5 Must-Have Elements of A “Best Place to Work” Culture
Every company leader wants to cultivate a culture with that “special something” – a perfect combination of factors that’ll keep employees enthusiastic and engaged.
From things like workplace amenities, supportive management, career development and meaningful purpose and values – the hope is for your company culture is so great that not only are you a dream place to work for your employees, but also a very in-demand place to work for those who don’t.
Creating a “best place to work” company culture isn’t easy. To even start, it requires dedication, strategic involvement, and plain old hard work. And it’s even more tricky when you’re either a brand new company or a company that is trying to change its old ways.
We have all have to start somewhere, though, right? So to that end, here are the main elements that contribute to a “best place to work” culture in your workplace:
Core Values and Company Mission
In companies with a great culture, employees are easily able to answer the question: “What makes you want to work here?” Sure, the practical aspects of salary and benefits may be motivators, but employees at culture-driven workplaces also cite the intangible benefits of that particular place. Most often, this comes down to being able to articulate the mission of the company.
So what’s your mission? Nearly every company will have an official mission statement, but does that mission speak to potential employees? Do the company’s mission and core values filter down from the boardroom to the workspaces of entry level employees? If you feel like your company’s commitment to its mission has waned, it’s time to refocus and re-energize. From the board of directors to middle management, use your company’s values to drive everyday decisions. This gives employees a sense of the larger purpose you are all working toward, rather than getting caught in the day-to-day grind.
Opportunities for Growth
Providing opportunities for growth is something that can make or break a workplace culture. Importantly, these growth opportunities do not necessarily need to be monetary or title-based (although those things help, too!). Instead, think about how you invest in your workforce. Offering management training programs, opportunities to go to relevant conferences, online learning courses, and related opportunities make employees feel valued. Not only do you get the benefit of higher employee retention, but you also reap the benefits of a more educated, better trained workforce!
Ask employees what they appreciate most in an office culture, and “transparency” is often one of the first things that comes to mind. Of course, it’s unreasonable for the nitty gritty of every decision to be conveyed to each person it might impact. However, don’t let this dissuade you from taking a hard look at your culture. Think about where your company falls on the spectrum from total secrecy to complete transparency. The following questions might help:
Are employees consulted about major upcoming decisions? Do you solicit feedback about office culture? Do individuals feel as though they can be honest without facing retaliation from supervisors? Does your policy handbook spell out these assurances? Answer these questions honestly to get a sense of whether your company has a transparency issue.
One of the best ways to improve transparency is to facilitate communication between different groups within the organization, or leverage an external feedback platform like kununu. This may include teams who do not typically work together, upper management talking to lower management, or all new managers meeting with one another. Get conversations rolling, and everyone will benefit from the knowledge they acquire.
Organizations with a “best place to work” culture have employees who trust in the mission of the organization. But how is that trust built? It doesn’t just come out of nowhere. Rather, employees like to see leadership that is accountable. Accountability is easy when everything is chugging smoothly along. But when your organization faces rough waters, employees are more likely to stay engaged if they feel as though their leaders are taking responsibility. Some key features of accountability include:
- Setting clear expectations for performance
- Reviewing progress toward goals
- Providing recognition for those who meet their goals as well as constructive feedback when individuals or teams do not perform to expectation
- Modifying goals and adjusting expectations as needed
Creating a “Team” Environment
Perhaps the most challenging part of creating a “best place to work” culture is fostering a sense of team identity. Rather than viewing employees as a gaggle of individuals who happen to share a workspace, companies with a great workplace culture work hard to forge a sense of teamwork or family. One great way to craft a strong team identity is to engage in team-building activities: start a workout group for a couch to 5k program, create a company book club, or invest in a company-wide retreat to foster cooperation. You’ll reap the dividends, as a strong team culture leads to more creative problem solving and greater job satisfaction.