Corporate Culture: Come on, Get Happy

June 15, 2014

4:30 pm

We’ve all had jobs in which the morale was low and the corporate culture non-existent. You know the drain on creativity and productivity that comes with dreading work every day. But we don’t have to live like this. As entrepreneurs and managers, changing the corporate culture is within our control, and happy employees make for a more productive work environment.

Paying it Forward

Building a strong corporate culture that is employee-centered and collaborate can have benefits not only to employee satisfaction, but also to your bottom line.

We’ve all heard about the legendary employee perks at Google Headquarters? Nap pods, massages, free haircuts, and the list goes on and on. In one sense, it takes a lot less than nap pods to create a strong corporate culture. In another sense, it takes a lot more.

But once you find the right strategy for a strong corporate culture in your company, you will save time and money thanks to lower turnover rate. Not convinced? Recently Linked In published survey results that put a number on preventable turnovers, and they are costing employers big time.

Sure, more professional development, staff lunches and generous vacation policies may seem like costs to your bottom line, but US companies stand to save $75 million if they can curb preventable employee turnover.

Consistency is Key

Let’s be honest.  You can offer ice cream Fridays all you want, but unless respect for employees is conveyed consistently throughout each day of each week, the gimmicks won’t result in improved performance and an enshrined positive culture.

How can you do this day in and day out? Offering feedback and giving recognition, listening to employee concerns, engaging your employees in decision making are ways to create a strong office culture.

This takes time: plain and simple. You can’t change course overnight, and you won’t be able to send one email or host one event to convey to your employees that you value and respect them. They need to be convinced by consistency – on the shortest phone call, in the longest meeting or at the employee fun day – that your corporate culture is positive and employee-focused.

Litmus, an email marketing firm, was just named one of the Best Places to Work by the Boston Business Journal. One employees’ testimonial spells out why, “The founders are in the thick of it. Also, the collective responsibility, I feel like I could rely on any team member for help.”

Does that sound like your company?

Committed to a Mission

Corporate culture is tied directly to a company’s mission. Do you have one? Let’s take a look at an example: The 12 Keys Rehab “excels at providing compassionate, competent and empathetic care to the recovering substance abuser.”

The staff at 12 Keys is uniquely positioned to support the corporate mission. Why? Their staff is made up of recovered addicts. This benefits their patients because of the firsthand knowledge of the struggle but also the joys of success. It also benefits the corporate culture because the employees at 12 Keys are motivated by more than just a paycheck. They are motivated by their desire to help others.

Come On, Get Happy

I recently toured a client’s newly renovated office building. They gained square footage, sure, but every employee I talked to pointed to the “Creativity Zone” as their favorite part of the building. It looked like a regular office lobby, but it was a no-screen zone with couches, water bottles and bright windows. The employees said they almost immediately started using this technology-free room as a place to share ideas and talk through solutions, and it didn’t cost the company a thing. They were going to furnish a lobby anyway.

We all know what it’s like to be in a job with a weak corporate culture. Our goal as entrepreneurs and managers should be to ensure that everyone also knows what it is like to be a part of strong corporate culture.

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Savannah Marie is a writer and business marketing enthusiast. She writes about tips and tricks in the world of business, online marketing, social media and start-ups. She is the editor of her blog, Mixios, which features content on business, social media, and everything in between.

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