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Improve Company Culture With These 7 Methods

Cassandra Rose, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

For­ward-think­ing com­pa­nies know that the secret to long-term suc­cess lies in improv­ing com­pa­ny cul­ture. The real­i­ty is that COVID-19 rad­i­cal­ly shift­ed and emo­tion­al­ly drained the entire work­force. If com­pa­nies want to find suc­cess in a post-COVID-19 world, they will have to find ways to improve and cul­ti­vate a thriv­ing com­pa­ny culture.

Employ­ees need com­pa­nies that are pas­sion­ate about fos­ter­ing pos­i­tive and empath­ic work cul­tures. How­ev­er, com­pa­ny cul­ture prob­lems aren’t always easy to iden­ti­fy or improve.

This new, post-pan­dem­ic world requires new takes on an old top­ic and some com­pa­ny cul­ture ideas cre­at­ed for this emerg­ing era.

7 Methods for Improving Company Culture Today

1. Bring Fun to the Front Burner

Ping-pong tables and beer kegs in the office are old ideas, but there is still mer­it to fos­ter­ing a cul­ture of fun. After all, peo­ple spend one-third of their life work­ing. Fun atmos­pheres are ener­giz­ing and stress-reduc­ing, and they cul­ti­vate a cul­ture of cre­ativ­i­ty and playfulness.

The most inno­v­a­tive com­pa­nies have fun com­pa­ny cul­tures. Com­pa­nies that want to improve com­pa­ny cul­ture have to find ways to bring fun to the atmos­phere. Some ideas include casu­al Fri­days, friend­ly com­pe­ti­tions (with prizes), and com­pa­ny cel­e­bra­tions and par­ties to acknowl­edge mile­stones and wins.

2. Prioritize Safety in a Post-Pandemic Workplace

Safe­ty has always been an essen­tial com­po­nent of com­pa­ny cul­ture. If employ­ees don’t feel safe, the cul­ture will inevitably suf­fer. How­ev­er, safe­ty has moved to the front of employ­ees’ and employ­ers’ minds as they tran­si­tion back to the office. It’s why 99% of com­pa­nies plan to make sweep­ing office changes in response to COVID-19.

San­i­ta­tion pro­to­cols and social­ly dis­tant offices are only a part of the new, safer office equa­tion. Some com­pa­nies are adopt­ing hybrid mod­els or keep­ing their employ­ees remote. At the same time, oth­ers are try­ing to bring peo­ple back to the office with small­er, pri­vate office spaces. Which is best for employ­ee safety?

It real­ly depends on the loca­tion, employ­ees’ feel­ings and legal require­ments. For exam­ple, sup­pose a com­pa­ny is going back to the office in an area like New York City. In that case, lead­ers have to con­sid­er how they can make their employ­ees feel safe using pub­lic tran­sit. It might require pro­vid­ing reim­burse­ment for rideshar­ing or get­ting an employ­ee bus.

The real­i­ty is that requir­ing peo­ple to come back to the office will require extra thought and care. Com­pa­nies should ask or sur­vey their employ­ees for direct feed­back on safe­ty met­rics and pro­vide indi­vid­u­al­ized solu­tions to ensure that every­one in the office (or remote) feels safe while working.

3. Stop Prescribing What Well-Being Means

Too often, com­pa­nies try to meet the needs of their employ­ees with broad stroke well­ness pro­grams. Pre-COVID-19, well­ness pro­grams focused only on phys­i­cal, finan­cial and men­tal health. Now it’s clear that well­ness means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent people.

For some, well-being might mean med­i­ta­tion or coun­sel­ing. For oth­ers, it might be gro­cery deliv­ery or child­care. If a com­pa­ny wants to improve its cul­ture, it has to broad­en the def­i­n­i­tion of well-being and incor­po­rate well­ness ini­tia­tives that ben­e­fit all employ­ees — not just a few of them. (Fringe’s cus­tom ben­e­fit plat­form is a great solu­tion for this).

4. Provide Autonomy, Flexibility and Choice

Employ­ees want to be trust­ed to do their jobs and make deci­sions about their work and life. Micro­man­age­ment and one-size-fits-all work solu­tions and ben­e­fits don’t cre­ate thriv­ing com­pa­ny cul­tures. Peo­ple work dif­fer­ent­ly, and mod­ern com­pa­nies are find­ing ways to allow their employ­ees the free­dom, flex­i­bil­i­ty and choice to choose the work­flows and ben­e­fits that work for them.

This will be a vital thing for com­pa­nies tran­si­tion­ing back to the office. Com­pa­nies that worked vir­tu­al­ly dur­ing the pan­dem­ic will have a chal­leng­ing time telling their employ­ees to come back and work just like they did before, because they’ve proven they deserve a bit more auton­o­my and flexibility.

Com­pa­nies that allow more auton­o­my, flex­i­bil­i­ty and choice will have an eas­i­er time improv­ing their com­pa­ny cul­ture. If every­one is allowed to work in a way that ben­e­fits them the most, the entire com­pa­ny will thrive.

5. In a Remote Environment, Lead With Empathy and Provide a Means of Connection

There’s no deny­ing that vir­tu­al work makes com­pa­ny cul­ture ini­tia­tives more chal­leng­ing. How can lead­ers improve com­pa­ny cul­ture if every­one is dis­persed? With­out the option for spon­ta­neous lunch­es or quick con­ver­sa­tions, how should lead­ers adapt?

Lead­ers have to be empa­thet­ic to the obsta­cles employ­ees are fac­ing at home. Work­ing from a home office often brings new chal­lenges, and the pan­dem­ic has exac­er­bat­ed those. For instance, many employ­ees are jug­gling a full-time job and home­school­ing all at the shared kitchen table. Lead­ers have to be under­stand­ing and inter­est­ed in con­nect­ing with (and sup­port­ing) indi­vid­u­als where they are.

Super­vi­sors should check in with employ­ees reg­u­lar­ly, in-office or not, via emails, phone calls, Zoom chats and text mes­sages. Addi­tion­al­ly, lead­ers have to find ways to keep the com­pa­ny cul­ture thriv­ing even if everyone’s remote.

Employ­ees need to be able to talk to each oth­er just like they would in an office. Super­vi­sors can facil­i­tate this with things like an employ­ee-only shared Slack chan­nel, casu­al Zoom chats, vir­tu­al com­pe­ti­tions and in-per­son meet-ups (once it’s safe to do so). Cul­ture depends so much on the inter­con­nect­ed­ness of the peo­ple inside the com­pa­ny, so estab­lish­ing reli­able and reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels is vital to a thriv­ing com­pa­ny culture.

6. Promote Equity and Diversity

Unequal treat­ment and favoritism aren’t going to fly any­more. Nei­ther is a homoge­nous employ­ee base. Com­pa­nies need diver­si­ty and equi­ty because diverse teams pro­vide greater prob­lem solv­ing and inno­va­tion, not to men­tion pro­mote healthy work cultures.

A com­pa­ny with equal treat­ment and abun­dant diver­si­ty will expe­ri­ence high­er reten­tion rates, hap­pi­er employ­ees, and bet­ter over­all morale. Orga­ni­za­tions should ensure they’re tak­ing steps to hire and keep diverse team mem­bers and have safe­guards to pro­tect against unequal treatment.

Lead­ers should adopt an open-door pol­i­cy regard­ing issues of inequal­i­ty, equi­ty and diver­si­ty. Employ­ees should feel safe to speak up about prob­lem­at­ic behav­ior from super­vi­sors and co-work­ers. More­over, employ­ees should feel able to speak about com­pa­ny-wide, sys­temic issues as well. The road for a bet­ter work cul­ture will be paved with inclu­sion, equal­i­ty and the type of inno­va­tion that only comes from a diverse team.

7. Provide Meaningful Recognition and Benefits

Employ­ees need recog­ni­tion and acknowl­edg­ment for their achieve­ments and efforts. If employ­ees don’t feel val­ued, they’re liable to leave, and the com­pa­ny cul­ture will suf­fer. Orga­ni­za­tions must have recog­ni­tion pro­grams in place to make sure every employ­ee feels seen and valued.

The recog­ni­tion has to be mean­ing­ful, too. The imper­son­al gift card or quar­ter­ly review isn’t enough. Lead­ers need to find ways to show their employ­ees they appre­ci­ate them, reg­u­lar­ly and intentionally.

There are many ways to do this, but one of the best is by offer­ing cus­tomized lifestyle ben­e­fits. When employ­ers pro­vide their peo­ple with ben­e­fits and perks that mat­ter to the indi­vid­ual employ­ee, their peo­ple are much more like­ly to feel val­ued. The entire com­pa­ny cul­ture flour­ish­es when indi­vid­ual employ­ees feel appreciated.

Meet Employees Needs and Improve Company Culture

The bot­tom line is this: When employ­ees’ needs are met, a company’s cul­ture will improve. So, com­pa­nies should focus on con­nect­ing with and meet­ing their people’s needs in this new, post-pan­dem­ic world.

Whether through bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion, height­ened safe­ty pro­to­cols or indi­vid­u­al­ized ben­e­fits, com­pa­nies that take the time to under­stand their employ­ees will unlock the secret to improv­ing their com­pa­ny culture.

The Fringe lifestyle ben­e­fits plat­form is an ide­al solu­tion for this. With Fringe, super­vi­sors can give their employ­ees points for recog­ni­tion or as part of a ben­e­fits pack­age. The employ­ees can use these points to get ben­e­fits that they actu­al­ly want and need. With more than 100+ ven­dors, there are fringe ben­e­fits to fit every employee’s unique needs.

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