Your company culture is a big deal – it’s the actual backbone of your company. A bad one and your business will be in pain, struggling to keep itself ahead. A good one and you’ll be running metaphorical marathons, way ahead of the competition. Why? Because good company culture makes for happier employees and happy employees do better work.
What exactly is company culture?
Company culture can be defined as a set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization.
However, it goes so much deeper than this general definition. Anyone you ask will have their own definition of company culture. The measure of company culture varies widely from place to place. But in the end, your employees are the ones who will give you the most insight into what your culture actually is.
We like to think that company culture is a representation of how you nourish your employees. Everything you do for your employees directly relates to their retention, respect for the company, willingness to be flexible, and the impression they leave on your clients. That leaves the question: What do your employees value and what shows them that they’re important to you? Do you offer special benefits, aside from health insurance and PTO? Are you open to criticism? Can employees come to you with new ideas or is everything your way or the highway? It must be clear to your employees that they are valued and important to your business’ success through how you speak to them, how they are managed, and the workload itself. Otherwise, what is the point of the work they do?
Why is all of this important?
If you find yourself constantly struggling to hire and retain employees, your company culture may be to blame. According to FastCompany, more than two-thirds of applicants want to know what the company’s culture is like over anything else when making a career change. That is pretty significant! But when you really think about it, it’s understandable. Who wants to stick around somewhere where they feel undervalued?
In addition, employees who feel there is a lack of respect among colleagues are 26% more likely to quit their job. Cultivating an environment where employees admire and respect each other is one key to good culture. This applies to the entire team, from CEO down. Employees who don’t like their boss are 4 times more likely to find a new job. On the other hand, 60% of employees would rather work with a boss they love for a 50% pay cut than work for a boss they hate at a higher salary.
Not only is turnover expensive, but it also negatively affects your level of customer service. The head of customer and employee success over at JustWorks states that “the best way to support customer happiness is actually to ensure employee happiness first.” He goes on to talk about the correlation of happy employees and higher Net Promoter Scores – the score that gauges how likely someone is to recommend a product or service. To have happy customers, you need happy employees.
Take a look at Google
Google is widely known as an amazing company to work for, as shown here by their ratings on Glassdoor. The reason behind their being such a great company to work for comes down to the culture they promote within. Flexibility, fun, trust, and collaboration are all keys to their company culture and allow employees to feel heard, respected, and valued. The CEO eats lunch in the same room as the rest of the employees. They also offer fun perks like nap pods and free snacks and employees are encouraged to work when and how they want. Employees want to be there and they want to contribute. Ideas flow and work gets done because every member of the Google staff is treated as an equal and important part of their business.
You don’t need to believe us, though. A research team from the University of Warwick explained that “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%; they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.”
An example of poor company culture
On the other hand, you may have heard about the recent issues with poor company culture at luxury luggage brand, Away. A controlling CEO, lack of independence & privacy, and reduction of benefits all led to extremely low morale and eventually, the CEO stepping down due to backlash from employee unhappiness. Employees were required to make all communications public to the entire team, time off was taken away under the guise of motivation, and the CEO was known to use harsh language to berate staff in front of everyone else. Fear of making a mistake or saying the wrong thing was at the forefront of the staff’s minds. Constant fear of criticism leads to decreased productivity. Decreased productivity leads to reprimanding employees. The cycle is vicious and employees simply do not last at Away. If the business hopes to retain its employees and ultimately succeed, there is work to be done on their culture.
Back Office Betties company culture
Emily (CEO & Founder), being the customer service and culture queen that she is, puts both of these aspects of business above all else. In fact, she views both as symbiotic. You can’t have one without the other! Some of the most important aspects towards achieving the great company culture at Back Office Betties are:
- The use of Culture Index in hiring to ensure that the position someone is hired for is the right fit for their personality type
- Availability and accessibility of management for discussion of concerns, ideas, and day-to-day chit chat
- Thoughtful compensation plans and benefit packages, including generous PTO
- Twice yearly wellness days where we give each employee an extra day off and the gift of pampering
- Granting “Wishes” for birthdays and going above and beyond or meeting a goal
- Anonymous OfficeVibe surveys every week to determine receptionist happiness and areas of opportunity
- Remote work – Every staff member of Back Office Betties works from the comfort of their own home!
- Team chat that provides means of easy communication and community between team members
- Team get-togethers in all three of the states our employees live
As you can see, we take our employee happiness extremely seriously. This is not necessarily a complete list but you get the picture. It’s no secret that we love customer service and we’ve learned that a smiling staff is key to delivering! Our receptionist happiness goal is to always be above 9/10 and we hit it nearly every time.
How can you improve your company culture?
If you’ve noticed that your employees could be happier or aren’t performing to the degree you know they’re capable of, consider making some changes. Improving the company culture of your law firm doesn’t require extreme measures. No need to add the expenses of an in-house kitchen like Google right off the bat! Start small.
- Establish your core values and implement policies that positively enforce them. Involve the whole team in this for best results.
- Set the example for your company’s core values
- Smile more in passing
- Open your office to allow dialogue
- Create a space that your staff is happy to walk into each morning. If you can’t do that, consider offering remote work opportunities to your highest performers
- Offer small snacks in the break room
- Send an anonymous survey to your staff regarding what may help them to feel more valued
- Give praise when you recognize great work
- Take some work off of their plate. Allowing burnout is like taking a hammer to your company culture.
- Be human! Apologize when you are wrong, say thank you when appropriate, and relate to your staff on a personal level
Implementing some of the above is a great first step to getting your team back on track. Once you are able, add in some perks or update your benefits package. Create a reward system for positive reinforcement. You will see increased productivity and a fantastic general shift in work environment!
Have comments to add? What do you do to enforce a good company culture? Let us know!