Improve Your Company Culture with These 11 Habits

Improve your company culture with these 11 habits. Learn the real cost of disengagement and how to avoid it.

Team Management

Are you wondering if your company culture is holding you back or what good company culture looks like? In this article, we show you how to improve company culture by adopting these 11 proven habits.

Discover how to:

  1. Model the Desired Behaviors and Attitudes
  2. Share Challenges and Overcome Them
  3. Celebrate Value-Driven Employees
  4. Include Employees in Decisions
  5. Form Cross-Functional Teams
  6. Enable Idea and Feedback Sharing
  7. Ensure Open, Honest Communication
  8. Resolve Conflicts Fairly
  9. Offer Flexible Work Options
  10. Support Personal and Professional Growth
  11. Celebrate Milestones and Achievements

11 Ways to Improve Company Culture

When leaders consistently demonstrate the behaviors and values they wish to see in their organization, they create a positive ripple effect that inspires employees to follow suit. Here are your 11 habits to focus on this year.

1. Model the Behaviors and Attitudes That Align with Your Desired Culture

As a leader, your actions speak louder than words. If you want to foster a culture of collaboration, innovation, and respect, you must embody these qualities in your daily interactions with employees. 

Consistently demonstrating the behaviors and attitudes you wish to see in your team will help reinforce the importance of these values and encourage others to adopt them.

For example, if you want to promote open communication, make a point to listen to your employees' ideas and concerns actively. Show genuine interest in their perspectives and thank them for their input, even if you don't ultimately agree with their suggestions. 

2. Be Transparent About Your Challenges and How You Overcome Them

Authentic leaders are not afraid to show vulnerability. By sharing your struggles and how you've worked to overcome them, you create a safe space for employees to do the same. This transparency helps build trust and fosters a culture of learning and growth.

Consider sharing a personal story during a team meeting or in a company-wide email about a time when you faced a significant challenge and the steps you took to address it. Emphasize the lessons you learned and how the experience helped you grow as a leader. 

By demonstrating that even leaders face obstacles and make mistakes, you create a more human and relatable image that employees can connect with.

3. Recognize and Celebrate Employees Who Embody the Company's Values

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for shaping behavior. When you see employees demonstrating the values and behaviors you wish to see in your organization, make a point to recognize employees and celebrate their efforts. This recognition not only validates their actions but also sends a clear message to other employees about what is valued and rewarded within the company.

Consider implementing a peer-to-peer recognition program that allows employees to nominate their colleagues for embodying company values. Celebrate these individuals during team meetings, in company newsletters, or through personalized thank-you notes from leadership. 

By consistently recognizing and rewarding desired behaviors, you reinforce the importance of these values and encourage others to follow suit.

4. Encourage Employee Participation in Decision-Making Processes

Engaging employees in decision-making processes not only helps generate valuable insights and ideas but also fosters a sense of ownership and investment in the company's success. 

When employees see that their opinions help shape the direction of the organization, they are more apt to continue to engage and be committed to their work.

Consider implementing regular feedback loops, such as employee surveys or focus groups, to gather input on key decisions and initiatives. Invite employees to participate in strategic planning sessions or project kickoff meetings to ensure their perspectives are considered from the outset. 

By actively seeking and valuing employee input, you demonstrate trust in their abilities and create a more collaborative and inclusive work environment.

5. Establish Cross-Functional Teams to Tackle Important Projects

Breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration across departments can help foster a more cohesive and engaged employee workforce. 

When employees have the opportunity to work with colleagues from different areas of the organization, they gain a broader understanding of the company's operations and develop new skills and relationships.

Consider establishing cross-functional teams to tackle important projects or initiatives. These teams should include representatives from various departments who bring diverse perspectives and expertise to the table. 

Encourage open communication and collaboration within these teams, and provide them with the resources and support they need to succeed. 

6. Provide Platforms for Employees to Share Their Ideas and Feedback

Creating a culture of continuous improvement requires ongoing input and feedback from employees at all levels of the organization. 

Consider implementing regular town hall meetings, suggestion boxes, or online forums where employees can share their ideas and feedback. 

| In 2020, Gallup did a study in which they found a 4 times increase in earnings per share growth when an organization was able to engage their employees compared to their competitors.

Encourage managers to hold regular one-on-one meetings with their direct reports to discuss challenges, successes, and opportunities for improvement. 

By providing multiple avenues for employees to share their thoughts and ideas, you create a more inclusive and collaborative work environment that values continuous learning and growth.

7. Prioritize Open and Honest Communication

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with team members to create a safe space for employees to discuss their work, challenges, and aspirations. Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the employee, maintaining eye contact, and avoiding interruptions.

8. Address Concerns and Conflicts Promptly and Fairly

When conflicts or concerns arise, address them promptly and impartially. Schedule a private meeting with the involved parties to discuss the issue and explore potential solutions. 

Listen to each person's perspective without judgment, and help them find common ground. If necessary, involve HR or a neutral third party to mediate the discussion and ensure a fair resolution.

You don’t want issues to fester and cause resentment amongst the team members.

9. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements to Support Work-Life Balance

Recognize that your employees have lives outside of work and that a healthy work-life balance is essential for their well-being and productivity. 

Offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks, to help employees manage their personal and professional responsibilities.

10. Provide Resources for Personal and Professional Development

Invest in your employees' growth and development by providing access to learning opportunities, such as training programs, workshops, and conferences. Encourage employees to identify areas where they'd like to improve their skills or knowledge and work with them to create a development plan.

11. Celebrate Milestones and Achievements, Both Work-Related and Personal

Recognize and celebrate your employees' successes, both big and small. Acknowledge work-related achievements, such as completing a challenging project or reaching a sales target, through public recognition, bonuses, or promotions. 

Don't forget to celebrate personal milestones, such as birthdays, weddings, or the birth of a child, to show that you value your employees as individuals and care about their lives outside of work.

This foundation will not only help create highly engaged employees but also increase retention.

Creating a Strong Team Culture Through Shared Experiences

  • Foster Belonging and Camaraderie
  • Encourage Collaboration and Teamwork
  • Create a Positive Work Environment

Creating a strong team culture is essential for any organization that wants to thrive in today's competitive business landscape. 

Shared experiences play a crucial role in fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among employees, which can lead to increased collaboration, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.

Organize team-building activities that promote bonding and trust

One of the most effective ways to create a strong team culture is by organizing team-building activities that promote bonding and trust among employees. These activities can range from simple ice-breaker games to more elaborate off-site retreats or volunteer events.

Plan off-site retreats or volunteer events to foster camaraderie

Off-site retreats provide an opportunity for employees to step away from their daily routines and engage in activities that foster teamwork and communication. These retreats can include workshops, brainstorming sessions, or even outdoor adventures that challenge employees to work together and solve problems as a team.

Volunteer events are another great way to promote bonding and trust among employees while also giving back to the community. 

By working together towards a common goal, employees can develop a deeper sense of purpose and camaraderie that extends beyond the workplace culture.

Encourage social interactions through company-sponsored events or clubs

In addition to off-site retreats and volunteer events, companies can also encourage social interactions among employees through company-sponsored events or clubs. 

These can include happy hours, team lunches, or even sports leagues or hobby groups.

By providing opportunities for employees to interact with each other outside of work, companies can foster a sense of community and belonging that transcends job titles and departments.

Create opportunities for employees to showcase their talents and interests

Another way to promote a strong team culture is by creating opportunities for employees to showcase their talents and interests. This can include talent shows, art exhibits, or even employee-led workshops or presentations like lunch and learns.

What is Company Culture and Why is it Important?

Company culture is the shared values, beliefs, and behaviors that define an organization's environment, influencing employee interactions, decision-making, and work approach.

The impact of Positive Company culture on employee performance and retention

A strong, positive company culture can have a significant impact on employee performance and retention. Alignment with company values often helps increase engagement and productivity. 

A past study in 2022 by Gartner showed that turnover jumped by nearly 20%. With a spike of people willing to quit, it is more important than ever to make sure employees feel that they are in the right organization.

The Cost Of A Toxic Culture

On the flip side, a toxic or misaligned organizational culture can lead to high turnover and poor performance. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that the cost of replacing an employee can range from 3 to 4 times their annual salary. 

Furthermore, a study by the Harvard Business School found that a toxic culture characterized by disrespect, discrimination, and unethical behavior can cost companies over “billions of dollars” annually in turnover, legal fees, and productivity losses.

Common Challenges In Improving Company Culture

When you try to improve company culture, you’ll often face obstacles such as resistance to change and lack of leadership buy-in. Let’s go into how you can deal with these common challenges.

Resistance To Change And Entrenched Behaviors

One significant obstacle that comes up when you try to improve workplace culture, is the resistance to change from employees. People often become comfortable with their established routines, habits, and attitudes, making it difficult to introduce new cultural norms. 

This resistance can stem from fear of the unknown, lack of understanding about the benefits of change, or simply a preference for the status quo.

To address this challenge, leaders must approach cultural changes with patience and empathy. Effective communication is crucial in helping employees understand the reasons behind the changes and how they will benefit both the company and themselves. 

Providing support, training, and resources can also help employees adapt to new ways of working and interacting with colleagues.

Strategies For Overcoming Resistance To Change

  1. Involve employees in the change process: Engage employees in discussions about the desired cultural changes and seek their input and feedback. This involvement can foster a sense of ownership and commitment to the new culture.
  2. Celebrate small wins: Recognize and reward employees who embrace the new cultural norms. Highlighting success stories can inspire others to follow suit and demonstrate the tangible benefits of change.
  3. Lead by example: Leaders and managers must consistently model the desired behaviors and attitudes. When employees see their leaders walking the talk, they are more likely to adopt the new cultural norms themselves.

Lack Of Leadership Buy-In Or Inconsistent Messaging

Another common challenge in improving company culture is the lack of leadership buy-in or inconsistent messaging from the top. 

Cultural change initiatives can quickly fail if senior leaders are not fully committed to the process or if they send mixed signals about the desired behaviors and the company’s core values.

Inconsistent or contradictory messaging can undermine trust and credibility, leaving employees confused and disengaged. For example, if a company claims to value work-life balance but routinely expects employees to work long hours, the message rings hollow.

Steps To Ensure Leadership Alignment And Commitment

  1. Clearly define the desired culture: Articulate the key values, behaviors, and attitudes that will define the company's culture. Ensure that all leaders understand and agree with these definitions.
  2. Provide leadership training: Offer training and coaching to help leaders develop the skills and mindset needed to model and promote the desired culture.
  3. Hold leaders accountable: Establish clear expectations for leaders' behavior and hold them accountable for modeling and reinforcing the desired culture. Regular performance evaluations and feedback can help ensure consistency and commitment.

Inadequate Communication And Employee Engagement

Effective communication is vital to the success of any cultural change initiative. Without clear, consistent, and frequent communication, employees may feel disconnected from the process and unsure of their role in shaping the new culture.

Techniques For Improving Communication And Employee Engagement

  1. Establish multiple communication channels: Use a variety of methods to communicate with employees, such as town hall meetings, newsletters, surveys, and one-on-one conversations.
  2. Encourage employee feedback: Create a safe and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and suggestions.
  3. Empower employees to take ownership: Give employees the autonomy and resources they need to contribute to the cultural change process. Encourage them to initiate projects or activities that align with the desired culture.

Neglecting To Measure And Monitor Progress

Finally, a common challenge in improving company culture is neglecting to measure and monitor progress. Without clear metrics and regular assessments, it can be difficult to determine whether the cultural change initiative is having the desired impact.

Steps For Measuring And Monitoring Cultural Change Progress

  1. Define success metrics: Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure the success of the cultural change initiative. These metrics should be specific, measurable, and aligned with the desired cultural outcomes.
  2. Conduct regular assessments: Establish a schedule to assess and reflect on your own company culture using surveys, focus groups, or other feedback mechanisms. Compare the results over time to track progress and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Celebrate successes and address challenges: Regularly communicate the progress and successes of the cultural change initiative to employees. At the same time, be transparent about any challenges or setbacks and involve employees in finding solutions.

The Importance Of Qualitative Feedback

While quantitative data from surveys and KPIs is valuable, don't overlook the power of qualitative feedback. Conduct exit interviews to gather more in-depth insights into your employees' experiences and perceptions.

With these candid conversations with a diverse group of employees, you can uncover pain points, gather suggestions for improvement, and gauge overall morale. 

As you gather feedback and track metrics, be willing to adapt your strategies based on what you learn. What worked well in the past may not be as effective today, so it's essential to remain agile and open to trying new approaches. 

For example, if employee surveys reveal a desire for more professional development opportunities, consider implementing a mentorship program or offering training workshops.

Exit interviews, on the other hand, provide a unique opportunity to learn why employees choose to leave the company and identify any recurring themes or issues that need to be addressed.

Becoming the Leader Your Company Needs

In this article, we explained how to improve company culture by employing dedication, empathy, and a willingness to lead by example. 

By fostering engagement, building trust, and promoting collaboration, you can cultivate an environment where employees feel valued, motivated, and aligned with your organization's mission.

Start by evaluating your current practices and identifying areas where you can make meaningful improvements. Engage your team in the process, seeking their input and feedback to ensure everyone feels invested in the cultural shift.

At Knit, we believe in making employee performance reviews as easy as possible. Our automated performance software can save you hundreds of hours each year.

If you’re looking to set up your business for success, start a free trial or contact us and we’ll be delighted to help support your business goals.

What steps will you take today to become the leader your company needs tomorrow?

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