Company culture, we keep hearing about it, but what is it and how do you make sure you have a good culture that will attract and keep great staff?

Google, Netflix and Twitter constantly make the list for the best places to work and the one thing they have in common is a strong focus on their people.

And there’s a good reason for that, as a positive company culture is inherent to a company’s success. A study by The University of Warwick found employees who are happy are up to 12 per cent more productive than average workers. Companies with a strong culture also have lower staff turnover.

To build business growth and productivity it is worth putting your business culture under the microscope – get started with the four steps below.

1. Get to know your staff 

As a business owner, developing strong co-worker relationships is a personal investment that will continue to give back to you.

Like any relationship, co-worker relationships don’t happen overnight. You will have to set aside time for them and brush up on your interpersonal skills. Encourage staff to get to know each other and organise some team building activities to build rapport among staff.

Face to face interactions are key in building co-worker relationships. Instead of sending an email, organise a meeting to discuss a project. If you’re lacking time to meet up, ensure you embrace unintentional interactions with your staff, as this will help you get to know them.  

2. Recognise and reward

Recognising and rewarding your employees is another main ingredient for a rich company culture. Get started by acknowledging employees for specific behaviours that align with your company’s goals and vision.

Recognition should be a behaviour that is ingrained across the entire business, from managers recognising their staff to co-workers congratulating each other for a job well done.  

Those culture building activities like team lunches, reward vouchers and identified learning and development are looking more cost effective when you consider the impact of employee turnover.

How much does employee turnover cost you?

Employee turnover is costly. Each resignation requires the business to place recruitment advertising, review applications and onboard and train new staff. There is also a lag time for the new employee to reach their peak productivity as they need to learn about the company’s business and processes.

Some estimate the cost of employee turnover at 1-2 times the employee’s annual salary. For a business with 50 staff averaging 10 resignations per year, employee turnover is a serious overhead eating into the profit margin.

boost company culture, estimated costs of staff turnover are one to two times the employee's annual salary

3. Don’t be the gatekeeper of information

Keeping your employees informed and involved increases transparency, which rates highly on the employee engagement scale.

LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner got the highest rating available on Glassdoor and one of his key factors for business success is transparency. He established bi-weekly company-wide meetings to share information across the organisation and encourage staff feedback.

Consider introducing these three processes to boost transparency in your business:

  • Don’t let your employees wonder ‘why we are doing this’. Communicate your goals, visions and strategies as this will help to build trust with your staff.
  • Ensure you involve your employees in decision making and value their opinions.
  • Implement modern communication and collaboration tools like Slack or Yammer.
Happy employees are up to twelve per cent more productive than average workers

4. Support a healthy work-life balance

Australian Medical Technology company Stryker came out on top in Great Place to Work’s 2017 50 Best Places to Work. Stryker is big on work-life balance and helps their employees balance their work lives with their home lives by giving staff an engagement day every year. The engagement day is an extra leave day that employees can spend however they like, but Stryker encourages staff to use the time to connect with their family and friends.

While Stryker’s engagement day is a great initiative to boost work-life balance, simply making sure your employees take their annual leave is an easy way to boost happiness in the workplace and improve morale and motivation among your employees. We all know the feeling of returning to work after a well-deserved holiday. You return to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated with a renewed focus on your work tasks. 

Consider implementing flex-time and flexible working conditions to improve staff work-life balance – it is possible to introduce flexibility to many roles, which may include the option of working from home, or structuring the working day around school pick up and drop offs.

Building a positive company culture will help you to retain staff, save you time and money on training and costs, and help you attract top talent.