For the last few decades, what most employees considered a “good job” was one which had security and benefits. Basically, you weren’t on deck to be laid off and you could sufficiently provide for you and your family.
As older employees subscribing to this idea begin to retire, the 54 million (and counting) members of the rising “millennial” workforce are beginning to cause changes in the workplace. While security and benefits are nice, these younger employees are working within a prosperous economy which removes the fear of mass layoffs. There is no desperate desire for compensation. There is, however, a desire for strong company culture.
It’s easier to define company culture by what it isn’t. It isn’t bought, faked, or forced. Companies can line their offices with all the bean bag chairs, arcade machines and “atmosphere” in the world, but if employees can’t talk to their boss like a friend then it’s useless. A company outing sounds fun, but if your employees are too afraid to stop working or barely know each other, you’re in for an awkward time.
Company culture is something that organically happens when the chemistry is right. All personalities need to mesh. No hotheads, weirdos or one-man teams allowed. There’s enough flexibility to allow time on other projects and have a healthy life outside of work. Employees enjoy what they’re doing, feel confident in their future and, most importantly, believe in the company and its leadership.
It may sound complex, but it’s not. In fact, these are just a few of the ways you can begin quickly improving your own company culture:
A quiet room is the easiest to fill with rumors. Talk about what’s going on in the company, how business is going and give employees of all levels the chance to have input. The most crucial part of this is making it easy. Modern tools like Slack and other group chat services leave you just clicks away from transparency that doesn’t even take time out of their day.
Recognize Great Work
We’ve all been somewhere that could care less about how hard we work, and there’s a decent chance that was not a long or happy stay. You don’t need to throw a parade, but letting them know you appreciate when they go above and beyond will not only make them happier, it will make them continue to produce great results.
The days of management lording over their employee underlings is long gone. You should almost think of your employees as friends. Get to know them and spend time with them beyond what you’re required to. Better, friendlier relationships make teamwork a breeze and reduce stress in the workplace.
The most important thing to remember about shaping company culture is that the process must start from a place of authenticity. In order for it to be a powerful force in your organization, someone has to actually care about the well-being of their employees.
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