Ah, workplace culture—the critical pursuit of creating an environment that fosters healthy working relationships and community among employees and clients.
In today’s evolving society, we see workplace culture discussed more and more, largely in reference to the elusive millennial’s intrinsic need to be valued. But creating a culture that is supportive and rewarding isn’t, and shouldn’t be, limited to young tech start-ups or Google-esque companies.
Have you ever encountered a great organization who had trouble keeping their talent or their clients? The essence of all organizations is derived from the character and personality of your business. Regardless of whether you have a solid business strategy and/or the best of the best products and services, if your employees aren’t at the center of your thinking day in and day out, productivity and performance will never be at its peak. And this doesn’t mean you need to have nap-pods, ball pits or even excessive perks.
So how does one build a company culture that attracts and retains employees and clients? It’s not a passive pursuit, and it can’t be forced, but there are a few key strategies you can implement if you’re ready to take your culture to the next level:
1. Define your company mission—and live by it
Exceptional company culture starts with a clearly defined purpose. The essence of your culture is derived from your organizational mission. This mission—and in turn your culture—expresses beliefs, values and expectations, all of which must align with the environment they serve. This dedication to a purpose must be lived from the top down, and then back up again to create a community working as one without walls. Give your employees ‘the why’ with core beliefs and in return they will transform aspiration into action.
2. Communication is key, so do more of it
More than that, honest and consistent communication is imperative to building trust and rapport among your team. Open the lines of communication to your employees in a way that makes them feel their ideas will be heard.
3. Show appreciation
Most important of all, you have to make your team feel truly valued. IABC Central Oklahoma recently had the privilege of hosting Diana Rogers-Jaeger, owner of Love to Appreciate Consulting, for a monthly luncheon. Diana’s presentation centered around creating a culture of appreciation that leads to increased productivity, retention and morale. It was a valuable professional development topic that explored the various ways to build loyalty through the five love languages. If building workplace culture is important to your mission, I highly recommend having a session with her.
The best workplaces and company cultures come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no one-size-fits-all workaround. Your business and its culture is an intricate clock with many working components that must work together in harmony. If your organizational leadership and team members can find and maintain this harmonic balance, you’ll see performance, job satisfaction and retention rise.
Chloé Gee works as Director of Timelines at T&S Online Marketing, a digital marketing firm in the Oklahoma City metro area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in strategic communications with a minor in leadership from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Gee joined the International Association of Business Communicators Central Oklahoma chapter in the fall of 2015 and volunteered to serve on the board of directors shortly after becoming a member. She has previously served as VP of Finance for the chapter, and is currently serving as both Bronze Quill Chair and President-Elect.
In her free time she enjoys photography, traveling, experiencing all forms of art, relaxing with family and going on adventures with her yellow lab, Khaleesi.