More than half of Americans are planning to look for a new job this year, according to a new study by the Achievers Workforce Institute. For one in four people, the reason is tied to work-life balance, while 35% of employees are looking for better compensation and benefits, and 42% point to the fact that company culture has diminished since the start of the pandemic. Other factors include a lack of communication and a need for more connection and stronger inclusion efforts.
The pandemic has exposed significant areas of vulnerability for businesses everywhere. In many cases, the idea of culture and organizational identity had been closely linked to companies’ headquarters or physical environments. A number of processes had to fundamentally shift, while new methods and technologies were introduced. The challenge of remote work, with its immediate impact on workflows, was the first sign that in order to survive and thrive, deep transformation is required.
Across industries and companies, there has never been a more critical time to evaluate and redefine culture. A strong organizational culture is a competitive advantage. It influences employee performance and engagement, builds loyalty and retention, inspires teams to consistently deliver on the company’s promise, and provides the fuel for continuous innovation and meaningful growth. For leaders who are seeking to improve their company’s culture, here are four steps to consider.
1. Study the demographics. Knowing your customer demographics is important. Knowing your team demographics is equally important. Team members are the center of any business, and we believe that wholeheartedly at AccessElite. As a leader, before you can align and unite the workforce under a shared company culture, it is crucial that you understand the unique context behind each individual. What are their needs, habits and personalities? How are you maximizing their talent? Making an impact and encouraging healthy behaviors takes a deliberate understanding of people, places and cultures.
2. Assess the cultural foundation. A thorough audit is key to understanding what works, what can be strengthened, and what should be radically transformed. In addition to conducting a company-wide survey and gathering key data from the workforce, leaders can gain valuable insights from their teams via one-on-one discussions. Through guided yet open-ended conversations, managers can give their teams the chance to reflect on challenges, explore opportunities, and share areas that have supplied a sense of meaning and satisfaction. This is also a valuable way to establish whether there is clarity on the company’s mission and vision, whether employees know and apply the company’s values throughout their work with a clear sense of purpose, and whether they have the support they need to succeed.
3. Make health and well-being a priority. A healthy company culture starts with healthy employees. Leaders should consider the four pillars of total well-being—physical, mental, emotional and social support—and ensure that they are offering tools, resources and personalized solutions for their teams in each of these core areas. At every level of the organization, people need to get support and care to be at their best. That includes everything from access to tele-medicine to virtual fitness and yoga classes to meditation and mindfulness, along with team-building activities. Lead by example by actively focusing on your health and well-being and allocating time to self-care, and remember that wellness is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Providing options that can be personalized, seamlessly booked, and that serve all team demographics, is essential.
4. Build inclusive communication. Soft skills with active listening and effective, empathetic communication are immensely important. Providing training, feedback, and encouraging employees to expand their communication styles will help them grow on an individual, team, and organizational level. This has a halo effect on company culture and on the ability to drive meaningful transformation. Most crucially, leaders need to ensure that their employees are truly seen and heard. This means amplifying diverse voices and providing a forum for a variety of perspectives to be shared and recognized. Instituting regular check-ins and frameworks that allow employees to openly share feedback is also vital. Not only does this generate the necessary input to inform meaningful change in the organizational culture, but it fosters a continued dialogue, nurtures transparency and builds trust. That is what ultimately connects people and re-humanizes work.
For more ideas on how to build vibrant, engaged communities and redefine company culture, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.