embrace the changes and be seen as behaving the new way.
Failure to align the new cultural values with management behavior will be noticed and may cause employees to question the commitment.
How Barracuda Consulting Can Help You Improve a Culture
At Barracuda Consulting, we’re experts in helping companies improve a culture. We can review signs of cultures negatively impacting hiring, retention, or risk management. We can develop a culture audit and work with managers to improve the culture going forward. Contact our top HR consultants today.