Every organization has its own unique company culture. How is that culture formed? At the core, organizational culture is all about relationships. How we adopt and nurture workplace culture is largely experienced through workplace interactions, whether those interactions are good or bad.
Creating a strong culture is becoming more challenging in the new era of work, including remote work, a distributed workforce, and frontline or deskless workers. In fact, 37% of employees report feeling a general sense of disconnection from others
By focusing on ways to enhance relationships in the workplace, you can begin to improve company culture.
Why is a strong company culture important?
Culture connects employees to each other and to the company as a whole. It’s the embodiment of your mission, goals, and values. Your company culture impacts every facet of the employee experience and trickles down to bottom line outcomes like productivity, employee retention, and revenue. So when contemplating ways to improve workplace culture, developing the relationships an employee has with their coworkers, managers, and leaders is an excellent place to start.
Why is building a good company culture so challenging?
Fewer in-person interactions, however, are weakening workplace relationships, leading to culture erosion that impedes collaboration, shared values, and business results. A study gauging the state of remote work culture found that two-thirds of the remote employees surveyed were not engaged in their positions. On top of that, about a third of the survey population said they received almost no face time with their team members whatsoever, despite 40% reporting it would help them build relationships with each other. That’s a problem, when relationships are the foundation of culture.
Overcoming this challenge means finding a way to recreate that in-person experience virtually and to open new avenues for communication, both on work and non-work related topics.
7 ideas to build company culture
Here are seven company culture ideas that will lead to a more positive work environment and help boost employee engagement.
1. Invest in face-to-face interaction
With technology readily available, it’s easy to believe that a few quick keystrokes will save us time and make us more productive. However, some conversations are best held face-to-face, where there is less room for miscommunication or misunderstanding. For remote workers, jump on a video call and turn those cameras on! There is a lot to be learned from actually seeing coworkers’ facial expressions and reactions in real-time.
Before sending that next email or instant message, pause to consider if that is the best channel for this particular conversation. Is it possible your intentions or tone may be misinterpreted through a text-only medium? Asking yourself these types of questions before distributing important messages can help avoid miscommunications. Clear and timely communication can improve organizational trust and ultimately company culture.
Download the Interview Book: Why Company Culture Matters
2. Plan meetings and events often
Keep up a healthy cadence of meetings and events within your organization to draw people together. This is especially important when many teams are distributed or working hybrid schedules. You’ll need to proactively schedule dedicated time for employees to connect around shared interests.
All kinds of meetings can support culture, from teambuilding activities to networking and ideation sessions. As most teams will include remote workers, consider virtual options as you plan, so all employees are included. By consistently creating the space for employees to connect, you demonstrate the importance of inclusion and collaboration in your organizational culture.
3. Exemplify the culture your employees crave
Establish patterns of consistent behavior that build a culture of positivity, inclusiveness, and belonging to improve company culture. Leaders in every level of your organization must communicate and model the desired behaviors you want to see within your organization. If the leaders don’t embody the desired culture, employees will become frustrated at the hypocrisy.
Managers may recognize the importance of investing in culture, but coming up with activities that improve engagement, culture, and inclusion is no easy task. Simple actions, however, can make a big difference, from offering recognition to sharing goals to showing interest in employees’ hobbies and interests outside of work.
Interested in helping your managers become better leaders? Check out the award-winning Culture Coach solution from Bonfyre.
4. Recognize and celebrate wins frequently
Teach managers the value and importance of micro-recognition to consistently and frequently recognize progress and achievements among their teams. Create systems and tools for employees at any level to recognize their peers to improve company culture within teams and across the entire organization.
5. Ask for frequent feedback from employees
Then don’t forget to acknowledge it and act on it. Creating an environment where employees feel they have a voice is one way to improve the employee experience. People are more invested when they are allowed opportunities to be creative in their jobs. Co-creation is a powerful way to support engagement and improve company culture.
6. Address diverse and growing needs
Recognize the ever-increasing diversity in the workplace and the need to develop approaches that accommodate the breadth of individuals and provide each employee with the opportunity to shape their own experience.
Ask employees which communications channels they prefer for essential company messages. Use multiple channels if necessary to meet the needs of all employees. Another way to improve company culture is to assess your current benefit offerings. With multiple generations in the workforce, benefit offerings are becoming more diverse and customized to offer various options to address the variety of needs and expectations from employees.
7. Improve company culture with the right technology
Provide communication technology designed to improve communication, collaboration, and the employee experience. Technology should bring teams together, especially if your organization includes deskless, field, or remote workers.
Thoughtfully add technology, not just because it’s the latest trend. Keep change curves in mind to ensure new technology will not just frustrate employees, but will genuinely improve company culture by reducing employee’s pain points and making their jobs easier.
The bottom line: organizations that make thoughtful investments in building workplace relationships, which are the heart of a highly engaged workforce and thriving culture, will improve employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.
Do you have a home for workplace culture that includes every employee, regardless of location, role, or language? Find out how you can fuel positive workplace relationships with Bonfyre, a dedicated, mobile-first channel for building a positive workplace culture. See how we do it here.