This post was originally published in July 2019. It was updated to include new data about how to cultivate a work culture and engage employees in August 2021.
In today’s workplace, company culture is a major factor in attracting and retaining employees, and a lot of companies are working to cultivate a work culture that stands out against the more traditional workplaces and appeals to newer generations. Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, and Generation Z’s impact also continues to grow. As their numbers grow, so too does the complexity of managing across multiple generations in a way that engages employees and resonates throughout the current and future workforce.
For work culture inspiration, a lot of companies try to mimic workplaces like Netflix, Google, and Zappos, which have reputations for their exciting, fast-paced work environments. Consider, however, that their models may not work for companies in different industries, regions, or those with smaller budgets.
Instead, approach your company culture by thinking about your unique business goals and values and how you can attract and retain employees who have the same values and will add to the company culture. Employees who share your values also share a strong sense of purpose, driving their engagement and motivation levels.
What can you do that would make your employee engagement and work culture unique, but still stay true to who you are as a company? What is it that highly engaged workplaces have in common that’s missing from your employee engagement strategy? We’ve compiled six strategies that a highly engaged workforce implements in order to stay authentic to the brand and employees alike.Employees are more engaged when #CompanyValues and goals are aligned with theirs. Check out @ClearCompany’s latest post and discover 6 ways to help engage your employees:
1. Align Company and Employee Values
When interviewing a candidate, ask yourself, is this candidate a good culture fit for my company? Are they a culture add, someone who brings in a new perspective that’s currently missing from your organization? You can train anyone on job skills, but it’s much harder to instill a sense of purpose or a set of values in a new employee. It’s imperative that companies and employees have shared values and that the employee doesn’t just fit in, but brings something to the table at your company.
When it comes to how to engage employees most effectively, company values also play a big part. Employees who are well-versed in company values are more engaged overall. Employees who understand company values understand what they are there to represent within the organization’s employee culture and brand.
So, where do you display your values? Do you discuss them with candidates? Do they play a part in how you cultivate work culture? Are they listed on the website, in the lunchroom, or on company swag? Values should be far more than just words kept in a binder somewhere.
Make sure your employees understand your company values with these steps:
- Define your values: Clearly outline what your values are and what they mean. Go beyond the bumper sticker to ensure you can provide examples of your values in action within your organization.
- Add values to your performance conversations: Don’t just put your values on a poster in the breakroom and leave it at that. Discuss how your employees are demonstrating values in their performance, and how those values matter and contribute to individual success.
- Put your values on the website: Make your values known to your employees before they even apply. Placing your priorities front and center will help attract candidates who hold similar values and want to be a part of what you’re doing.
- Add important values to your employee email signatures: Are there 2-3 values that really mean something to your company? Add those to email signatures. This simple reminder keeps values top-of-mind for everyone at your organization. As an added bonus, clients can easily see your values and find common ground there, too.
2. Foster Positive Relationships
A great way to increase employee engagement is to be intentional about helping employees connect with their coworkers and build relationships. People with a friend at work are 7x more likely to engage fully in their work. A relaxed atmosphere where employees can step away from their desks and engage in a casual way helps cultivate a work culture of respect and camaraderie.
Many managers don’t realize the importance of internal relationships. Building these relationships can be challenging, even more so when teams are remote, so here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Start a company-wide book club. This is something that works whether you’re all in the same office or spread across the country. Whether you choose business books or popular fiction, your employees can use the same technology they use during the day to connect on things not work-related. Open a Slack channel for discussions and host virtual book club meetings on Zoom.
- Offer volunteer opportunities. Social responsibility is one of the best things a company can do for its employees’ well-being and engagement levels. Working together to build a house, serve a meal, weed a garden, or connect with an underserved community not only brings people together but also gives back to the area where you live and work.
- Plan regular outings. Company outings offer a chance for new interpersonal connections, and they’re an easy way to facilitate interactions outside of the conference room. If possible, host company-wide or departmental outings on a regular or semi-regular basis where employees have a chance to spend time getting to know each other.
- Connect with remote employees. Virtual teams can bond by setting intentional one-on-one or team-building meetings. Remote workplaces can also make a point of offering employees opportunities to connect on a more personal level, like interest-based Slack channels.
3. Invest In Your Employees
A fundamental part of creating an engaging work environment and cultivating a work culture is making it clear to your employees that management cares about them and their future. Be transparent about developments happening within the business. That will help foster an environment where employees feel trusted and valued and can see their connection to business success.
You can also show your employees that you value them by investing in their individual development. Assign them to mentors who can help them meet their goals, build out performance plans to help them gain skills and earn promotions, and provide managers with performance evaluation tools for an unbiased review process.
Ask your employees what they need to be successful, and what they plan to accomplish in their careers. When you put their future as a priority, they know you’re investing in them for the long term, not just the company’s immediate needs.How can your #CompanyCulture contribute to #EmployeeEngagement? Try these 6 strategies for culture and engagement from @ClearCompany:
4. Recognize Accomplishments
Employee recognition is a low-cost, high-impact strategy to boost engagement. An employee wants to know that when they’ve put in their best effort, someone notices and lets others know, too. One study found that making recognition a big part of work culture was four times more likely to produce a highly engaged workforce.
Consider what kind of recognition your employees respond well to; whether it be rewards and bonuses, private praise, or public shout-outs at meetings or in Slack channels. It can be as simple as their manager directly informing them of a job well done or praise from a peer in an email. The important thing is that you demonstrate that you see your employees and appreciate the work they do. These accomplishments can also be reflected in performance reviews and help employees feel further recognized and appreciated.
5. Foster Employee Pride and Trust
Engaged employees can see how they are contributing to the success of the company and as a result, they take more pride in their work. Transparency around company performance and goals also create trust, another essential element of an engaged workforce.
Use a system that visualizes and tracks goal alignment to increase employee engagement by increasing transparency and helping employees see how their efforts and work fit into the company as a whole. Goal alignment helps everyone from entry-level to C-Suite understand how their place fits into the organization. Instead of feeling like a cog in the machine, employees can see exactly how their work brings value and how they help cultivate work culture.
6. Get Employee Feedback
We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating — employees who feel that they’re being listened to at work are 4.6x more likely to feel empowered to do their role. Asking for feedback helps employees feel more connected to their goals and helps to cultivate a work culture in which people feel valued. It also helps managers give more accurate, constructive feedback to their team members.Reduce turnover and increase #EmployeeEngagement with regular feedback. Check out 6 ways to cultivate #WorkCulture and increase engagement from @ClearCompany:
A regular feedback loop has positive effects on employees and managers and can reduce turnover by up to 14.9%. It’s a valuable tool not only to retain employees but to help keep them engaged with and interested in their roles. You can use employee engagement surveys to gather that feedback easily and anonymously. Then, use the results to start conversations and make changes that have a positive impact on company culture and engagement.
Did you know? A regular feedback loop has positive effects on employees and managers and can reduce turnover by up to 14.9%.
ClearCompany helps provide structure and organization to the process of building your company culture around engagement with valuable Employee Engagement tools. Get a custom tour of our award-winning Talent Management Platform to see how you can go beyond employee management to creating a thriving, engaged work culture. Sign up for a demo with our experts today.
As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent thousands of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.