Corporate culture is one of those terms that people throw around left and right these days. And if you’re looking to hire top talent, they care about your culture. The question is, what is culture? And how can you improve it? One easy way is by focusing on employee engagement.
The Role of Culture and Employee Engagement
Culture and engagement are so closely related that they’re basically joined at the hip. Culture impacts engagement and engagement impacts culture. When one suffers or soars, so does the other. Thus, you need both aspects of your organization to be healthy in order to grow.
A company’s culture refers to the shared behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs of the organization and its employees. It’s basically one large mixing bowl that consists of your company’s mission, values, ethics, leadership style, people, expectations, and goals.
Engagement refers to the specific feelings employees have about the culture and their position at the company. If the culture is strong and employees have a clear idea of how they fit into the equation, engagement is generally pretty high.
Engaged employees are beneficial to the company in multiple regards. To start with, they’re happier. (And who doesn’t enjoy working in a place where people are happy all the time?) Secondly, they feel more empowered to do their jobs. Finally, there’s less turnover and greater stability throughout the organization.
Increasing engagement by even the smallest amount can dramatically improve productivity, output, and eventually profitability.
Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Employee Engagement
If you want to enhance your company’s culture, it makes the most sense to focus on employee engagement. Because if you can improve engagement, everything else will follow suit. With that in mind, here are several suggestions:
Set the Right Expectations
Good employees thrive on expectations. In other words, they need to know what you want from them. If you’re unclear (or if you don’t bother to set expectations), there will be chaos.
From an engagement perspective, set expectations around things like communication. This is especially important if your team works remotely. Good communication standards ensure people open up and bring other people into what they’re doing, rather than just isolating in their own individual silos.
If you expect employees to check in twice per day and be available for Zoom calls between certain hours, make this known. Clarity is a big deal here.
Use the Right Tools
As the business world becomes more sophisticated, engaged employees need the proper tools and technological investments in order to do their jobs well. Make sure you’re equipping them with the resources they need.
As entrepreneur Tamara Lytle says, “Companies with employees who have both the psychological investment in their jobs and the resources to adapt to a changing world are better positioned to survive disruptive market conditions.”
When it comes to internal communications (which is a vital aspect of healthy engagement), focus on simplifying with better technology. A lot of companies are using SMS software for this aspect of the business, as it’s proven to enhance productivity, morale, and overall workflow.
Improve Your Feedback Loops
Communication and engagement are two-way streets. If you’re simply barking orders from the c-suite and then expecting employees to march in line, you’re missing the point. Employees must have a way to communicate back to management and leadership. Otherwise, everything breaks down and animosity builds up.
Be more intentional with creating strategic feedback loops so that employees are able to easily share critiques and ideas. Not only that, but work on actively implementing the feedback they provide. If nothing else, it shows that you care.
Encourage Team Bonding
The final tip is to encourage team bonding. We’ve all worked for companies where we loved our co-workers, as well as companies where we hated our co-workers. And I think we can all agree that we were much more productive, creative, and happy in environments where we liked being around the people we worked with. The same is true of your employees.
You can’t force people to like each other, but you can give them opportunities to bond. Whether it’s catering lunches so that people eat together in the office or creating hybrid teams that bring together people from different departments, you can take proactive steps toward encouraging healthy bonding.
Bringing it All Together
It’s not easy to change or improve something as big as company culture. It’s not like installing new software on a computer and letting it reboot overnight. There are lots of dynamic moving parts involved – some of which are outside of your control.
But if you want to fundamentally change from the inside out, it starts with your people. When you strengthen employee engagement, everything changes. We recommend starting here.