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Your Company Culture Sucks, Here's What To Change

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It has been a topic of discussion for years, with many a middle-aged CEO in a suit brandishing buzzwords like ‘collaborative’, ‘connected’, ‘family’, etc. to describe an aspirational company culture, but never really deep diving into the real culture of the company and building on it.

Company cultures are now being reshaped by force, regardless of dude-in-suit-rhetoric. It started with the pandemic, then the acceleration of automation, add to it the rise of millennials and Gen Z in the workforce, topped off with skills shortages and TGR (The Great Resignation/Reshuffle, whatever you call it). As a whole, we’re moving away from the mechanical, clunky models of the past to a more fluid, human, and digital future, whether company leaders like it or not. Our organisations, people, and the way we work has had to organically adapt in real time. Companies are now juggling an ever-expanding portfolio of stakeholders, workforces, work options, workplaces, and strategic futures, none of which can be put in a box with a neat little bow.

It’s time to get real, company culture is the most important, yet often under-appreciated value driver of any organisation. It has a tremendous impact on productivity, ethical compliance, innovation, performance, and long-term success. 

In a recent survey of CEOs, 41% cited workplace culture as the aspect of their talent strategy that would make the greatest impact on attracting and retaining the people needed to remain competitive, so we’ll either have to grit our teeth through more dude-in-suit rhetoric, or there will be genuine analysis and meaningful nurturing.

If what employees want is anything to go by, positive changes and nurturing will be the go. According to Glassdoor, almost all employees (93%) mention company culture in their reviews on the site, making it clear just how important it is to them.

So let’s look at our picks of the top foundations for the future of company culture:

1. Employee-centric Engagement

Employers need to take an employee-centric approach to strategies around employee engagement and experience, by fostering dynamic and collaborative feedback between leaders and employees based on trust and empathy. This means leaders will need to be genuine in their interactions and ditch the BS.  Finding out where current disengagement is occurring and why, can assist companies to focus on the right functional training programs, make room or improve upon a rewards and recognition platform, and provide employee well-being benefits that their workforce is interested in. Leaders need to get personal with this, it’s a nuanced process of actually putting people first.

2. Embrace Flex & Hybrid Working 

Hybrid, remote, and flexible work arrangements are here to stay, whether leaders like it or not. Accenture’s 2021 Future of Work Study found 83% of workers prefer a hybrid work model over full-time in the office or full-time remote, and now that workers have gotten a taste for it, most won’t settle for less. Companies who foster and embrace the reality that each employee will be at their most productive with flexibility around where and how they work will reap the benefits of high retention, attracting top talent and levelled-up productivity. Those who don’t… well we all know the old saying ‘evolve or die’.

3.  Focus on Employee Wellbeing 

Nurturing employee well-being hasn’t been a focus for most companies… well, ever. Not genuinely. But it is critical to developing a workforce that is resilient, which equals a business that can survive what the world throws at us. Employee well-being needs to expand beyond token gym memberships or ergonomic equipment that costs a fortune and doesn’t really work, to focus on building a culture of holistic well-being including physical, emotional, financial, social, career, community, and purpose. Leaders need to view well-being not just as an employee benefit but an opportunity to support employees in all aspects of their personal and work lives and reap the benefits of a highly resilient and productive workforce.

4. Support & Encourage Development

For managers and leaders busy with their own roles, employee development can sometimes feel like just another pain-in-the-ass boxed to be ticked. Similarly, lunch & learns, mandatory extra training, after-hours workshops with expectations that everyone completes it to tick off a box are simply frustrating and annoying for employees. But for everyone, professional development is essential. Instead of taking a ‘tick-the-box’ approach, a true employee development strategy involves exposing employees to new information and ideas in various ways, from putting them in other roles, building a mentoring program, workshops, outsourcing to specialists and/or self-guided learning. But it goes beyond providing the basis, leaders who encourage and support the development of employees through providing the time and opportunities to do so, as well as ensuring the way it’s provided is suited to the employee. 

5. Recognise & Connect With Employees

A good company culture is, above all, about belonging. Acknowledging and celebrating the outstanding contributions each employee brings to the company is more vital than ever in hybrid environments. employees may feel like their work isn’t being seen, so recognition is an even more vital tool for sustaining culture and employee happiness. Fostering relationships between leaders and employees based on transparency, empathy, trust and support is a strong basis for ensuring that recognition and rewards programs don’t feel like a token gesture. Engaging with employees on what they would like to see in their rewards and recognition guarantees they buy into the associated KPI’s or goals - making for a better business outcome.

6. Real Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

Research shows that diverse and inclusive teams are better at solving complex problems, are more innovative and make better decisions 87% of the time. Strong diversity and inclusion will help companies attract top talent and drive innovative results. Rather than simply writing policies, setting quotas and doing basic training, all leaders and employees will need to embrace the concepts. Real diversity, equity and inclusion is behavioural - backed by actions on every level of an organisation. 

So, are you ready for the future?

Workers have reevaluated what matters most to them in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting employers to focus on the well-being and personal satisfaction of their employees. Employees are demanding (and getting) more freedom to work where and when they want, with more attention being paid to their well-being than ever before. 

To meet the market, companies are adjusting their policies to ensure that employees feel cared about as human beings, not just as workers, making flexible work arrangements permanent, investing in wellness programs, and boosting their diversity and inclusion efforts. For companies to attract, retain, and grow the talent that will bring them sustained success, they need to fine-tune (or overhaul) their culture to meet the expectations of employees for the future.

If you’re in need of assistance in analysing and making adjustments, reach out to our team. We provide consultancy services that can assist you in attracting and retaining top talent with the latest information on candidate values and needs.



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