This post was updated in March 2020
It is a known fact that company culture is very important to keep employees happy. It is also a known fact that every company has a culture, just like every person has a personality. Nowadays, when people are searching for jobs, they no longer just focus on salary and benefits; they also consider the company’s culture. After all, the workplace is where adults spend most of their time, outside of their own home. Employees should look forward to going to their job every day, rather than dread it. The workplace should be a relaxing place where people can not only do their job, but also be themselves. When employees are happy, productivity increases. This is why company culture is important. Some examples of companies with great cultures are Google, Warby Parker, Adobe, and SquareSpace. You can read more about their cultures here. So how can a company build a culture that keeps employees happy?
Define Your Values and Mission
After all, these are what drive the company. Everyone, from managers to employees, should know what the company stands for. They should all speak the same “language” and be on the same page when it comes to the company’s values and mission. These should be shared with employees during their onboarding process, since that is when employees learn about the company. With an onboarding software you are able to ensure a seamless transition from new hire to employee.
A company’s core values define how employees work and enjoy their personal lives. When employees are passionate about the company’s values and mission, they work hard to accomplish those goals. For example, at Facebook it is all about “making the world more open and connected”. This mission not only encourages employees, it also guides the product and drives the entire company. When employees are not passionate about the company they work for and what it stands for, their job becomes meaningless. When the job becomes meaningless, the employee becomes unhappy, and we know that unhappy employees means less productivity.
Make sure you have a clear mission and defined values, and that you share them with all employees. If necessary, have them posted around the office to serve as a reminder for everyone. Only when you have defined your company’s core values and mission will you be able to begin achieving a good company culture.
Hire People Who Match Your Culture
During the interview process you will have the opportunity to meet diverse individuals. Make sure you get to know the candidates’ personalities. Talk to them about your company’s culture and see how they react. How is their sense of humor? Are they independent? Do they need to be micromanaged? These are some questions that will help you identify which candidates match your company’s culture. Before you hire someone, make sure to identify your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and when choosing a candidate, make sure they fill in those gaps. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, makes a great point about the relationship between employees and culture. He notes that the people companies hire represent the company even outside of work. When you are talking to someone and they mention where they work, your perception of that company will be based on that person, their opinion and even how they talk about the company.
When I first came in for my interview at Dominion, I met two people from the marketing team. They were both very happy individuals, and the way they spoke about the company left me wanting to know more. Toward the end of the interview I heard a dog bark, and I knew I wanted to work here. They gave me a tour of the office and I noticed it was an open space, no offices, everyone seemed happy to be here, and someone even had their dog by their desk! After I got hired in, my supervisor told me that one of the main reasons I was hired was because of my personality. She knew that I would be easy to work with and that I would fit in with the rest of the team at Dominion. When hiring new employees you should always make sure they will fit in with the rest of the department they will be working in. After all, a bad hire can affect the relationship and vibe of the entire department.
Like I mentioned before, the workplace should be a place where people can be themselves. This varies depending on the industry you are in. For example, if you are a software company like Dominion, your employees don’t necessarily have to dress up every day since customers don’t visit the office regularly. Or if you are in a more “serious” industry, having casual Fridays may be a good way of giving your employees a break and a chance to be themselves.
Employees can sometimes be very stressed and overwhelmed, which can sometimes reduce productivity. To avoid this, some companies have board games and/or arcade games, healthy snacks, and even nap pods around the office! This helps employees relax and take their mind off work for a couple minutes. Imagine if you had to consistently work for eight hours a day without being able to take a break? The mind gets tired, the body becomes weak, and you eventually burnout. Allowing your employees to take a break and do something fun and relaxing when they need to will keep them happy and increase productivity.
Pick Good Leaders
Leaders are role models, therefore they are a big part of your company’s culture. The way they act and speak shapes the culture, so when choosing your management team, make sure that they embody and represent what you want your company culture to be. For example, if you want a transparent culture, then you leaders should be transparent. If you want a playful and happy culture, then your leader should be happy people. If you have serious people as leaders, then you will have a serious company culture. Again, this depends on the industry you are in, and what your mission and values are. Forbes notes that if a leader at Salesforce.com doesn’t “put customer success front and center”, they are quickly let go. This is because customer success is what Salesforce.com stands for. It’s leaders have to represent that and encourage it. Always keep this in mind when choosing your leadership team. Ask yourself, “Do these people represent what I want my company’s culture to be?” If they do not, consider other people within your company that do.