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Employees will always care about pay, but studies show that company culture matters more. Here are actionable ways to improve your workplace culture
Employees will always consider pay and benefits before accepting a job.
But a recent Glassdoor poll found that 77% of professionals would consider a company’s workplace culture before applying for a job.
This statistic alone should sound the alarm for company leaders to be intentional about their workplace culture if they want to attract top talent.
Look at your management support, team bonding, career development, company values, and purpose – what needs attention?
If you constantly iterate and improve your workplace culture, your company’s reputation can lead to low turnover and high application rates. Let’s jump into ten ways to improve workplace culture that you can start today.
Improving your workplace culture is a matter of establishing your core values and aligning them with what's actually happening in your organization.
For example, if you want wellbeing to be a core value, consider appointing a wellness task force or representative to organize team-oriented wellness activities.
Some ideas include a daily step challenge, a team 5K run, or a healthy recipe-sharing Slack channel. If you want to prioritize learning and continuous improvement in your culture, hold lunch-and-learn sessions or offer an educational stipend to encourage employees to use in whatever way supports their personal wellbeing.
Our core values at Kona are considered our north star. They guide every decision we make as a company:
As your company grows and changes, you might need to update your values to reflect your people. Allow employees to weigh in to ensure your values resonate with them. You kickstart this by leading an exercise using Brené Brown’s values worksheet as a guide.
Recognition is more than saying “good job!” It’s about acknowledging good work and accomplishments in a timely and transparent way so that employees feel genuinely appreciated for their efforts. If you want to improve your culture quickly, encourage leadership to run performance reviews regularly.
Instead of doing recognition ad-hoc, create a system where managers inform the leadership of high-performers, so leadership can congratulate them in a company forum. You can also create a Slack channel that’s dedicated to peer-to-peer recognition.
At Kona, we have a #roses channel. When someone performs well, big or small, anyone can give them a rose in the Slack channel with context.
One of the worst things you can do for your workplace culture is leave known issues unresolved. Things like a lack of accountability, toxic employees, and increasing signs of burnout are all detractors to workplace culture in even the best companies.
But what makes these issues especially detrimental is when those in leadership know that they exist but do nothing about them. Take it from Brené Brown and "choose discomfort over resentment."
Identifying and taking specific steps to resolve known issues within your company is a big step toward creating a healthier workplace culture.
Companies that listen to and proactively seek employee feedback have a leg up on their competitors.
When you’re open to employee feedback, you gain a wider variety of ideas, spot problems more quickly, and show employees that you care about them. These are all positive contributors to workplace culture.
Getting qualitative employee feedback can be as simple as asking “How do you feel about X?” in Slack channel discussions, one-on-ones, and team meetings. We use our daily Kona check-ins to understand how your employees approach work every day, and managers rely on the health dashboard to see trends and spot burnout.
We recommend that you also conduct employee engagement surveys at least every quarter for quantitative feedback.
Your organizational culture revolves around the processes and traditions you’ve created, as well as the bonds your employees make. The personal relationships they make help foster a sense of belonging that directly contributes to employee engagement and satisfaction.
You can strengthen these important bonds within teams and across departments by organizing remote team building activities such as:
One significant contribution to an employees’ experience with your workplace culture is their perception of the leaders. Are they trustworthy? Do they have integrity? Do they care?
Leaders should take this to heart and use regular, transparent communication to provide their teams with the support they need. That means leaders are tasked with communicating wins and failures openly. Be willing to be vulnerable and open to change.
These acts of transparency not only build trust but also help prevent errors and provide clarity, which strengthens the company as a whole.
While the leaders in your company set the foundation for workplace culture, your employees give life to your culture. For that reason, your culture will only grow stronger when you encourage diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
Celebrate individuality. Ensure unbiased hiring processes. Encourage your employees to express their opinions, bring their unique personalities to work, and use their creative vision to drive innovation. To further support people from all different backgrounds, make it easy for employees in different time zones and working styles to be productive by instilling asynchronous communication.
And finally, send engagement surveys to understand where you stand on diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s a topic that should be constantly improved on, so you must understand how your employees feel on a regular basis.
Research shows that autonomy is a top predictor of work satisfaction and job retention, so it’s essential to trust your employees.
Giving employees independence means you must avoid micromanaging and, instead, empower them to solve problems independently without constant leadership interjection. You can encourage this independence across the whole team by setting up a centralized hub for information on a tool like Notion or Confluence.
It’s much easier to improve your company culture if there are examples of healthy, positive people in it – be that person in your organization.
Greet your coworkers daily over Slack or video, remember the names of their family members, encourage them to take time off when they’re stressed, openly celebrate achievements, and refrain from gossip.
Remembering the small things can make a bigger impact on company culture than a grand event or gesture. It all starts with setting consistent examples of these positive behaviors.
Even if your current employees positively contribute to great company culture, the balance can sway off-kilter if you don’t hire the right people. Make sure your hiring managers understand that culture adds are better than culture fit. Your culture is ever-changing and new hires can help grow and shape it for the better.
How a candidate enriches your culture should matter just as much as their attitude, skills, and relevant experience. Keep this in mind from the first review of a resume to the final decision.
Your workplace culture is key to keeping employees motivated and engaged, so protecting it is crucial. While you might not be able to change your culture overnight, these ten tips can help you positively mold your workplace culture into one that’s enjoyable for your employees and enviable for everyone else.
Linda is a Boston-based content writer with 10 years of experience crafting content for human-centric B2B brands. She covers topics like remote work, productivity, recruitment, mental health, and more. Her goal is to promote transparency, empathy, and honest introspection within companies and their leaders.