A strong company culture can make a major difference in an organization’s success. However, the ideal culture at one company may not necessarily be right for another. To some degree, your culture should be unique to your organization.
That said, there are certain general elements that are desirable in just about any organization. For example, most would agree that every company’s culture should make team members feel appreciated and recognized.
Most of those general aspects of a positive organizational culture are fairly well-known. However, some qualities that all organizations could benefit from are easier to overlook. The following are three examples of important but often-overlooked ways to improve company culture to keep in mind:
1. Develop Employees’ Financial Literacy
Employees are more likely to be engaged when they’re happy, and engaged employees are also more likely to be productive and innovative. However, employees’ happiness at work isn’t the only factor contributing to their engagement. Other factors can also influence their on-the-job engagement.
For example, if employees are stressed about money problems, it may be more difficult for them to focus on their work. Because their jobs are likely their most significant sources of income, it is important that they feel that their work is valued. One way that these can be accomplished by paying salaries that are both competitive within the industry and commensurate with employees’ experience.
It is also important to be transparent about company policies regarding raises and promotions. Make sure that promotional opportunities mentioned to employees actually exist and that the requisite trainings and experience necessary to obtain them are readily available.
However, employees should also have the opportunity to make sure that they are making knowledgeable financial choices. Offering financial literacy classes is one way to contribute to employees’ financial stability.
HR can help ensure that employees are aware of any benefits your company offers and make the appropriate choices regarding retirement, health insurance, short and long-term disability, life insurance products, and income tax withholdings during open enrollment. Some companies also find it helpful to offer more generalized information on personal finance topics like creating a budget, paying off debt, and saving for retirement.
2. Model Positive Behavior
One common goal with regards to developing a strong company culture is encouraging positive behaviors among employees. These behaviors include being accountable for one’s own behavior, acknowledging the contributions of others, managing one’s time well, communicating effectively, and being diplomatic.
That said, in many cases, leaders focus so much on managing employee behavior that they forget about the importance of their own behavior. Employees follow the examples set by their supervisors and team leaders. They also notice when their leaders are feeling to live up to their own example.
Let’s say you encourage your workers to manage their time effectively by scheduling tasks throughout the day and focusing on one task at a time. If they notice that you’re always switching tasks, they’ll have less respect for you. This can contribute to a weak company culture.
Pay attention to your own behavior. By modeling good behavior, you’ll boost the odds of your employees following your lead. You’ll also show them you practice what you preach.
3. Seek Diversity
Diversity is another element of a strong company culture. While it’s true that some companies demonstrably appreciate the value of diversity, this quality remains overlooked often enough to merit inclusion on this list. The number of companies that lack diverse workforces is proof that many are not prioritizing this element of company culture to the extent that they should.
There are numerous reasons this is the case. Sometimes, leaders may even overlook the value of diversity because they have genuinely good intentions. For example, it’s well-known that one of the keys to maintaining a strong company culture is hiring employees who have things in common with one another.
However, while hiring for fit can result in easy camaraderie in the workplace, it has drawbacks. First, it may lead to hiring employees based on personality rather than expertise. Additionally, focusing on fit can lead to hiring employees who resonate with the culture, and excluding diverse candidates as a result.
That shouldn’t happen. Diversity’s value in company culture isn’t merely theoretical. Research shows that diverse companies are more profitable, innovative, and productive than those with more homogenous workforces. The benefits of diversity in the workplace are proven, abundant, significant, and unequivocal.
Of course, none of this information is of any value if you don’t take steps to improve your culture when it needs work. That’s why it’s also important to perform regular culture audits. They’ll help you determine when you need to make positive changes. So will these tips.