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How to foster a positive company culture

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Most business leaders know that effective talent acquisition and retention relies on Employee engagement.

It’s the bread and butter of a happy workforce Yet, all too often, corporate culture is treated as a business buzzword, a trending topic for HR leaders to muse over at the water-cooler.

Unfortunately, it’s this attitude that can often land Employers in hot water: by focusing all their attention on the company’s external image, they quickly lose touch with what keeps their Employees engaged and motivated, to do their best.

Instead, Employers must look inwards to determine how their culture could be improved, to keep their brightest stars shining. Of course, it’s easier said than done - nevertheless, there are certain steps you can take today, to build and sustain a positive company culture:

1. Communication is key

A healthy working environment hinges on the seamless flow of information throughout every level of the organisation. Without clear communication, Employees can easily feel isolated struggling through projects without support from their superiors. As soon as a breakdown in communication becomes apparent, Employers must address the issue immediately before it becomes a recurring theme or worse, a part of the Company’s Culture.

The first step is to create and promote an open-door policy whereby managers are always available for their staff - no matter what. Not only does this ensure Employees know exactly what’s expected of them and vice versa, it facilitates feedback, and allows management teams to act upon proposed changes from staff.

2. No feedback, no progress

When it comes to driving Employee engagement, there’s only so far that guess work can take you. Instead of stumbling in the dark, buying beanbags by the truckload and football tables for every team, Employers should simply ask workers what could be improved. As well as gaining critical insight into the health of your company culture, this shows Employees that they play a key role in shaping the business, and ensures they feel their opinions are valued.

By turning review meetings into a two-way street in which Employees are encouraged to share their nuances, executives and managers can better map a clear path towards building a better company culture.

3. Encourage ideas and innovation

Only when Employees know that their voice is heard, and their opinion matters, will they feel confident contributing new ideas. Creating a culture that rewards drive and creativity will help to accelerate growth and inspire positive change. In turn, Employees gain a satisfying sense of team spirit; that it isn’t solely the executives holding the power to innovate.

Success in this area relies on great listening. Managers must be open to fresh perspectives, and never take criticism of products or services personally, encouraging staff to constantly ask themselves what could be done better and how it could be improved.

4. Consistency matters

A positive company culture can’t be bought, nor can it be achieved overnight.

Leaders need to be consistent in acting on the values they promote, even when the going gets tough. All businesses experience pressure in some shape or form, it’s how they handle it that determines their success. Employee satisfaction is shaped by the everyday: becoming complacent about this due to organisational challenges will only harm your culture in the long term.

With Employer branding playing more of a role than ever in the decision-making process of eager job-seekers across the world, growing organisations can no longer afford to ignore their company culture. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts the most.

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