Ensure a Healthy Company Culture with These Practices

Do you regularly feel anxious before starting a workday? Have you ever felt fear before reaching out to an associate? Maybe you haven't, but some teammate of yours has been through a similar situation.

Those are symptoms of what some specialists call a 'toxic' company culture, and you'll be amazed to learn that this has led to one in five Americans leaving their job in the past five years, according to a study by SHRM.

The impact of this phenomenon on employee retention rates is an essential concern for almost all industries, which requires robust solutions. Let's dive deeper into company culture, how it is embodied, and the best ways to keep it healthy.

Topics to check

1. What is Company Culture?

a. Core values
b. Perks and benefits

2. Who Takes Care of the Company Culture?

a. The People & Culture team
b. People vs. HR
c. People's responsibilities and tasks

3. Company Culture Indicators

a. Team health checks
b. TeamPulse for simple health checks

1. What is Company Culture?

When talking about this term, people tend to think of the big tech companies and how cool it might be to have the perks and amenities they offer to their collaborators. But that's not exactly it; as Softway's CEO, Mohammed Anwar, puts it: "Perks don't make a strong company culture." Don't get us wrong: Ping-pong tables and gym passes help attract candidates, but company culture goes beyond that.

a. Core Values

Defining company core values is the foundation of any organizational culture, as it ensures all collaborators understand and pursue the same goals. They guide everybody to make the best decisions possible and avoid harming anyone, including the company, fostering a safe environment.

Core values are the principles that drive your business and build trust among the workforce. These must be honored actively, especially by the leadership team, to inspire and set an example for all organization members.

Some tips you should follow to establish your company values are:

Keep them short and straightforward. Values should be easy to remember and epitomize. It will also be helpful to promote them.

Be as specific as possible. Corporate jargon can confuse concepts, so you'll be better off avoiding it.

Address internal and external goals. Values must shape the employee experience and the company's relationship with the outside world.

Make them unique. Understanding how values uniquely shape the organization is essential to differentiate from competence.

Check the following examples:

Microsoft sports three corporate values in a traditional fashion.

  • Respect - We recognize that the thoughts, feelings, and backgrounds of others are as important as our own.

  • Integrity - We are honest, ethical, and trustworthy.

  • Accountability - We accept full responsibility for our decisions, actions, and results.

On the other side, Hubspot acts based on these cultural code tenets.

  • We solve for the customer.

  • We work to be remarkable and transparent.

  • We favor autonomy & accountability.

  • We believe our best perk is amazing peers.

  • We lean towards long-term impact.

b. Perks and Benefits

Back to this topic: You mustn't confuse offering significant benefits to your collaborators with keeping a safe and healthy workspace. Not even all the free cashews in the world can compensate for burnout or stress from conflict with peers or managers.

Quoting Mohammed Anwar again, "When your company has good perks but a toxic culture, you create a golden-handcuffs situation where employees only join for the perks. Then, they realize how terrible the culture is, but they don't want to leave because they've grown used to the benefits."

This situation may not cause many turnovers, but you'll be stuck with people that don't necessarily like their job but want the dental insurance plan. They'll just do the minimum until something better comes their way. Which might even hurt your business more than people leaving right away.

But we don't mean you shouldn't look for excellent incentives for your employees, as they can reflect the company spirit in some ways (and attract top talent). Just don't try to compensate one with the other.

To effectively promote adherence to corporate values, installing a department or unit dedicated to it is also necessary.

2. Who Takes Care of the Company Culture?

Specialist Denise Lee Yohn states that company culture is everyone's responsibility because traditional top-down waterfall approaches don't tend to have a lasting effect -if any at all. We could not agree more, as everyone's work must be guided by corporate values, but not everyone can work in the processes required to keep a healthy culture.

In a traditional sense, the Human Resources (HR) department handles all stuff related to people. Hiring, firing, and paying employees have been the main jobs performed by HR. Still, when concepts such as company culture, employee experience, and retention enter the equation, the need of a more human approach is required. That's the People & Culture cue.

a. The People & Culture team

While HR is more focused on ensuring all collaborators' status is compliant with regulations, People & Culture ensures everybody feels like a member of the organization, follows a proper onboarding process and receives the resources to do their best work.

The expected effect improves employee engagement and performance, directly impacting business outcomes.

According to a Gallup's meta-analysis, companies with high employee engagement can outperform their competence in profitability, customer satisfaction, employee turnover, etc. That makes it a priority for organizations to look for People specialists or even restructure how their HR department functions.

b. People vs. HR

Jen Vinciguerra, VP of People & Culture at VIPDesk considers that "There is sometimes a tension between the movement towards People and Culture and more traditional "human resources" which is much more compliance-focused." Nevertheless, to have a consistent organization, you can't put aside any of them, as People and HR are complimentary.

Understanding these differences should be the cornerstone for any area transformation, so responsibilities get rightfully prioritized. Jen suggests that the People & Culture team (or any other title you assign to it) can aspire to be "so much more than the paperwork department." Technological tools can improve how that part is solved, freeing time for the team to focus on "more strategic things."

c. People's responsibilities and tasks

And what exactly are those "things," you might be wondering. Let's put it straight in 10 points, based on Workable's article on What is a people team?

  • Handling employee data efficiently and securely using advanced software tools.

  • Understand labor law and deal with legal matters that may impact collaborators.

  • Design and execute the employee onboarding, training, and development initiatives.

  • Manage the workplace to fit employees' needs and expectations to maintain productivity.

  • Organize events, community activities, trips, and personal development workshops.

  • Coordinate and support hiring managers to keep a consistent process.

  • Develop the employee brand to stay attractive for candidates and ensure their experience is positive.

  • Acquire relevant compensation programs to improve employee retention.

  • Measure KPIs related to all People & HR activities to understand performance and how to improve.

  • Provide the resources all collaborators require to successfully perform their job.

3. Company Culture Indicators

After understanding the focus of the People team, it's essential to learn how to measure the impact of their work. Some aspects you should keep track of are:

Employee churn - How many collaborators leave? How does it compare to the average number of employees? You can calculate it by dividing the number of employees left during a specific period by the average number of collaborators.

Employee engagement - Are they contributing as expected? Do they attend or miss most of their meetings? To gauge this, you can ask peers and check with direct managers.

Employee satisfaction - Are collaborators happy in their roles? Are there facing any issues in -or outside- the workplace that might affect their performance? An ideal solution is to run team health checks.

a. Team health checks

This assessment technique serves teams to be mindful of their feelings and emotions towards their working environment. Some of the dynamics that are reviewed with health checks are:

Psychological safety - Is the collaborator feeling safe enough to do its best?

Dependability - Can the collaborator trust the company and the team?

Structure and clarity - Are goals and KPIs clear enough?

Meaning of work - Does the collaborator consider its contributions valuable?

Impact of work - Does the collaborator things its contributions make a difference?

Having a perspective on these dimensions is really helpful in addressing potential issues and even preventing them. But the best thing about health checks is that you can use them to evaluate whatever aspects you consider are relevant, depending on the team and the timing. You just need to get comfortable performing them.

b. TeamPulse for simple health checks

The brand new TeamPulse app is the best way to run health check sessions without effort. Just add it to your Jira project and start taking care of your team's health and productivity in four simple steps:

  1. Define the dimensions you want to measure (use our template or create your own).

  2. Create a health check session and invite your team.

  3. Each member rates the team individually across each dimension.

  4. See the results, discuss each dimension and come up with action items together.

It is easy to use, and it also lets you run real-time or asynchronous sessions to better fit everyone's schedule. And you can customize the fields to gather feedback around the most relevant topics for each session. Try it free now!

Conclusion

Keeping a healthy company culture is essential to differentiate from competence and maintain a growing business. Organizations that shift their focus and invest more efforts to nourish a positive employee experience seem to have the best performance rates. Due to this, it's essential to align your organization to address these needs and acquire the right talent and tools to do so.


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