Great company culture can be hard to define, but you know it when you feel it. There’s a certain atmosphere at companies with great cultures – a feeling that anything is possible.
These are companies where people love coming to work every day, where they believe in the mission and values of the organisation, and where they feel like they are part of something larger than themselves.
A new company culture survey has shed some light on the state of company culture in the UK and the results are quite interesting.
1. Hire for fit, not just for skills
When you’re hiring new employees, look for people who share your company’s values and who will fit in with your existing culture. It’s no coincidence that companies with great cultures also have great customer service. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to go the extra mile for customers.
The best way to do this is to create a detailed job description that includes not only the skills and experience you’re looking for but also the personal qualities and attributes you value.
When you’re interviewing candidates, take the time to assess whether they would be a good cultural fit for your organisation. Ask questions about their customer service philosophy and how they would handle difficult customer service situations.
The more you can learn about a candidate’s personal goals and aspirations, the better you’ll be able to gauge whether they’ll be a good fit for your company. Without a good cultural fit, even the most skilled employees will probably leave – taking their expertise with them.
In fact, more than 90% of employees revealed they would want to leave their existing position if their company culture did not align with their expectations. Also, when looking for a new role, 80% of male employees listed company culture as one of the most important priorities for job seeking.
2. Make sure your mission and values are more than just words on a wall
Company culture is driven by the actions of leaders and employees, not just by posters in the break room. If you want your company culture to be more than just lip service, you need to make sure your mission and values are reflected in everything you do.
This starts with setting the right tone at the top. Leaders need to model the behaviour they expect from employees. If you want your team to be passionate and customer-centric, you need to show them what that looks like in action.
Your mission and values should also be woven into your job listings. When potential candidates see that your company’s values align with their own, they’ll be more likely to apply – and more likely to stick around if they’re hired.
And, make sure you have systems and processes in place that reinforce your company culture. For example, if one of your values is “customer first,” make sure your customer service team has the authority to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy.
3. Encourage transparency and open communication
Companies with great cultures are built on trust. Employees need to feel like they can be open and honest with each other – and with leaders – without fear of reprisal.
When a customer has a problem, the last thing they want is to be shuffled around from department to department with no one taking responsibility for solving the issue. The same is true of employees. They need to feel like their concerns will be heard and addressed in a timely manner.
Encouraging transparency and open communication start with creating an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up. This could mean setting up an anonymous feedback system, hosting regular town halls, or simply making it a point to check in with employees regularly.
It also means being open and honest with employees about the state of the business. If there are challenges, share them. And if there are successes, make sure everyone knows about them too.
4. Promote a healthy work-life balance
In today’s 24/7 world, it’s easy to burn out. When people feel like they have to choose between their job and their personal life, it’s a recipe for disaster.
It starts with setting expectations. If you want your employees to be passionate and engaged, you need to give them the time and space to recharge outside of work. Customer service is a people business, and people can’t perform at their best when they’re running on empty.
It’s also important to provide employees with the tools and resources they need to do their job effectively – without having to put in extra hours. This could mean things like flexible work schedules, or remote working options. From the aforementioned company culture survey, more than 40% of employees work in hybrid positions, equally splitting their time between working from home and in-office visits.
Even after pandemic restrictions are lifted, many employees will appreciate the option to continue working from home at least part of the time. And, studies have shown that employees who have a good work-life balance are more productive and engaged.
5. Invest in employee development
The best companies are always looking for ways to improve. They encourage employees to stretch themselves and take on new challenges. They provide opportunities for employees to learn and grow. And they recognise and reward employees for their efforts.
In customer service, essentials skill such as active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution can be learned – but they need to be practised to be perfected. That’s why it’s so important to provide employees with opportunities to develop their skills.
This could come as online training courses, on-the-job coaching, or even sending employees to industry conferences.
Besides investing in employee development, it’s also important to invest in the tools and resources employees need to do their job. This could mean things like state-of-the-art customer service software, or sophisticated call centre equipment.
Creating a great company culture doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, effort, and commitment. But it’s worth it. A great company culture attracts and retains the best employees. It boosts morale and productivity. And it makes your company a more enjoyable place to work.
The company culture survey was created by OKR training consultants There Be Giants.