Company Culture: What Really Matters To Your Staff?
As an employer, of course you want an environment in which your business – as well as the employees who help to shape it – can thrive. It can be difficult at times to imagine what will drive your people to be more satisfied and productive.
“When employees feel safe and secure, they are more apt to give their personal best.”
– Robert Levering, Co-founder, Director at Great Place to Work Institute
Your Enthusiasm Is Not Enough
Surprisingly, your firm’s appeal is not as much about the size of a worker’s prospective income, as it is about the company culture in which they will work each day. People will sign up to be a part of great things in the making, even if the wage is a little less to begin with. However, don’t assume that just because you are excited about the business, that this alone will bring awesome people on board and keep them there.
Remember that everyone is different, and that the things which make you so enthusiastic won’t necessarily be a selling point to those you are aiming to hire. Is that a bad thing? Not really. You can’t expect others to work day and night with passion, other than your co-owners and family business members (who have a real stake in the enterprise’s risk and revenues).
Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve
Well then, what exactly will matter to your employees? The answer in a nutshell is: your workers want to know whether they have a real future with your firm, and whether or not their hard work will be appreciated and their contributions encouraged. If they put in the time and imagination, will it matter or might they just as well be planting flowers on the roadways for a living, and enjoying the scenery?
Okay, now once you’ve shared your vision, your motto, and your intention that the staff is integral to your company’s success and future direction – how do you keep the promise? It’s not all that complicated, but this fulfillment does require clarity and consistency. And, you may even have specific obligations in meeting your part of the bargain when it comes to your business and company law.
Is Your Company’s Culture Meaningful?
First of all, a company culture is not made up of perks like steam rooms and gym membership. It is moulded from the values and practices of the members of your group; and it is defined by your employees’ perspectives on what it’s like to work for you. If your vision and leadership are unclear, the culture is unsettled and its members are insecure.
Sure, perks might get a new candidate’s attention, but if you’re looking to recruit a valuable employee – who will stay long term and become vested in your company’s future – think about incentives like flex time, free educational opportunities and day care instead. Your staff’s bottom line is probably a lot like yours; they don’t need more video games and ping pong tables in the break room, they need to pay the rent and take their families on a vacation.
Don’t Force the Relationships
Remember, you want to see your workforce become honest advocates of your business, not mascots. Requiring staff attendance at charity events in your company’s name isn’t going to win you any friends. A good alternative may be to offer a donation in their name to the charity of their choice, as a reward for a competitive task (think: The Apprentice).
Eliminate those too-frequent full staff meetings, where the average worker doesn’t feel free to state their opinions anyway. Instead, pool your managers into a weekly or bi-monthly group meeting, to set goals and retain a company-wide consistent vision. Let these supervisors, in turn, meet with their own teams, present their game plans and invite participation and ideas. This gives each employee more of a voice and chance to individually contribute to small goals and steps toward success. It also gives your managers the support they need to lead.
Strive to Stand with the Best
In 2000 the Great Place to Work Institute expanded to the UK, and now includes popular employers such as Microsoft and British Gas. Currently it operates in 46 separate countries around the globe, with even more planned in its future.
Thirteen years ago, in 2002, the European Commission engaged Great Place to Work to set up a Best Companies list competition in 15 European countries. The commission was to encourage business success through creating desirable workplaces. The defining vision was that providing advisory services – illuminated by media coverage – would help to create a better society.
In this video, Robert Levering narrates the story of how the Great Place to Work came into being. He highlights that ‘trust’ is the most consistent factor for companies who earn the prestigious ranking, adding: “When employees feel safe and secure, they are more apt to give their personal best.”