5 Easy Ways to Change Company Culture in the Workplace

by Daniel Hannig

Whether it’s organisational culture, company culture or corporate culture, if you’re in recruitment or management, chances are this is a concept you’ve been hearing more and more about. In fact, in an age of growing tech startups and a demanding millennial workforce, ‘company culture’ has become something of a buzz word.

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And for good reason. It used to be that forking out a bit of cash for a half-decent Christmas party, or even orchestrating a summer ‘away day’ was enough to tick the boxes and keep employees (relatively) satisfied. So what’s changed?

Why is positive company culture so important?

In short: workplaces are evolving. It might partly be down to the ever-present images of futuristic offices changing expectations of employees, but that’s not the whole story: more and more companies are recognising the benefits of changing or improving their company culture.

As Forbes states, a positive company culture has a direct benefit on retention, your brand image, as well as your company identity.

5 ways to improve company culture

So how to change company culture? Depending on your current status quo and the mindset of your workers (bearing in mind that not everyone likes change), this could be a long-term goal or a series of smaller tasks. But there are plenty of simple changes you can implement, which should contribute towards a change in company culture.

1. Create a strong reward culture

If you want your employees to feel appreciated for their efforts, it’s important to develop a strong, transparent reward culture. It’s an age-old method that has been proven to work (there’s a reason Employee of the Month caught on so well), but still leaves you open to flexibility.

The reward itself can be as simple as showcasing good work somewhere visible or as valuable as monetary rewards like bonuses or gift vouchers.

Recognition systems can also be an opportunity to build common trust by allowing employees to nominate co-workers who they believe deserve extra praise for their work. Whichever option you choose, it’s important to make the process and criteria transparent to all employees.

2. Be open

Another way to improve company culture is openness. Of course, this can mean different things in different industries, but creating an atmosphere where transparent and open communication is the norm has a lot of advantages.

For example, admitting and even celebrating mistakes is a something that seems especially popular in the tech sector right now, thanks to the powerful impact it can have in helping teams to own up to their failures sooner. Divulging mistakes and sharing the resultant learnings is a common practice in SCRUM or working in sprints and something that is now encouraged by many business leaders. You can see some great examples here.

3. Invest in your employees’ surroundings

We’ve all seen those dreamy images of high-tech campuses in Silicon Valley, or the sleek modern hubs popping up in the heart of cities like Dublin and Berlin. But of course the truth is, not every business owner can afford to construct a working environment that comes close to this – not by a long shot.

But does that mean that you shouldn’t invest in your team’s environment? Absolutely not. Office design and working environments have been shown to have a direct link to personal well-being, productivity and, of course, company culture.

As Richard Ferris at Flokk points out, office design should reflect your brand identity and mirror the needs of your workers – if you want creative, happy workers, you need to provide them with the right stimuli in the workplace.

4. Promote health & wellness

If you want to improve your company culture, then investing in employee health and wellness can go a long way to showing that you value your employees more than simply the work they produce. These measures can range from free fruit in the office to fitness programmes and discounts on gym memberships. In turn, this can help to boost worker morale and contribute to a healthy work-life balance for your employees.

5. Create a positive feedback culture

As we mentioned previously, communication is essential in improving company culture, but it’s crucial that this communication goes two ways. Getting regular input and feedback from the team can help you to identify which measures in a workplace are being well-received, and which areas need further improvement.

Furthermore, a positive feedback culture can also help to empower employees, by giving them to tools to speak with higher management (whether directly or anonymously) and in turn shape their own working environment.

Luckily, there is a wealth of resources and support at hand to help you tackle this issue. For example, teaching your employees about good communication frameworks, such as Transactional Analysis, can give them the confidence to raise concerns among colleagues with confidence, while remote solutions such as surveys and polls (supported by employee engagement software) can help you to identify improvement areas.

Changing company culture: in summary

Creating a positive company culture isn’t something that can be done overnight, nor are the above measures something that can be implemented once and then forgotten about – shaping an environment in which your employees can thrive is a continuous effort.

Any quick steps that are completed without long-term commitment are likely to come across as shallow and insincere. But the good news is that genuine and consistent efforts are likely to be rewarded with happier, more content employees who are happy to come to work.


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