5 Factors Affecting Company Culture You Weren’t Thinking About
By Rylie Holt
Culture is one of those things that’s easy to sing the praises of but difficult to actually implement. Case in point: 94% of executives agree that a distinct workplace culture is key to success, and yet 63% of employees report feeling disengaged on the job.
In times like these, company culture is one of the last things business leaders are thinking about, as simply staying afloat has quickly become the name of the game. Businesses that don’t take culture seriously, however, are likely suffering for it: low employee morale decreases productivity and increases turnover — two things most businesses simply can’t afford right now.
If you’re hoping to use culture in order to give your business a boost, make sure to leave no stone unturned. Here are 5 factors affecting company culture you’re probably not thinking about:
In normal times, the office is a huge factor in determining worker satisfaction. Lighting, layout, and air quality all have outsize impacts on determining how well employees get along with one another and handle their workload. A keen eye to interior spaces goes a long way in developing culture at the office.
Unfortunately, these are not normal times, and businesses need to respond by creating a remote work culture. If your business is making the transition out of the office, put as much care into your digital setup as you would your physical one. Create different conversations on Slack that reflect the conversations that normally take place in the office, or organize regular Zoom calls between employees who normally sit by one another. You may never fully replicate your office remotely, but doing just a little can go a long way in boosting culture and morale right now.
2. Employee Expectations
Creating a positive company culture isn’t just about what you can do — it’s about what your employees expect you to do. If your workers feel let down by what you provide, your culture will always be negatively affected as a consequence.
The best way to get a lock on expectations is to discuss them fully with all new hires. A healthy onboarding process shouldn’t just be acclimating new employees to your office; it should include an explicit conversation about both what they expect from their position and what you’re capable of offering. If, for example, you hire an employee keen on investing heavily in professional development, you’re going to need to find a way to work with that desire in order to keep culture healthy.
3. Schedule Balance
Now more than ever, it’s difficult to prevent work from seeping outside of office hours. Professionals are now working at record levels, with 94% dedicating 50 or more hours a week to their job. The more that employees allow their job to take over their personal lives, the less likely they are to genuinely enjoy their work — dragging culture down along the way.
With your workers stuck at home, it can be difficult to regulate how much time is spent on the job. Always encourage your team to disconnect when the day is done, and try to limit after-hours emails or assignments. The only way to truly ensure that your workforce is getting the proper amount of personal time is by simply giving them a manageable workload. Have regular check-ins with your employees and get a sense of how well they’re staying atop their work. By giving everyone exactly what they can handle, you can be sure that you’re not developing a culture of burnout.
4. Your Customers
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, customer service representatives have seen a 250% increase in some of the most difficult customer interactions. Working with difficult customers may be the name of the game for some workers, but it can also be a serious drain on energy and morale. Not all businesses can control who their clientele are, but all businesses can put resources in place that make it easier for their workers.
One option is to go through an internal review process that identifies clients who might be particularly difficult to deal with as well as relatively easy clients. Try and distribute these customers fairly across your team so that each worker has an equitable workload in that respect. Preventing your most difficult clients from dragging down your workers is key to keeping them from dragging down your culture as well.
5. Business Mission
For a business to even have a culture in the first place, it needs to have a mission. Employees don’t have anything to unite them if they don’t have a common goal they’re working towards. Even if your company has well-defined goals in terms of sales or influence, it may not have a more long-term mission in place.
Something as simple as writing a meaningful mission statement can be a great foundation for giving your work team a purpose. Defining your business’s ethos and values creates a center around which your workers can build a culture, strengthening your company in the process.
Culture can be a difficult thing to quantify, but having a positive one comes with serious benefits. Keeping things cohesive might be difficult in times like these, but it’s just as important as ever — the future of your business might depend on it.
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