Who feels that we talk about culture too much at work? Or not enough? Why has company culture continued to be a topic that comes up constantly in articles, in events, in office discussions?
Because it matters.
What retains employees during a time of movement? What retains people who are watching their colleagues leave companies they have been at for ages, or for minutes. What brings new hires on board now more than ever before?
Do I have to even say it?
Culture. It matters.
I am going to try and not repeat anything you can find elsewhere. I want to give you a few tangible ideas, and a conceptual idea to have a positive influence on culture, whether you are part of a large or small organization.
For the tangible first:
- Make your employees feel appreciated and valued. Literally say those words. “I value what you brought to us on this idea…” “I appreciate what you put into this…”
- Plan out new hire orientation, the first 90 days dictate the rest of their time with you. Send them and their family flowers before they start, welcome them to a location with a catered meal so they can chat with coworkers, plus the employees you need to train them will always appreciate a free meal. Map out training, both internal and external for at least the coming 6 months.
- Celebrate small wins! Are people hitting goals, solving problems, learning new skills, working on soft skills – acknowledge that publicly and encourage others to do the same! And celebrate as a group whenever you can – potlucks are one of our most treasured culture activities, everyone gets involved in whatever way they can, we get a few minutes together, and usually a lot of laughs!
- Make it clear culture is everyone’s responsibility, and hire for it! It is hard right now to pause and think “Will this candidate add to my culture and not just fit with it?” But that has to remain a priority when bringing someone on board, otherwise you risk losing the staff you have.
We are ALL working hard at reminding each other that we are our culture. It won’t change unless we want it to. We now just have the benefit of spreading what we have worked on to all our new coworkers (as part of an acquisition in the last year), and expand what we can do with the programs they bring! For years I have read about culture activities with crazy huge budgets – and sighed with frustration when I knew I couldn’t spend like that. However, as a team here we never let a limited budget stop the culture we have built, and continue to work on. Your company doesn’t make your culture, your team does. If you get the right people in the door, committed to your goals and working with each other, there is no stopping what the team can accomplish together.