Every leader wants to cultivate a company culture with “something special” — that perfect combination of factors to keep employees enthusiastic and engaged in their work and corporate community.
But what factors create a truly great place to work?
In today’s work environment, there’s a great deal of discussion about what actually makes one workplace better than another, and what keeps employees happy to show up productive and motivated every day. (Psst ... and it isn't a full snack pantry or a foosball table.)
Rather, creating a great place to work requires a thoughtful balance of supportive management, career development, and meaningfulness.
Here are four key elements that contribute to an exceptional culture at your organization:
1. A clear vision and identity
A vision statement describes the future state of a company; it defines what an organization hopes to become in the future, and is a long-term goal that provides direction. A clear vision also communicates a company's purpose to employees and other stakeholders, and provides inspiration to achieve that purpose.
The vision statement of any company should be tied to achievable goals for the employees. This way, it becomes a part of the day-to-day activities of all team members.
Take the online retailer Zappos, for example. Since it launched, the company's mission has been to give the best customer service possible. By communicating this core value to its employees, customer experience is ingrained in daily work and becomes a primary goal shared by all employees.
Identity, on the other hand is about the day-to-day culture of a company, as well as its public image. Notably, it’s the companies who empower their employees to be a part of building the company culture and identity who end up being among the best places to work.
2. A culture of open communication
Open communication allows your employees to be more engaged and understand that what they do matters in the success of the business. Fostering a sense of open communication empowers your employees to express themselves, make suggestions, be more creative, and play a larger role in making decisions.
Effective communication may seem simple, but it takes effort. Management should consistently communicate their goals as well of those of the company with their employees. Routinely talking with your workforce about their goals, both personal and professional, ensures accountability for both management and employees. In order to effectively maintain employee-manager dialogues, be sure to use regularly schedule time throughout the year to discuss performance, goals, achievements, and notes from previous check-ins.
Beyond work-centered communication, leadership should also listen to employees’ values. This way they can make sure employee needs are being met. With Visit.org, corporate social responsibility professionals can track the impact areas that interest individual employees in order to customize social impact experiences.
Opening such lines of communication leads to greater job satisfaction, reduced stress, higher participation, and loyalty throughout the organization.
3. Demonstrable employee appreciation
A well-implemented employee recognition program can impact many aspects of a business, including engagement, turnover, productivity, morale, and purpose.
However, poorly-implemented employee recognition programs can have the opposite effect, They can decrease motivation and even push good employees away.
The good news: Recognition can come in many forms. Whether it be a monetary stipend, recognition in a company-wide email, or even a group gathering (such as a lunch and learn or happy hour), there are a number of ways to show employees appreciation.
One of the growing ways to do that is to offer employees paid time off to volunteer for a nonprofit or impact area they care about. Similarly, some companies leverage social impact experiences as a reward, such as a course in American sign language, or a cooking class that can support food-insecure families.
There are even ways of showing recognition that already fit seamlessly into a company’s plan for their employees, such as management training programs, invitations to attend relevant conferences, online learning courses, and more.
When employees feel they are appreciated in the workplace, companies can reap the benefits of a more educated, better-trained, more socially-conscious workforce.
4. Commitment to corporate social responsibility
Employees tend to be happier at and more loyal to companies that are socially responsible.
Businesses with a robust corporate social responsibility strategy are becoming more important to improve employee participation and job satisfaction. According to a recent Gartner study, employees experience improved engagement after witnessing employer involvement in societal issues.
Organizations that align themselves with making their community a better place provide their employees with a sense of deeper meaning at their jobs. This instills the value in your workforce to not only work for the success of the organization, but also for the betterment of society.
With Visit.org, human resources and CSR leaders can offer a global inventory of purposeful team-building activities — showing the company’s commitment to social responsibility, and their appreciation of employees.
Building a better workplace starts with social impact
Transforming your organization into a great place to work starts with setting goals for your organization’s culture and then collaborating with your employees to refine and achieve those goals.
Most importantly, realize that enthusiasm, motivation, and loyalty happens when employees feel genuinely heard, valued, and empowered to bring their whole selves to the workplace. Taking these factors into consideration will help you become an organization with an exceptional company culture.
Reach out to our team to learn how Visit.org can help your company improve employee engagement with social impact experiences.