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Six Easy Ways To Improve Company Culture

Check out six easy ways to improve your company culture with employee engagement and fun activities that inspire teamwork and positivity.



Good company culture helps an organization attract new talent but, more importantly, helps keep the talent it already has. Having a positive company culture means keeping the turnover rate as low as possible. Today, we’re going to review six simple ways to take your company culture to the next level.

1. Streamline the Onboarding Process

To build a great company culture, you need to work from the ground up. New employees who go through a successful onboarding are 50% more likely to stick around for the long term.

Your human resources team can help ensure that every employee experiences a seamless orientation. However, if your company is still small or starting out and doesn’t have a full HR department, there are still things you can do to help enhance the process:.  

Opt for an automated pre-boarding. Filling out digital forms ahead of time makes the first day seem more purposeful and less of a headache.

Fill the day with activities. Short, low-stress tasks can help smooth over big changes. Events like planned team lunches or individual training sessions create a sense of order.

Remote companies can plan 15-minute 1-1s to introduce the new hire to team members. To bring the whole group together, set up a virtual coffee break to play quick games. These include options like Show and Tell Your Workspace when employees describe everything from their knick-knacks to their filing system.

Try out the buddy system. The buddy system works for both in-person and remote teams. Assigning a new hire a dedicated person who isn’t their manager to help answer their questions and explain protocol will shorten the learning period and decrease unneeded stress. For remote workers, regularly scheduled Zoom calls or Slack huddles throughout the day can provide opportunities to check in and go over any questions.

Make sure WFH employees have what they need to succeed. If this is a monitor setup, laptop, desk, or chair, new team members will appreciate the gesture and be ready to hit the ground running.

2. Encourage Employee Feedback

One of the best ways to gain the respect and trust of a workforce is to actively engage in employee feedback meetings that gauge the level of employee satisfaction on your team overall. There are a couple of preferable methods to get that feedback and build trust with your team members: surveys and face-to-face check-ins.

Surveys

Surveys can be anonymous or not. Depending on the type of survey, respondents may not be so forthcoming. Letting your workforce know that the company is open to anonymous feedback will ensure that you get positive results and accurate metric measurements. Surveys can have either yes or no answers or be open-ended.

Questionnaires about company culture might include:

  • Do you have a sense of belonging at work?
  • Are managers and those in top leadership positions transparent?
  • Do you feel like you are currently able to maintain a healthy work/life balance? If not, what would improve your work/life balance?
  • Would you say you have a friend at work?
  • Do you feel like you can reach out to your manager or co-workers for help?

 

Some surveys might be geared toward remote work success. Possible queries might include:

  • Do you feel like you have everything you need to succeed in your remote workspace? What tech or gear would make your job easier?
  • What virtual team-building activities would you like to see? Are there any you are currently enjoying? How often should these events occur?
  • Is communication successful across time zones? Why or why not?

To uncover more about professional development, try asking some of these:

  • Where would you like to be in two years? Do you think you’re on track to meeting that goal?
  • How would you rate the growth opportunities at this company? Is there a position you’d like to advance to, or is there a change or addition you’d like to see?
  • What training/education would help further your career?

Group Meetings

Meetings with employees as a group is a solid way of getting highly detailed feedback about specific concerns, including alignment on core values, workplace culture, and professional development opportunities.

One of the preferred methods to get a consensus of opinions is a simple open floor meeting with larger groups of co-workers. You will likely lose the details you’d get from a smaller meeting, but you see the larger picture.

Surveys and large group meetings should be held on a regular basis (monthly, bi-weekly, etc.) to gather information to have a better understanding of how things change over time. Earnest questions should never be ignored; unanswered questions and brushed-off concerns will be interpreted negatively, eroding trust.

Being open to criticism means you also need to act on that criticism. A leadership team that moves quickly when problems arise will show employees that they are deeply valued. Both in-office and outside, leaders who embody a company’s mission statement set a positive corporate culture from the top down.

Some things to specifically ask for from your employees could include training suggestions, praise for co-workers (wonderful starts to recognition programs), and ways to improve efficiency. The surveys could take up as little as a few minutes of each employee's time, but that data is worth its weight in gold.

Some questions to ask your employees include:

  • Do any processes seem inefficient or unhelpful? If so, which ones and why?
  • Is there any part of the communication process that seems bottlenecked? What could make it better?
  • What’s one perk or benefit that would encourage you to stick with the company?
  • Do you have all the tools you need to do your job? What would help improve your day/workflow?

3. Be Transparent About Goals and Incoming Changes

When it comes to communication, be transparent with your staff about operations and results: The center of a company’s culture is a cohesive vision. If your staff aren’t aware of what’s going on, they can’t contribute to the overarching company goals.

Set high goals but still attainable high goals. SMART Goals stand for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Goals can be an everyday list of items or overarching goals for the fiscal year.

SMART Goals are centered on one essential factor: They must be achievable. Goals that are too lofty or unrealistic don’t inspire action, with people knowing that they’re not achievable in the first place. However, SMART Goals, especially when broken down into manageable smaller objectives, allow people to simultaneously feel motivated and challenged.

Three examples of company-wide SMART Goals include:

  • By the end of next quarter, ⅔ of the staff will earn their certification in Google Analytics.
  • Reduce client churn by four percent by the end of this fiscal year.
  • Take all local clients to lunch once this quarter to improve personal business relationships.

Establishing goals is a great way to implement employee recognition into your organizational culture. Engaged employees can be rewarded with everything from gift cards to new office supplies to tickets to local movie theaters and more.

4. Create Office Pools

White-collar work didn’t see its rise until roughly the 19th century with the advent of the railroads that would stretch across the entire country. Office work was highly sought after because of the better pay and safer working conditions.

The early years of the primordial office space were about efficiency, but that was all challenged in the 1950s by the Schnelle brothers. Their concept was relatively simple; make the office a dynamic landscape with paper flow and human interaction in mind. This concept's purpose was to increase productivity not by managerial force but through architectural and floor plan decisions.

How To Adjust Your Floor Plan

Companies like Microsoft and Apple rebelled against the cubicle concept by creating offices more akin to college campuses with open-concept workspaces.

This idea was so popular that over 80% of offices utilize open floor plans today, but with mixed results in productivity and perception. The cubicle had a few positives that open floor plans don’t: privacy and physical insulation from distractions. These upsides are largely dependent on the type of work that’s being done and the amount of collaboration needed.

So, if you find that an open floor plan results in perhaps micromanaging or endless distractions, consider adding some privacy panels to desks to help everyone work their best. If cubicles aren’t working, try a six-person desk to let collaboration and new ideas flow.

5. Optimize Workstations for Ergonomics and Comfort

Standing Desks

 

One of the easiest ways to encourage a high-energy and team-building culture is a fleet of Standing Desks that can dynamically move with your employees through the workday. The slightest amount of friction, like having to find a chair to wheel over to a co-worker’s desk, can affect decision-making.

Standing Desks make it far simpler and more enjoyable for two or more co-workers to collaborate on a single task without having to find room for chairs or awkwardly lean over next to each other. The desks encourage better posture and allow for greater customization than traditional cubicles.

Throw in some modular Standing Desk Panels for some custom privacy, and you’ve got a potent combination of productivity and cooperation. These panels offer the best of both worlds between cubicles and open floor plans. At a moment's notice, you can decide if your workflow requires a bit more concentration or collaboration.

The panels come in three distinct colorways: Cloud, Cinder, and Oat. Each option offers a different way to customize the theme of your workspaces. The Cloud and Oat colors are ideal for environments you want to keep bright. The Cinder color is best if your color scheme is better complimented with darker tones.

Adjustable Chairs

 

The ideal sort of chair can elevate employee morale by providing dynamic capabilities and physical support.

The Daily Chair is an affordable option and is the perfect sidekick to a standing desk for active work environments with its sleek design and simple adjustment points.

The Saddle Chair is the optimal companion chair in an office pool because of its compact nature and dynamic capabilities. It encourages good posture (back engaged, feet flat on the floor, hips slightly above two evenly-spaced knees). It keeps the ideas and the people moving freely.

6. Host In-Person and Virtual Activities

Human interaction is the core of any company culture, and it must be encouraged by managers through more than just pep talks.

Team Challenges

Random, low-stakes challenges will keep your teams on their toes and prepare them for future obstacles. Without notice, casually walk into a team's office space and tell them that if a particular team-based task is done within the day, the whole team will be rewarded with a bonus.

It’s one of the most efficient ways to boost productivity and cooperation in the shortest amount of time and can be supplemented by weekly and monthly challenges. Offering a common goal encourages people to work together naturally. Low-stakes but relevant (and fun) challenges can help them figure out what they excel at and what they need to work on.

After a challenge, hold a team meeting about the results and talk about what everyone did to contribute to the goal, and help come up with ways to improve for the next challenge.

Virtual Coffee Breaks

Remote work is amazing in that it eliminates commute times, and you can wear sweatpants all day, but it’s not always conducive to building an effective team. Scheduling casual virtual coffee breaks lets your people relax together and socialize, which improves cooperation.

These virtual coffee chats should not be stringently regulated. You want these meetings to be something your staff looks forward to. People are far more likely to work well together if they actually know each other personally.

Try to stick with groups between three to six people at the most; larger groups will result in quieter people or natural introverts to not engage as much. You can always encourage engagement by adding a theme to each break or by adding games like two truths and a lie.

Virtual Escape Room

As we grow into adulthood, we sometimes forget to take the time to play because we think that play is reserved for childhood. But playing games together is how we make connections, form bonds, and learn valuable team-building skills.

Escape rooms are popular, but ever since the onset of the pandemic, virtual escape rooms have become a notable team-building tool. Everyone, from healthcare workers to students, has used remote escape rooms to boost confidence, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills.

This would also be an opportunity to find potential managers among your regular staff who you may not have noticed before. Virtual escape rooms can be relatively inexpensive and are incredibly fun for any group. All you need is Zoom, Google Meet, or a similar program.

Company Happy Hour or Lunch

A hallmark of a company that cares about its culture is one that hosts a regular event for employees (and even their families). These events are meant to be a big thanks to the workforce and an opportunity to get an entire organization together in a more relaxed atmosphere. They can also help strengthen personal relationships between co-workers (which, in turn, can help improve productive collaboration).

By making sure to host these events during a workday or shortly after one, no one has to forfeit their personal time. Encourage your crew to invite their partners and family members. Such events encourage team members to associate their company not just with work but with a more personal part of their life.

Conclusion

Every company is unique, just like every employee is unique. While different people are drawn to different jobs and corporate spheres, one thing unites us all — the desire for a pleasant work environment.

Company culture is what makes us excited to get up every morning for work, commuting or not. It’s what keeps us coming back to the same company after decades. Behind every successful business is a great product, a solid target market, and perhaps most importantly, a thriving company culture.

 

Sources:

America at Work | Articles and Essays | America at Work, America at Leisure: Motion Pictures from 1894-1915 | Digital Collections | Library of Congress

The Origin of Cubicles and the Open-Plan Office | Scientific American

More Evidence That Open Offices Make People Less Social

Onboarding Can Make or Break a New Hire’s Experience | Harvard Business Review

SMART Goals: A How to Guide | University of California

An online escape room used to support the growth of teamwork in health professions students | PMC

Set SMART Goals | University of Minnesota

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