Recruiting and hiring is an essential function in every business. And a key component of finding and keeping good employees is having a strong and engaging company culture.
While some aspects of culture are organic in nature, there are best practices that businesses can engage in to help build and sustain a great culture. The problem for far too many organizations is one of neglect or complacency. In other words, there is no intentional effort to shape or foster a culture.
However, it has been shown that there are several tactics that can be implemented to “re-shape” a less-than-stellar culture, and to direct and nurture a desired culture. And a large part of this falls to the HR management and staff in most organizations.
You Can Build a Strong Culture
Most business owners and managers have a sense of how important culture is to their business. Unfortunately, many of these people also feel that there is little or nothing they can do regarding the culture of their organization. Many people believe that culture is strictly organic and inherently outside of the influence of management.
This has been repeatedly shown to be untrue, however, and a structured and intentional strategy can be implemented to change and foster a preferred company culture.
This is an initiative that provides a tangible ROI, as well.
For example, it’s been shown that culture is one of the primary drivers of employee engagement. And the HR department in most businesses plays a key role in the creation (or “re-creation”) of their culture with strategic recruiting, comprehensive onboarding, ongoing training, and tailored benefits offerings, among other things.
Employee engagement is one of the main keys to retention and worker loyalty. And it is largely a result of how employees identify with the company, especially with the organization’s values and purpose. This is true despite the value employee’s may place on salary and benefits. In other words, when employees believe in and align with a company’s purpose, they are more engaged, perform better, and stay longer.
Does Culture Really Matter?
“Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Develop a strong corporate culture first and foremost.” — David Cummings, Co-founder of Pardot
A 1992 study from Harvard professor John Kotter and co-author James Heskett compared businesses that focused on company culture as a key part of their strategy and those that did not. Some of their findings showed that companies who worked to create strong culture saw their revenues increase four times faster, had job creation rates seven times higher, and saw profits increase 750 percent higher than companies that neglected culture.
In addition, these culture-focused businesses saw their customer satisfaction double along with reduced employee turnover.
Another recent study found that 69 percent of employees cite “meaningfulness at work” as a major reason they felt strong satisfaction with their company. According to an article at Entrepreneur magazine noted that a strong culture reduces turnover by as much as 34 percent compared to companies with a culture that is lacking or dysfunctional.
How do you build a strong culture?
Here are some tips for changing your current company culture and guiding the process of building a strong and engaging culture for your organization:
- Articulate your company’s purpose. In other words, what is it about your product or service that will inspire your employees with something they believe in?
- Identify your company’s values. Some experts advise you to “create values” but you should, as the leader(s) of your business, already hold to certain values that you want your employees to embrace and align with.
- Document your company story. This may include some of the company history but should focus on some event or person that embodies the spirit and essence of your organization. You then craft a story that will be shared often and gives employees and others an emotional reference and touch point.
- Recruit for your culture. Having articulated your company’s purpose, identified your values, and crafted a company story, you’ll know the type of people who will be a good fit for your culture. A qualified candidate with appropriate skills will still be a poor hire if they don’t fit into your culture.
- Reinforce your purpose and values. Develop daily, weekly, and monthly activities that highlight your company’s purpose, vision, and values. These activities also provide great opportunities to share your story, when relevant, to help impart it into your employees.
The Value of Employee Engagement
A strong and developing culture will work to fully engage employees. Once they embrace and align with the company’s purpose and values, they are far more easily inspired and motivated to achieve high performance.
It is demonstrably true that engagement is the primary driver of improved performance, employee satisfaction, and retention. For example, one study showed that engaged employees outperform nonengaged employees by over 200 percent.
In addition, fully engaged employees “return” close to 120 percent of their salary compared to just 60 percent with disengaged employees. It makes sense that people who care will be more productive, and these statistics serve to underscore just how important employee engagement is.
It is critical to have processes to develop your workforce. Allocate specific company resources for employee development to provide relevant knowledge and critical skills. Investing in your employees also demonstrates that you care and have confidence in them.
Effective communication is absolutely essential for a strong culture. Encourage and support regular two-way communication between management and employees to promote employee engagement. Effective communication serves to shape an employee’s relationship with their managers.
And, finally, develop methods for regularly communicating company values.
Employees are busy with their job functions and need to be reminded what the company stands for, what it wants to achieve, and how they contribute. This will also reinforce the idea that company purpose and values are more than a superficial and forgotten mission or vision statement pinned to a wall.
Getting Help With Your HR Management
HR staff have a growing and demanding role in recruiting, hiring, and continually training employees. In addition, they are responsible for other functions such as employee development, payroll management, employee records compliance, and managing employee benefits.
Outsourcing is increasingly becoming a cost-effective and strategic option. Accuchex can help you in managing your HR needs, payroll processes, and staying on top of compliance demands.
Get your Free Download: Payroll Outsourcing Guide to help you make an informed decision or call Accuchex Payroll Management Services at 877-422-2824.