How to Improve Company Culture: 10 Tried-and-Tested Ideas

February 23, 2024by Jeremy Pollack

You might have heard the term “company culture.” Perhaps you’ve been part of an organization and were introduced to certain norms, beliefs, and values that define how the company operates. In essence, this introduction was to what is popularly known as company culture.

You may wonder why there’s a buzz about company culture and why every organization needs one. The world of work has significantly changed. Success is no longer solely about having the best machines, technology, or business location. It hinges on the people, who are considered an organization’s most prized asset.

A company culture standardizes the behaviors of its human resources, ensuring its values are evident to all internal and external customers. Moreover, a strong company culture enhances a brand’s identity, attracting high-caliber candidates.

Many companies struggle with enhancing their corporate culture. This guide offers practical ideas on how to improve company culture, highlighting the significance of fostering an environment where a company’s core values are visibly embodied, thereby ensuring both internal and external stakeholders can appreciate the essence of the brand’s identity.

Leadership’s Role in Culture Improvement

Leaders within an organization have a role to play in improving company culture. For an organization to claim a strong culture, its leaders must first forge a compelling vision. Such leaders are viewed as transformational and capable of crafting a vision that clearly outlines the organization’s future and objectives.

These leaders are tasked with not only envisioning but also actively shaping the company culture. They inspire and motivate others in the organization, fostering an organizational culture of change. Transformational leaders connect with their employees’ emotions, values, and aspirations, securing their commitment to the organization’s success.

Moreover, leaders are charged with challenging the status quo to instigate cultural transformation. The advantages of developing leadership skills are many. Through strong leadership skills, leaders can question existing assumptions, norms, and values that obstruct change within the company.

To achieve the desired cultural change, leaders can employ several strategies, such as:

  • Hiring effective teams that align with the organization’s cultural goals.
  • Setting the tone for these teams, guiding their focus and ethos.
  • Prioritizing the morale and well-being of employees, fostering a supportive and engaging environment.
  • Allocating the necessary resources to facilitate cultural change.

These approaches enable leaders to drive the cultural transformation that is essential for organizational success.

Open and Transparent Communication

Open and transparent communication stands as the cornerstone of cultivating a culture of innovation within any organization. Achieving such a strong corporate culture necessitates a concerted effort to foster an environment where information flows freely in all directions: upward, downward, and laterally.

This unrestricted flow of information is vital because innovation is stifled when feedback and ideas are filtered or silenced due to hierarchical barriers or a pervasive organizational culture of fear. Consequently, employees feel empowered to share their insights and ideas, including new concepts for products or improvements to processes, without apprehension.

The importance of open and transparent communication extends beyond the mere exchange of ideas—it is fundamentally about creating a safe space for vulnerability and learning. Leaders play a critical role in this by modeling the behavior they wish to see. They should actively encourage their team members to communicate openly, celebrating successes and openly discussing failures.

This approach helps to demystify mistakes, framing them not as failures but as valuable learning opportunities. Such an environment not only nurtures innovation but also builds trust among team members, reinforcing the notion that every employee’s voice is valued and contributes to the collective success of the organization.

Implementing strategies that prioritize open and transparent communication can help leaders significantly improve company culture. This involves not only encouraging the sharing of ideas and feedback but also creating mechanisms for this exchange to occur seamlessly.

Regular meetings, suggestion boxes, and open-door policies are just a few examples of how organizations can institutionalize this openness. The ultimate goal is to ensure that every employee feels heard, respected, and integral to the company’s innovative endeavors, thereby driving the organization forward with a strong, collaborative culture.

Employee Recognition and Appreciation

Recognizing and appreciating your employees is the surest way to build a strong workplace culture. It’s a basic human desire to be acknowledged for our efforts and their positive impact on the organization.

Building a strong company culture necessitates significant changes within the organization, and these changes are unattainable without the support of the company’s employees. One effective method to gain employee support is through recognition and appreciation programs.

However, simple recognition and appreciation might not yield the desired results unless the company adopts creative ways to acknowledge employee achievements and milestones. A creative approach to employee recognition and appreciation, aimed at improving company culture, involves offering awards that truly matter to employees. Rewards should have a lasting impact on their professional lives.

Recognition and appreciation should also be distributed on a rotational basis to avoid any feelings of unfairness. It would be detrimental for the same salesperson to receive awards every year, leaving others merely as spectators. Your organization should devise fair methods to ensure different individuals have the opportunity to receive awards.

Professional Development Opportunities

Professional development opportunities in the workplace are a pivotal means to improve workplace culture. As previously noted, employees, being human, inherently seek growth and development. No one aspires to work for years without progressing or to remain stagnant in their role. Routine jobs can become monotonous, and professional development opportunities offer employees the motivation they need to remain engaged and productive.

Such opportunities signal to employees that they are valued and that the organization is invested in their growth. Individuals who see their careers advancing are more likely to embrace new methodologies and align with the organization’s goals, facilitating the adoption of a new culture.

Your organization needs to eliminate barriers that prevent employees from pursuing short courses while maintaining their productivity at work. By dismantling these obstacles, employees feel confident enough to seek professional development opportunities without feeling the need to resign from their positions.

Flexible Work Arrangements

The world of work is constantly evolving. A significant recent shift was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated people to stay away from their workplaces to prevent the spread of the virus among employees.

During the pandemic, organizations discovered new opportunities to continue their operations while ensuring their employees’ safety from the virus. The pandemic year will be etched in the memory of every employee as the time when we all realized work could still be accomplished without being confined to a desk for eight hours.

Flexibility in the workplace has become a key feature in millions of job descriptions, with substantial evidence that many companies are integrating flexible work arrangements into their culture. Teams can now choose working arrangements that best suit their needs and enhance their productivity.

Incorporating flexibility into a company’s working arrangements doesn’t mean abandoning its values and policies. Instead, flexible working arrangements provide employees with the autonomy to achieve optimal results.

The challenge for most organizations lies in how to implement flexible working arrangements in a way that enhances the company culture. Introducing such flexibility isn’t overly complicated. It involves allowing options for hybrid or entirely remote work.

While the importance of desk workers cannot be understated, many organizations are opting to combine remote work with office time, allowing employees to choose when they work at their desks. This also involves giving employees the freedom to decide their working hours and to devise plans for sharing tasks or collaborating, thus creating time for personal commitments.

Flexible working arrangements empower employees to prioritize what matters most to them while remaining productive at work. Ultimately, your workplace will transform into a place everyone wants to be part of.

Inclusivity and Diversity Initiatives

Globalization has enabled work to transcend geographical boundaries, allowing organizations to source talent from across the globe in pursuit of a competitive edge. For these companies, attracting the best international talent offers numerous benefits but also presents challenges, particularly in adapting the workplace culture to meet the needs of a diverse workforce.

Modern-day employees are looking for more than just snacks, perks, and benefits from a company. They highly value the adoption of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies, viewing it as a critical attribute of an employer.

Culture, reflecting a people’s way of life, is crucial, and employees appreciate a company culture that empowers them to be authentic in their roles. A good company culture rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion fosters the sharing of new ideas based on unique experiences and knowledge.

Creating a work environment where employees from diverse backgrounds can work without feeling out of place lays the groundwork for a strong company culture. This is particularly advantageous for employees from minority racial groups, as it offers them the chance to forge meaningful connections with their colleagues.

In essence, there is a vital link between inclusivity, diversity, and a company’s thriving culture. A vibrant company culture can significantly boost a company’s innovation, especially since diversity brings together varied perspectives that enhance creativity and innovation.

The diversity in gender, race, and background can be incredibly inspiring. The challenge for companies lies in leveraging these differences to reinforce their desired company culture. Creating an inclusive environment doesn’t require substantial investments. Enhancing inclusivity can begin with conducting regular cultural sensitivity training.

In a workplace where employees are unaware of their colleagues’ cultural backgrounds, conflicts can arise from these differences, hindering the company’s efforts to foster a culture of innovation, as diversity becomes an obstacle to great ideas.

A thriving company culture is one where every individual feels welcome to express their opinions. The company’s policies and practices should reflect these intentions, with the efforts of managers and supervisors reinforcing inclusivity and diversity initiatives.

Wellness Programs and Initiatives

Understanding employees well enough allows a company to recognize that their workforce seeks more than just a substantial paycheck. Many employees desire more than financial compensation—they yearn for work-life balance, which encompasses appreciation for their work efforts and opportunities to thrive physically, mentally, and emotionally.

A company culture can only flourish if it is supported by healthy and thriving employees. It is challenging to cultivate a healthy workplace culture if the individuals expected to embody this culture are not well themselves. Culture and people are inseparable, and a thriving culture necessitates a sufficiently healthy workforce.

In the past, employee retention and wellness programs and initiatives were primarily focused on basic healthcare benefits. However, contemporary health and wellness strategies extend beyond medical benefits, adopting a holistic approach to employee well-being. These programs aim to foster physical health, emotional resilience, and mental wellness.

The benefits of a comprehensive approach to employee wellness include the following:

  • Increased employee engagement
  • Improved profits
  • Organizational growth
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Enhanced productivity

Additionally, wellness initiatives can reduce absenteeism and healthcare costs by addressing health issues proactively.

Overall, wellness programs and initiatives play a crucial role in eliminating obstacles on a company’s journey to enhance its culture. Several successful wellness programs have been instrumental in fostering positive company cultures.

For instance, companies that emphasize work-life balance are making significant strides in improving their cultural environment. Recognizing that highly engaged employees live in a hyperconnected world, these organizations implement measures to prioritize self-care and establish boundaries between work and personal life.

Flexible work arrangements, such as enabling working parents to participate in their children’s school activities while succeeding professionally, contribute to a healthier workforce. In today’s technology-driven society, options for remote work or flexible schedules are vital components of a holistic wellness strategy. Through these initiatives, a company can cultivate a positive culture that supports employee wellness, reduces stress, and enhances individuals’ ability to enjoy life fully.

Team-Building Activities

It is a recognized fact that many companies today emphasize the creation of a culture of teamwork rather than solely focusing on the achievements of individual employees. This shift acknowledges the reality that numerous tasks and roles within the workplace demand collaboration and teamwork, making the fostering of a teamwork culture essential.

In an environment where employees share the belief that the organization can advance more effectively through collaboration and cooperation, a successful culture of teamwork thrives. It becomes a workplace where the core of the company’s thinking, every planning effort, and decision-making process requires the input of various employees.

A culture of teamwork emerges when a company values the contribution of every member of the organization, from executive leadership to frontline staff. If fostering such a culture is your goal, you can expect to reap numerous benefits, including a more productive, loyal, and trustworthy workforce, in addition to enjoying a thriving culture of teamwork.

Creating a company culture centered around teamwork is not an overly complicated task. It requires establishing a system that both demonstrates and recognizes the performance and contributions of individuals within a group setting. Furthermore, employees must be able to recognize the consequences of poor teamwork and ensure that each member takes responsibility for the team’s achievements.

Solicit Employee Feedback

Throughout our discussion here, we’ve examined ways a company can leverage a positive company culture. Many of these efforts have focused on actions the company can take to ensure its employees are content and can work together harmoniously. It’s crucial to acknowledge that employees are dynamic, and they may have insights on what would make them sufficiently satisfied to support a chosen culture within the organization.

Soliciting employee feedback is a critical strategy for an organization to understand the needs and concerns of its workforce. A company culture, while a somewhat abstract concept, requires the concrete contributions of employees to improve. It involves more than simply informing employees about the culture and leading by example.

The value of employee feedback cannot be overstated, particularly when a company aims to assess its culture. Today, diagnostic tools are available to every organization and are capable of collecting feedback in real time. Regularly understanding the individual needs and concerns of employees offers insights into the recurring themes that characterize the state of a company’s culture.

A well-organized company begins by setting targets and goals for all its business endeavors. Similarly, effort should be applied to establishing a desired company culture—one that is clear and measurable.

A company’s culture can be defined by its values, vision, and current reality. Defining the company’s culture provides a basis for the organization to understand how employees feel about this culture and how they can best contribute to its enhancement.

There are various methods to create feedback loops and act on employee suggestions in a company aiming to improve its culture. For feedback to be freely and fearlessly given, a company must embrace it wholeheartedly. Creating a climate of trust is also vital, necessitating a framework that encourages open and honest expression.

Continuous Improvement and Adaptability

After an organization establishes its own company culture, the next step is to ensure its continuous improvement and sustainability within the company. Some of the ways to improve your company culture include investing in employee feedback mechanisms, team-building activities, wellness programs, and progressive initiatives.

A culture that can outlast the organization itself requires continuous improvement. This involves an ongoing commitment to investing in efforts that maximize employee well-being and sustain the benefits of a positive company culture.

Another critical aspect of improving your company culture involves cultivating an adaptability mindset within the company. For example, the organization should promote a collective mindset that not only anticipates change but actively pursues it.

The company’s environment should empower employees to experiment, voice their opinions, and even embrace failure without fear. This openness is essential for maintaining a positive culture, obviating the need to repeatedly address the same issues in its development.

Enhance Your Company Culture Today

Investing in team-building and wellness programs is crucial, but finding sustainable ways to cultivate a culture of teamwork and innovation often requires a deeper level of expertise. At Pollack Peacebuilding, we specialize in communication workshops, dedicating ourselves to improving human morale, employee engagement, and emotional health. The cornerstone of our service is enhancing organizational effectiveness, ensuring your company not only thrives but leads in its industry.

By partnering with us, your organization can unlock the full potential of its workforce, creating a thriving, collaborative, and emotionally healthy work environment. Let’s work together to transform your company culture into one that’s envied by others and loved by your employees. Ready to take the first step toward a transformative company culture? Contact us today. We’re eager to discuss how our expertise in workplace culture enhancement can benefit your organization. Let’s build a brighter, more collaborative future together.

Jeremy Pollack

Jeremy Pollack is the Founder and CEO of Pollack Peacebuilding Systems.

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