Company culture affects every aspect of an organisation. Whether you need to hire the right people or improve employee engagement, it is literally the backbone of an organisation. Without the right culture, employees are going to be disengaged, employee turnover will be high, top performers will not want to join and the bottom line will be affected. Research from Deloitte has also shown that 88% of employees and 94% of business leaders consider a distinct culture important to a business’s success. It is no surprise that the organisations that are rated as “the best places to work” are so successful. Quite simply, happy employees are productive employees. So how can you ensure your company has a positive culture that engages employees?

Use the current culture as your starting point

As a simple rule, before you start designing where you want your company culture to go, you must first understand where your company culture is. It is impossible to expect any group of humans to automatically change their behaviour on Monday, just because you have decided that the company now has climate change awareness as a key element of its culture and you ban plastic from the office. Someone is still going to be using plastic on Monday. Even worse, if your employee demographic actually means that most people in the office do not care about being green, not only are they not going to comply, they are likely to choose to leave. So before changing the culture, it is vital to audit what the current employee base actually values. Once you have this baseline, you should be able to see strengths that can already be built on, and areas you would like to change. It is important when trying to change that you expect your employees to go from 0 to 10 to 20… you cannot just expect on Monday every will be 100% onboard with a brand-new culture. Humans are not wired that way.

Employee wellness is key

If you want to have a positive culture, you need to have healthy employees. This should be obvious, but far too many organisations get this wrong. If you employees are not well physically, mentally, or emotionally, the culture is going to be affected. If you want a positive and supportive culture, but all of your employees are overworked and stressed, this is not going to result in a positive and supportive culture. People are going to be tired and cranky and likely to interact accordingly. If you want your culture to be a culture of high performance and innovation, but managers blame employees for any mistake, you are not going to have the desire culture. Employees wont risk trying something new for fear of being blamed and fired. By creating a positive environment where employees are healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally a positive culture will naturally follow.

Listen to your employees

Finally, it is incredibly important to listen to your employees. If your employees are consistently telling you that something needs to be improved or changed you need to fix it. If employees feel they are not listened to then they are going to become disengaged. It is a pretty simple concept, but one very few seem to grasp. If you want to have a positive culture where employees feel valued and happy and perform better, an employee must feel that they are valued. In any relationship if you just refuse to listen to the other person and just dictate how things will be, that relationship is not going to last.