How to Build a Company Culture that Lasts
Updated: Sep 23
“Culture” has been a buzzword in the corporate world for multiple years. In fact, culture and employee engagement are now the top talent challenges facing business executives - approximately 87% of organizations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges. And there’s good reason for this. Company culture and engagement are highly interconnected.
"Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny." Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
The relationship between culture and engagement
Company culture includes a variety of elements: work environment, company mission, value, attitudes and practices of an organization. High employee engagement is correlated with a high-performance company culture - employees are more likely to enjoy their time in the workplace when they fit in with the company culture. Companies with highly engaged employees outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of employees are not engaged in their work. A report by Gallup found that 63% of employees are not engaged at work and 24% are actively disengaged, leaving only 13% of workers who are engaged in the work that they do. While increasing engagement can be done by frequent feedback and recognition, a strong company culture is also needed for sustained employee engagement.
“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” – Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO
So how can you build a strong company culture and increase employee engagement?
1. Create a strong employer brand
Whether you have actively worked on your employer brand, your company has one. Employer brand describes an employer's reputation as a place to work, and their employee value proposition. Why should someone want to work at your organization? Is it the developmental opportunities? Is it the flexible hours?
Employer branding is critical into finding the top talent but also for retaining your current talent. With increasing transparency on employee experience (thanks to websites like Glassdoor), companies need to start ensuring that the employee experience is great. How can you create a great employer brand? Treat your employees like customers.
For more details, check out our podcast episode with Miki Johnson about building your employer brand.
2. Hold employees accountable
Establishing values will be wasted if we are not holding employees consistently accountable. Accountability starts at the top - you have to have solid, consistent leadership that demonstrates and rewards accountable behaviors. When it comes to ensuring employee accountability, you need to set clear and measurable goals. Accountability is easier with specific, actionable requests. Be explicit about exactly what results you expect. Provide feedback in a continuous and timely manner to help support your employees.
3. Continuously invest in your employees
Company culture and employee engagement will ebb and flow. It’s not a one-and-done objective to achieve. Your organization needs to regularly invest in culture to see how engaged your employee base is. Survey your employees and understand what’s working and what needs to be improved in your company culture - maybe your employees want more training opportunities, the latest technological advancements, more managerial support, or more options for flexible work. Remember to keep an open mind when surveying your employees. Bottom line, companies will need to evolve to keep pace with employees’ expectations to really drive success.
When was the last time you asked what your employees want?