How to Build Company Culture and Create a Workplace Community

If you think that corporate culture is something that’s not worth investing time, money, and resources in, consider the cost of high employee turnover rates. Building company culture is a win for both the employee and the company!

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A company's culture is the healthy heartbeat of an organization, and one symptom of an unhealthy company culture is low employee engagement.

It’s no surprise that employee disengagement can be damaging to an organization, however remedying it often gets put on the back burner for more “immediate” and tangible issues at hand. 

The cost of a lackluster company culture

In its studies, Gallup has identified 3 types of employee engagement levels:

  • Engaged
  • Disengaged
  • Actively disengaged

We interviewed Kris Boesch, the CEO of Choose People, to get her expertise on how to build a strong culture and bolt down that revolving door to boost employee retention.

According to Kris, 17% of employees are actively disengaged in the average workplace. This means that employees aren’t just unhappy, they’re making their unhappiness known and undermining the hard work of their engaged teammates. 

But while an actively disengaged employee may demonstrate the obvious and easy-to-spot characteristics such as lack of initiative, enthusiasm, and responsibility, a disengaged employee can be just as harmful to your company. In some ways, simply disengaged employees present a tougher situation, since “more than half of the people in an average organization are unhappy, whether it shows outwardly or not” - meaning you might not even know that these employees are disengaged! In the most serious cases, disengaged employees will express their dissatisfaction by leaving. 

An overwhelming 79% of former employees cite "lack of appreciation" as their reason for quitting.
Source: Forbes

This happens more often than you’d think, as 79% of former employees cite “lack of appreciation” as their reason for quitting. 

Don’t settle for average! Developing a strong remote work culture can get to the root of the problem, but is an ongoing effort that requires really taking the time to get to know each employee and their specific background, interests, passions, and needs. 👩🏾‍💼👩‍💼👨‍💼

If you want to get started with some data, Choose People offers a free Employee Engagement Calculator that enables you to measure the ROI of your happy/unhappy employees. 

So, how can you create a good company culture where employees feel supported and encouraged long past the hiring process, are genuinely excited to be there, and can thrive? 

First, let's talk about what that positive culture looks like.

5 signs of a strong company culture

What exactly does a company stand to gain by building a positive work environment and good workplace culture?

  1. Employee Retention: When employee engagement is high, and staff feels in line with the company’s mission statement, they are likely to stay around for longer. This fosters a deep connection between employees and makes for a better, more productive output of work.
  1. Job satisfaction: Job satisfaction is an important factor in helping employees find a healthy work/life balance and avoid burnout.
  2. Employee morale: Positive company culture means happier employees. This, as a benefit to your company, means team members being more engaged in their jobs with a higher quality of work.
  1. Work performance: Speaking of higher quality of work, a positive company culture will improve employee performance overall.
  1. Collaboration: The best ideas and initiatives and ideas are born out of strong collaboration. When your organizational culture rewards and encourages collaboration, everyone wins.

Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of building company culture, let’s get into the “how.” Spoiler: it’s not as complicated as it may seem.

5 ways to build your workplace community

So, your company has started to talk the talk. How do you walk the walk? Read on to learn how to make a workplace community a reality.

If you approach someone who feels at-peace in their career, you will find that they have high levels of trust in their employer and are proud to be a part of the company culture. 

You might also find that:

  • They feel clear on what's expected of their role and what work is required to grow in their career. Because employees feel confident in this knowledge, they remain engaged in the work.
  • The mission of the organization resonates with their values and they feel proud to be associated with it.
  • Their supervisors trust their judgment and vice versa. They feel empowered to share ideas, concerns, and questions. In return, they feel much more inclined to listen to their supervisors.
  • They have open communication with both their own team and other departments.
  • They’re not made to feel embarrassed or burdensome for asking a question or sharing a suggestion. They even have the energy to return the favor to employees in other departments.
  • They like their job so much that they actually encourage trusted friends and former co-workers to apply.

The difference between the people who are completely satisfied in their career and the people who are looking for a new position is trust and respect. Those who find that they don’t trust their team leaders or organization are often the first to be on the job market.

5 ways to build your workplace community

1. Have core company values that reflect your culture 🪞

As a company, it’s important to be clear as to what are non-negotiable values and what are aspirational values. Employees can, in turn, decide which company values are non-negotiable for themselves. 

For example, if diversity is a non-negotiable for someone looking for a new job, they will look for companies that have that woven into their core values.

Core values shouldn’t just be what’s printed on the posters in the break room. If open communication is a core value of a company, this should be evident to the stakeholders, customers, and employees. There should also be a plan in place for how the company moves forward after it has not honored one of its core values.

Here are a few tips for shaping your values:

  • Be specific
  • Brainstorm with team members
  • Consider your audience
  • Allow your mission to define your values
  • Be authentic
  • Incorporate your core values into every part of the company

‍If you find that your company has made a mistake or lost track of its core values, don’t feel ashamed. This is a natural part of growth. The best thing you can do is refocus on your mission and vision with your team and make sure that your core values are reflected moving forward.

2. Build trust in the workplace 🤝

Employees who feel like they can trust their team are more likely to demonstrate initiative and loyalty. And while it’s true that trust is earned, there are a few things that you can do to earn it from all of your employees:

  • Listen more than you speak
  • Take criticism and show that you’ve learned from it
  • Be consistent
  • Be transparent

3. Create meaningful work relationships 👯

Employees who have formed meaningful workplace relationships have greater longevity within the company, are better collaborators, and improve overall company productivity. 

‍When it comes to forming the kinds of work relationships that create a positive impact, consider the following:

  • Know when to ask for help. Accept help when it is offered.
  • Keep your commitments.
  • Ask questions from a place of curiosity. Listen to the answers.
  • Appreciate each individual team member.
  • Set aside intentional time to get to know other employees.

‍Whether your workplace is remote, hybrid, or comprised of employees who value their free time, having the option to engage with other members of the team in enjoyable ways is a huge advantage. 

‍At Confetti, we make team building easy (and a lot more fun) with our virtual team building activities.

4. Motivate your employees 🙌

Great company culture is more than weekly happy hours and games. If there isn’t already a feeling of a positive work environment where camaraderie is embedded in the company's core values, then remote team activities can certainly feel like a chore. 

Management’s job is to help employees self-actualize through work and to understand why their efforts are meaningful, needed, and appreciated within the bigger picture of the company. Employers should be connecting with their employees and asking: 

  • If they don’t love their job as a whole, what parts of their work do they enjoy? 
  • Are there ways that we can expand those aspects? 
  • Are there better-suited roles for them within the company? 

Leaders and managers are there to motivate their employees, and to help them discover and work towards these goals (whether their aspirations might align with their current organization or another one). 

A fun way to engage remote workers is through a “show and tell passion project,” where people can have the opportunity to share their outside interests and hobbies and connect with coworkers who share similar interests. Even if employees don’t love what Kris calls “the work of the work,” many other aspects go into the work experience, like the people on your team. As an employer, focus on the aspects that you do have the ability to impact, and these effects will likely show up in other places. 

Kris says that while you cannot force employees to care about their jobs, you can create a culture in which it is possible for them to be happy and high-performing. Kris describes culture as the context within which your people work. As she says, "It's the air your team breathes while running your marathon."  That air can be toxic or invigorating.

5. Build an inclusive work environment 🧩

If diversity is about who’s at the table, inclusion means that everyone has something that they can eat. To make inclusion a reality in the workplace, you will want to focus on:

  • Celebrating employees’ differences.
  • Have we mentioned listening yet? Listen to employees!
  • Communicate your company’s goals surrounding inclusion and report on progress often.

Keep in mind that people have different ways of communicating and interacting. For team members who prefer to keep it more professional and less emotional, you can still maintain a sense of care, inclusion, and belonging, while being aware of those boundaries.

The Confetti culture

Creating a company culture that means that employees want to clock in each day takes work. Companies that invest in creating a workplace built on trust, shared values, and mutual respect can expect a happier, healthier, and more productive output and employee experience.

At Confetti, we want to help you find the best way to align your team building initiatives with your values, culture, and growth. Although we always offer you the opportunity to book an event in 5 minutes or less, we’re also here to talk. 

If you want to learn how to boost company culture through shared experience, reach out to [email protected] today!

Navigating the Workplace Revolution: Company Culture in a Distributed Workforce

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can organizations effectively align their company's values with their company culture? 

Aligning company values with a great company culture requires intentional effort and alignment at every level of the organization. This involves:

- Clearly defining and communicating the company values
- Integrating them into all aspects of operations and decision-making
- Fostering behaviors and attitudes that reflect those values

To maintain a thriving company culture lead by example, recognize employees, and reward behaviors that align with the values. Regularly revisit and revise the values to ensure relevance and continued alignment with company goals.

What are some different types of company cultures?

Company cultures can vary based on industry, size, leadership style, and organizational goals. Some common types of company cultures include:

1. Innovative Culture: This culture champions creativity, experimentation, and risk-taking. Employees are empowered to generate new ideas, explore unconventional solutions, and drive innovation within the organization.
2. Collaborative Culture: This culture values teamwork and communication. Employees work together effectively, share knowledge and resources, and support one another to achieve common goals.
3. Results-Driven Culture: This culture prioritizes accountability, performance, and achieving measurable outcomes. Employees are motivated to set ambitious goals, take ownership of their work, and deliver tangible results that contribute to the organization's success.
4. Adaptive Culture: An adaptive culture embraces flexibility, resilience, and agility in response to change and uncertainty. Employees are encouraged to adapt quickly to new challenges, embrace innovation, and continuously learn and grow to thrive in evolving environments.

What are the signs of a toxic company culture?

Recognizing the signs of a toxic company culture is crucial for maintaining a healthy work environment. Here are some key indicators to watch out for:

- Lack of transparency
- High turnover rates
- Micromanagement
- Unhealthy competition
- Lack of work-life balance
- Fear-based leadership
- Resistance to change or feedback
- Discrimination or harassment

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