Culture is embedded in all aspects of our daily lives – both personally and professionally. But what happens when societal culture (often reserved for our personal lives) seeps into work environments?
Depending on your industry, a cross-over of cultural norms in the workplace might be commonplace, but for other organizations, this “new world of work” can be jarring, especially if you aren’t prepared. To help you support your teams and show up where (and when) they need you, we put together a list of initiatives you can incorporate today to ensure your culture is healthy in 2023 and beyond.
The evolution of workplace culture
Much like historical events of the past, we will remember this unique moment in time for years to come. Covid upended all sense of normalcy for billions of people across the world, but it is the events since that have defined the way we work in the face of uncertainty. Over the last few years, culture has shifted from something we talked about at the water cooler to becoming ingrained in everything we do.
These cultural shifts include:
- Providing remote/hybrid work
- Upgraded DEI initiatives
- Emphasis on work/life integration
- Greater awareness and support for mental health
- And so much more
While none of these topics are new, we are witnessing an overdue surge of employees wanting (even demanding) a better way to work. How we respond to these wants and demands is the first step in understanding the needs of employees.
Culture and inclusion for modern employees – where do you stand?
In our personal lives, culture influences how we view, understand, and interact with our environments. In the workplace, culture guides how employees interact with one another, how decisions are made, how information is shared (or not) across the company, and how conflict is handled. Organizational culture plays a huge role in whether or not someone stays and thrives or is unhappy and decides to leave.
So why does company culture matter? Company culture has a direct correlation to overall employee experience. A well-defined culture strategy will help your org:
- Clarify organizational mission, value, and identity
- Interpret value, ethics and advocacy positioning
- Attract and retain quality talent
- Set expectations for employee conduct
- Provide a sense of belonging and well-being
- Increase productivity
- Strengthen employee buy-in
- And so much more
To get a firm grasp on where your org’s current culture stands in the eyes of employees, you can take small but impactful steps to gauge your teams' engagement and the health of your culture.
- Feedback (assess where your company stands in the minds of employees)
This one is straight forward. Talk to your employees and listen to what they have to say. Whether your method of getting feedback consists of a pulse survey, engagement survey, focus groups or traditional one on one’s, initiating a safe space for honest feedback without bias is key. Ensure your employees are comfortable with giving/receiving feedback by fostering an environment of open communication. You can jumpstart a culture of honest feedback by incorporating methods such as:
- A how-to session on giving and receiving constructive feedback
- Incorporating surveys as a method of gathering honest feedback
- Rearticulate values
If you haven’t checked in on your mission or values lately, now is the time to do so. Just as your organization evolves to incorporate emerging tech or new strategies, your company culture should also evolve. Does your mission statement still hold true? If not, it’s time to update. This is a great opportunity for leadership to redefine the values your organization stands for and is committed to upholding.
- Strengthen connections
To create true value and employee buy-in, honest conversations need to be commonplace. A successful strategy toward strengthening employee connections can be established whether your teams are in-person, remote or hybrid. Schedule regularly occurring meetings, whether monthly or quarterly, to check in with your employees. On the flip side, transparency works both ways. Be sure to keep your employees abreast of company and client updates. Employees should hear relevant company news straight from the source, not third parties.
- New ways to bring the team together
To create an inclusive environment for your teams to thrive, consider the following tactics:
- Set team goals - When employees are included in the development and execution of team goals, they feel a sense of value and ownership for the task at hand.
- Foster creativity - Encouraging your employees to partake in creative exercises such as walk-and-talk meetings, lunch n’ learns, and even journaling can spark both curiosity and innovation in the workplace.
- Create bonding opportunities - With a growing number of employees turning toward hybrid and remote work, it is important to create opportunities for connection. There are many ways to incorporate team bonding for remote and hybrid teams such as: specialized channels for sharing favorite songs or recipes, book clubs, virtual escape rooms, and online team games.
- Show gratitude - Showing gratitude makes employees feel valued for their time and work. This one can be as simple as saying “thank you” in a one-on-one meeting or giving a shout out to the team in an all-hands meeting.
The perfect time to start is now
While you might find yourself looking for the perfect time to gauge and strengthen your company’s culture, there is no better time than right now! The sooner you develop a plan to garner honest feedback, the sooner you can create the positive change employees want to see. When employees feel seen and valued in the workplace, they are far more likely to produce meaningful results, collaborate well with others and stay and grow with your company.
At Denali, we know what it takes to build a strong workplace. For help creating the blueprint to your company culture, visit https://www.denalifc.com/human-resources. We would love to talk.