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How to improve your company culture to attract, and keep, the best employees

March 20, 2018

how to improve your company culture to foster a happier, more positive and productive workplaceImproving company culture is at the top of the agenda for most modern day businesses, as more employers are coming to appreciate the role it plays in attracting prospective employees.

However it is not as simple as placing a ping-pong table in the staff room; a company culture needs to be fostered over time. To foster a better culture businesses need to take a multifaceted approach that demonstrates genuine commitment to equality, transparency and valuing employees.

It should be noted that a company culture is not exclusive to multinational organisations, small businesses are equally able to benefit from the existence of a positive company culture.

Addressing working hours

Burnout and work-related stress represents one of the biggest threats to achieving a positive company culture. It is vital that small businesses look to reduce workplace stress.

To achieve a positive company culture you should avoid glorifying the ‘staying late’ mentality. It is a commonly accepted that most employees operate from a “work to live” mentality.

Sometimes as a small business owner this may be hard to accept, however you should make an effort to ensure employees stick to designated working times, have proper rest periods and leave the office on time. A good work/life balance will help staff to be more productive over the long-term.

If employees are having to work through lunch breaks or stay late to complete work then you need to investigate this. Although it is expected that on occasion employees may need to stay late to complete certain tasks, you should keep a close eye on this to ensure it is not excessive.

Improving communication

You should encourage staff to communicate with you if there are any problems with their ability to complete work on time, so you may accurately distribute work to balance out the workloads. If you become aware that employees are struggling it is important to take reactionary measures to reduce this.

These efforts will improve the overall mood, leading to more positive, better engaged and more productive employees. And with your workforce, feeling valued and cared for, it is a vital step in building an improved company culture.

Businesses should also look to increase communication with employees on business decisions when looking to foster an improved company culture. You should inform employees of decisions which will impact the working environment, explaining the reasoning behind them.

Provided the reasons behind the business decisions are rational and justifiable, employees are more likely to be receptive to them. Good communication methods will leave employees feeling like an important part of the business and will generate a sense of goodwill.

Supportive diversity

All businesses are legally required to prevent discrimination in the workplace under the Equality Act 2010. Businesses should have carefully constructed workplace policies which do not discriminate against any protected characteristic under the Act.

It is also vital to ensure any hiring or promotion decisions are based entirely on suitability and performance.

Businesses that go the extra mile to further increase diversity and inclusiveness will be rewarded with an altogether more positive company culture. You should consider how everyday practices such as work socialising events can be improved to increase diversity and inclusiveness.

The Friday evening post-work drink is a time-honoured tradition for many workplaces, however you should consider how inclusive this practice really is. Evening drinks could prevent parents with childcare commitments or individuals of certain religions from attending, leaving them feeling alienated and unable to participate in an important bonding activity.

Handling conflict

Businesses should handle workplace conflicts immediately when they occur, as addressing any issues in a clear and fair manner is important in creating a positive company culture.

It is vital high performers and senior staff do not receive any preferable treatment when it comes to misconduct as this could jeopardise the trust of your workforce. Instead, by treating all disciplinary issues and unrest in a serious and dedicated manner, employees will have increased confidence in the business.

It’s a good idea to have your grievance procedures and how you will carry out any disciplinary investigation clearly set out in your Employee Handbook.

Celebrate and review performance

It is also important that businesses celebrate employees’ success wherever possible. Having a positive approach to performance reviews will reassure employees that they are an integral part of the growth and development of the business.

Whilst it is not always economically possible for small businesses to issue monetary bonuses for high performing employees you should look to acknowledge their performance in some way.

Performance reviews also allow under-performing employees a chance to see where they can improve. You should also take this opportunity to provide any additional support or training as required.

Demonstrating a commitment to helping employees will reaffirm how much you value their involvement, in turn the employees are likely to have a greater commitment to the business and this will inevitably lead to an improved company culture.

Organisational support

To ensure all employees feel valued you should consider how everyday practices could be altered to improve equality and inclusiveness. Businesses that do will be rewarded with a content and close-knit workforce.

It should be noted that the culture in your business is heavily influenced by the actions and behaviour of the senior people in your team. As a business owner, you must therefore make sure that you lead by example.

In addition, it is essential to listen to the concerns and ideas of your workforce; being open to suggestions will create a more harmonious workplace and further benefit the culture of the business.

About the author

This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Peter Done, Managing Director of Peninsula Business Services – the UK’s leading specialist Employment Law, HR and Health & Safety service. Peter has written a series of employment guides for ByteStart, which include;

More help from ByteStart

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Motivating your team

Employing staff

Employment Law

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