Every organization has its own distinct culture, shaped by its values, priorities, the people who work there, and much, much more. These factors mix together to naturally form the makeup of a company’s everyday environment—its work culture. What’s considered a healthy work culture? It’s one where employees feel valued, safe, comfortable, and flush with opportunity for growth. In a partnership with The Ladders, we took a close look at some of the factors that affect employees’ career decisions—many of which can strongly affect work culture. Using proprietary survey techniques, we’ve asked thousands of people from across the U.S. about the issues they care most about in their careers.
We’ve learned that a happier workforce makes for more productive employees, and successful managers are constantly assessing employee satisfaction. If you are not focused on making sure that your employees are happy in their jobs and with your overall company, then you may just find that you are having difficulty retaining current employees and attracting the most qualified new ones. Here are a few simple steps for creating a healthier work culture at your company.
Employee engagement—having employees who are “emotionally and psychologically attached to their work and workplace”—is crucial to creating positive employee relationships and a successful bottom line. A recent Gallup Poll found that only one-third of the American workforce feels engaged at work. They also found that highly engaged employees are 17% more productive and have a 41% lower rate of absenteeism. In order to increase employee engagement, you can:
Measure first, address second. You can’t fix issues you don’t know about. It’s a good idea to begin by simply asking employees how engaged they feel about their work and workplace. A simple survey can provide you with essential information about how involved your employees currently feel at work. Context is often really important here. Think about how your results compare to other companies that are your size or in your industry.
Employee turnover has always been a concern for employers, particularly in businesses like the restaurant industry. However, historically there have been companies and careers where employees stayed for 20 years or longer.
More recently, however, resumes are more likely to reflect one or two-year stretches at multiple companies. Half of the employees surveyed in a recent Gallup Poll said they were looking for a new job or keeping an eye out for better opportunities, and 35% had changed jobs during the previous three years. In order to increase employee retention, you can:
Today’s employees want more than a set five-day workweek or eight-hour workday. The job benefits that employees currently care most about are those that provide them with greater flexibility including telecommuting, four-day workweeks, and/or flexible hours where they can come in at any time as long as they stay and work for the appropriate number of hours.
While once-yearly performance reviews used to be the standard, the one-sided design of these interactions is giving way to more progressive forms of employee communication. What today’s workers want is ongoing feedback, clearly communicated goals, and a collaborative work environment which they feel is fair, relevant, and encouraging. You can improve communication in a few easy steps.
Companies today need their employer brand—their reputation as an employer—to be as strong as their customer brand. Unfortunately, many overlook their employer brand entirely, or devote little or no resources to building and strengthening it. While companies don’t need to invest as much money into their internal brand as they may need to invest in their external marketing efforts, they do need to give their employer brand more attention.
A strong employer brand attracts and retains workers. It turns them into advocates for your company and it differentiates you from the competition. This is particularly important in a technological era of heightened competition and constant connectedness. Companies like Glassdoor offer company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, and more. This gives anyone the ability to see how former and current employees rate your organization, meaning job candidates are literally able to shop around for the jobs and companies that they like believe will meet their needs and make them happiest. Employees have become the consumers of the workplace.
There’s no simple solution for fixing or improving work culture, it requires momentum, time, and buy-in from managers across your company. However, the payoff of happy, engaged employees that a healthy work culture helps bring is practically invaluable.
Whatever steps you take to make your workplace more healthy, you’ll want to be able to evaluate how your employees feel about their work environment. You’ll find that at SurveyMonkey, we offer a wealth of information, survey templates, and even a custom built solution to help you create a healthier, more positive work culture.