What do your employees really think of your company?
The modern workplace is constantly changing and the emphasis on work-life balance has intensified in recent years.
Successful companies are always looking for ways to improve the workplace, which reduces unwanted employee turnover and increases revenues.
One of the biggest contributors to employee satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) is company culture.
Loosely defined, corporate culture is a general set of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors held by the company, its employees, and its stakeholders.
Corporate culture defines how people work together to accomplish goals and how they interact with colleagues and managers. The problem is many companies do not fully understand what a healthy organizational alignment looks like.
Here, we take a look at what defines organizational culture and give some shockingly easy ways to make rapid improvements.
What is Organizational Culture?
Organizational culture is more than just a buzzword; it is vital to the success of the modern workplace and can prevent a host of problems down the line.
Defined, organizational culture is a value-based way of doing things where employees feel supported. Company vision and mission statements are the foundation of a favorable corporate culture, and so much of the advice you read begins with improving these components.
At the most basic level, corporate culture is about the human aspect; the health of the human system within the business.
How the human system operates as a whole determines the level of effectiveness, efficiency, quality, and customer experience for:
the quality of the employee experience
How well employees collaborate, organize and solve problems is a result of a healthy culture.
Companies run into problems when employee behavior and experiences do not align with the broader vision of the company.
Understanding the health of the human system through both explicit and implicit data is where C-Suite executives and management need to start when attempting to address and remove organizational constraints, while cultivating and elevating organizational culture alignment.
Organizational culture is perceived to be generally complicated, but what surveys show us is that every company is different and company culture manifests in many ways.
High-level causal factors that typically influence organizational culture range from how new employees are brought into the organization and information is communicated to how employees feel about delivering on the mission, and how achievements are recognized.
There are over 30 causal factors impacting organizational success and effectiveness. Many of these causal factors are weighed through the employee experience.
Employee experience is shaped by the amount of influence employees feel they have on their environment, the use of punishment for making mistakes and failing to execute, participative goal setting, the level of autonomy and feedback employees receive, as well as how the basis of power is distributed and how goals are emphasized.
Many of these insidious causal factors, hidden in plain view, are damaging to the effectiveness of the human system, therefore, constraining the organization and pinching off breakthrough results.
Surprisingly Easy Ways to Improve Your Organizational Culture Alignment
As complex as corporate culture can be, there are some shockingly easy ways to bring about noticeable changes.
The key to approaching company culture issues is to be curious and remember the reasons why you are committed to it.
According to a 2018 Job Seeker Nation Study, over 80 percent of job seekers view corporate culture as a moderately important factor. Additionally, a survey conducted by recruitment firm Robert Half indicated that 35 percent of job seekers decline job offers where the culture isn’t a good fit.
These numbers make it clear why a healthy corporate culture is imperative for both current and potential employees.
In terms of talent attraction, employers need to clearly understand how the values outlined in the vision statement impact organizational culture.
When working with recruiters on effective ways to determine if a potential employee will thrive in the human system and company culture; it is important to connect the dots of how values drive behavior and behavior drives performance.
While finding a person with the right mix of skills and experience is important, for companies seeking long-term employees, it’s essential to find the people who have the best shot at joining your organization and having a successful experience.
You may initially attract talent with a competitive salary, a comprehensive benefits package, and other tangible perks, yet the quality of the work environment is what impacts employee retention.
Share why employees LOVE working for your company, and then make it everyone’s job to share their thoughts on your culture with online reputation sites, like Glassdoor and Google.
Company culture-specific interview questions that help determining if a candidate is aligned with your values may include:
Aside from your qualifications for the position (education and experience), what qualities make you an excellent fit?
Why are you interested in the role and our company?
Can you describe both a positive and negative company culture-related experience you’ve had?
What do you value most in a company?
In your opinion, how would you describe our company’s culture?
Company culture holds just as much – if not more – weight when it comes to employee retention. The business structure and management are key contributors to company culture, both positive and negative.
Companies must go beyond a mere vision statement; they must live by it and incorporate these core values into everyday operations. Alignment with people, strategy, and culture is a competitive advantage and directly translates to improved effectiveness and profitability.
3 Tips for Improving Organizational Culture Alignment
So how can companies raise their level of attraction to the right candidates and avoid being seen in a negative light by both potential and current employees? The following tips are some stress-free starting points:
1. Evaluate your company’s core values
The heart of a company is its values. Values ideation and alignment is the starting point when envisioning the organization’s future state.
Ideally, the core values guide, shape, and teach employees how to make a positive impact on the organization. Values shape employee behavior and inform cultural norms.
Values also enable effective communication, clarify performance standards and code of conduct. Enlisting the support and sponsorship of C-Suite executives with influence is key to integrating values throughout the organization.
A highly engaging, collaborative Visioning process ensures that the Vision is clear, inspiring, and succinct.
2. Be honest about the current state of your company culture
This may be the most difficult yet most necessary part of the company culture improvement process.
Being honest about your current company culture is essential to fostering real change. Think about how your company culture influences the broader vision and work on strengthening any weak areas.
Create a committee dedicated to making improvements and seek feedback from employees from all functions of the organization. Encourage employees to share their thoughts and feelings without fear of retaliation for sharing their experiences.
3. Keep Track of Progress
Part of a Culture reset is celebrating wins and tracking progress. It is a great way to build celebration into incremental improvements and keep people engaged in moving forward.
Use surveys and employee meetings, and periodically check-in to see what has changed since beginning improvement initiatives.
Always define your goals to ensure that your activities and results are moving you closer to these goals. If you find that your activities are not having the intended impact, take a step back, analyze what is working and what is not, talk about it and adjust as needed.
How Can You Go Beyond Employee Perks?
On the surface, many people view company culture as a set of perks given to employees, such as work-from-home flexibility or prizes for productivity.
While these can certainly periodically influence employee productivity they do not shape culture for the long term.
Understanding your employees’ motivations is the first step in creating meaningful rewards. Empowering employees to autonomously do their job is one of the most attractive intangible cultural norms you can offer.
Trusting employees to do their best work and show up as the best versions of themselves significantly boosts overall job satisfaction, according to a 2008 Work and Occupations study.
Although it does not garner as much attention as tangible employee rewards like bonuses, raises, and awards, autonomy directly benefits the employee and the employer.
Employees with autonomy have the freedom to create without the distractions of bureaucracy and micromanagement, and employers see an increased ROI generated from a workforce that is more productive and engaged.
Essentially, autonomy gives employees a sense of ownership – over their own work and the success of the company. Creating a company culture that prioritizes autonomy has zero cost and it directly improves productivity, lowers cost, and heightens overall success.
Collecting employee feedback before aligning your business efforts with core values is the best approach when shaping a healthy, high-return corporate culture. Attracting and retaining top talent depends on the quality and health of your company culture.
Making it a priority to remedy weak areas can have a major impact on both short and long-term recruiting effectiveness.
To discover what company culture means for your organization, KeenAlignment offers tailored solutions designed to empower leaders to make lasting changes.
From our Conscious Hiring® model to our cultural alignment programs, training, and workshops, KeenAlignment serves as a complete workforce optimization solution.