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Building a Strong Company Culture: Insights from HR Experts

A strong company culture is not something that is built overnight and instead takes time, patience and input from an entire organisation. A strong company culture stems from shared goals and values, being receptive to change, creating difference and replicating behaviour between employees and leaders.

In this blog we’re going to discuss how to build a strong company culture, with tips and insights from HR experts.

What is company culture and what are the benefits of a strong one?

Every company’s culture will vary, but in a general sense, Forbes describe company culture as the “living, breathing persona of your company, capturing the norms, values and behaviours that define the very character of your business”.

As culture builds, you’ll soon see the following benefits come to fruition:

Improved employee health and wellbeing

When a company has strong values, is clear of their purpose and leads their workforce in a collaborative way, it will mirror in an employee’s behaviour and work ethic. Employee health and wellbeing will improve as individuals feel connected to the work they are doing and can see the overall impact it has to the organisation.

Increased innovation

When a workforce is motivated and engaged with their deliverables, they’ll often feel more inclined to find new and innovative ways to work. Creativity and innovation spark from feeling inspired and a strong company culture helps to create this.

Elevated productivity

What may seem like the most obvious, a strong company culture ensures employees feel comfortable in the workplace and comfortable individuals, are productive. If employees feel the values they hold are representative of the company they work for, trusted relationships build and productivity increases.

Positive retention rates

A strong company culture improves both employee satisfaction and engagement. When employees feel engaged and committed to the work they are doing, they’re more likely to remain at that company for longer.

Now you know the benefits of a strong company culture, how do you build one?

1) Listen to employee feedback

With structured feedback strategies in place, you can monitor employee satisfaction levels and help to manage issues in real time”. – Michael Page

Making space for employee feedback is vital when creating a strong company culture. Not only does this build trust, improve psychological safety and make room for collaboration, it allows you to act on employee feedback in real time. This means conflicts and issues can be solved before they become detrimental, and staff can visibly see that their feedback has been taken on board.

2) Look after your employees

Developing a culture-first mentality means focusing on employees’ total quality of life – including physical, mental, social, emotional and financial health”. – Megan M Biro \ CEO of Talent Culture.

Company culture is not only created within a company, but bleeds into all aspects of life. Individuals will spend a third of their lifetime working, which inevitably means that jobs and workplaces can significantly impact an individual’s wellbeing.

If you want your staff to champion your culture and therefore create a strong one, they must feel that their employer genuinely cares about their health, both physical and mental. This is where benefits that will actually impact an employee’s overall wellbeing come into play, such as flexible working, inclusive workplace socials, mental health assistance programmes and regular review of salary and bonus’.

3) Create space for freedom and choice

We all feel empowered when we have ownership. Then, we can create together”. – Pat Wadors \ Chief People Officer at UKG

At some point in everyone’s career, feelings of belittling or micro-managing are likely to occur. However, if this is something you are feeling consistently, then what you’re feeling is a lack of autonomy in your workplace.

Culture builds when individuals feel they have the space and support to collaborate, grow and learn. If autonomy is lacking, individuals will soon be left demotivated and uninspired. To create a strong company culture, employees need to feel as if they have the space, means and resources to develop.

4) Start with small everyday changes first

Being a culture warrior may not come in the form of organizing huge initiatives; everyday HR work can impact culture if we approach it from a culture mindset.” – Cassie Whitlock \ Director of HR at BambooHR

We previously mentioned that company culture isn’t built overnight and such environments can take months to build. So, at the beginning, it’s recommended to focus on one or two things that you can make changes with immediately and implement them.

These changes will eventually evolve into bigger initiatives, but by starting small you are providing your employees with evidence that changes are occurring.

These changes could include:

  • Weekly email updates from CEO: including things like goals and aspirations of the week creates feelings of togetherness and reminds employees that everyone is on the same journey.

  • Hosting monthly lunch and learns: carving out time and opportunity for collaboration from the top downwards shows employees that sharing and learning together is encouraged and it’s something everyone, even senior managers are involved in.

  • Making space for mental health: actions speak louder than words and employers need to provide ways for employees to tend to their mental health. Why not try monthly wellbeing days, an employee assistance programme, access to external resources and support and regular check-in points with managers?

5) Practice what you preach

Company culture starts from the top, which makes leadership style vital. To build a strong company culture, leaders must lead in the way that they would like to be led.

Leading by example could include:

  • Committing and sticking to your word: trust is the foundation of any company culture and to build trust, leaders must take realistic action and then follow through with these actions.

  • Involving your teams: there’s a lot of value in asking your teams what they require from leadership, this not only breaks down hierarchy but makes any initiatives as employee led as possible.

  • Regularly gathering feedback: creating space for input, feedback and conversations will allow for better results. Your employees should know that raising concerns is both acceptable and helpful in the long run.

6) Invest in diversity, inclusion and belonging programmes

A strong company culture is a diverse company culture, one in which all individuals feel both included and that they belong. Focus on:

  • Diverse recruitment strategies: the first interaction someone will have with your business will depend on how you recruit. So, make sure their first impression is a good one with diverse job descriptions, including diverse groups when searching for talent and making shortlisting as fair and inclusive as possible.

  • Gender and ethnicity gap reporting: regular scanning and analysing imbalances and under-representation across your business is vital when staying vigilant and on top of your DE&I practices.

  • Training and intervention: it’s important to not just “assume” that individuals will know how to practice DE&I behaviours without any proper training or guidance from their employer. As much as it’s important to employ kind, inclusive and welcoming individuals, training and continuous learning is crucial.

Why does company culture matter?

In a competitive environment, company culture acts as your differentiator. This means that over time, your culture will turn into something that is unique to you as an organisation, echoing through duties, workforce, customers and future employees.


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