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Studies show that a strong, positive company culture can bring a cascade of benefits to the company’s bottom line, including reduced turnover, stronger referrals, greater productivity, and even fewer sick days. So how can you tell if your company culture is moving you down the path to success, or taking you in the wrong direction altogether? Here are few moves that can help you make an assessment.

Check the hard numbers.

Over the past five years, how many new employees stayed with the company for more than one calendar year? How many moved on within 12 months? Once you have that number, compare it to standards in your industry overall, related industries in your geographic area, and the most and least successful companies in both categories.

Check your survey results.

If you’ve never circulated an employee satisfaction survey before, what are you waiting for? Create an anonymous questionnaire that asks for relevant information about overall satisfaction and granular questions about how supported your employees feel by coworkers and the organization at large. Circulate the surveys at least twice a year, and make sure they’re easy to complete and submit anonymously. Read and aggregate the responses carefully and take them to heart. Track changes in the results over time.

Engage in informal discussions.

When you sit down for chats and catch-up sessions with individual team members, be sure to ask how they feel about their jobs and how they feel about the support they’re receiving from the company. Read between the lines of each response, since most employees won’t openly complain. Try to look for insights into how you might improve conditions and relationships around the workplace.

Encourage teamwork, always.

Never embrace a win-at-all-costs mentality that turns employees against each other. Friendly competitions are okay but monitor them closely to make sure the stakes don’t get too high. Better, encourage only competition against outside organizations, not between individual members of the same team. When teams fail, conduct post-mortem sessions that include evaluations of how well the members worked together and shared the burdens. Never encourage team members to sell each other out, upstage each other, or push each other into the spotlight to avoid blame after a mistake or failure. Beware of a culture in which “failure is not an option”. Culture and team cohesion tend to plummet in such conditions, while turnover spikes. Keep perspective, lessons, and relationships at the top of the priority list.

For more on how to build a company culture that makes the workplace feel like a family, turn to the staffing and management experts at Extension.

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