Gautam Sahgal, Managing Director at Perkbox. explains why workplace culture is incredibly valuable to any business.
Although workplace culture, defined as ‘the shared values, belief systems, attitudes and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share’ is admittedly an intangible asset, that doesn’t make it any less important.
In fact, workplace culture can be the difference between being a below-average place to work, or a great place to work where employees achieve their full potential.
Read on to find out why…
Culture can make or break your company
Often, companies have the erroneous belief that the make or break of it is sales and profit. But what they often overlook is that profit comes as a result of great people who make a great product, work hard and are determined to succeed.
To get this human aspect right, companies need to work on creating the best company culture they can, to keep employees happy and productive and to attract top talent. This is particularly important because culture can go as far as translating into your employees being advocates or critics of your brand, having a high retention or attrition rate and determining the productivity of your employees – in other words, a lot is at stake!
The bottom line is that enough effort should be put into linking back to your culture on an everyday basis. Like all other things, perfection is impossible to achieve, but companies who underestimate the importance of culture can easily encounter things like toxic workplace environments, which can have a knock-on effect on the wider business and its people.
The key to success: create a culture that sticks
The best company cultures have a values-driven approach that their employees can resonate with. A great way to make these values integral to your business is by creating a culture book, given to employees when they join the business and essentially a North Star which reminds everyone in the company of the mission, values and what everyone is working towards.
Company values should be present in how you treat each other as colleagues and how you communicate across the organisation. They can’t always work wonders, but when you set clear expectations around values, it’s certainly easier to reinforce what matters to you as a business, and expectations of your employees are being set from the very beginning.
Another way to make your culture stick is by setting up a working group in your office that meets regularly to discuss your company culture. At Perkbox we call this team our ‘Culture Guardians’ – a group of people from different departments across the company who get together on a monthly basis to discuss how to enrich and maintain our company culture.
But remember, you also need to grow and scale your values with your business so that they still remain relevant to your employees, otherwise they will just be words on a piece of paper. You should all feel part of this process, as it’s everyone’s responsibility to look after culture and values – employers and employees alike, but it’s your role as a leader to take action in doing so.
And finally… remember to celebrate
With a positive company culture being a huge asset to any business, it’s important to celebrate it too! Celebrating your culture doesn’t have to be a costly exercise and it doesn’t have to be about perfection either, caring enough to make it better everyday is enough. It can be anything from having a ‘leave work early’, a ‘no meetings’ day, a celebratory company lunch or a ‘swap your desk’ day – to give employees a chance to get to know each other better.
But don’t forget to implement some longer-term initiatives that last more than a day or two to make a lasting difference in your organisation. This could include things such as creating a starter pack for employees who join the company, or have meditation music in the office to lift the mood – or even creating your own culture book. At Perkbox, for example, we celebrate employees’ work anniversaries or ‘Perkiversary’ by giving them a balloon with the number of years they have been at the company as well as some confetti – a simple way to boost your employees’ morale and show them you care.
So there you have it – some of the many reasons why workplace culture is one of the biggest assets in your business. It’s a hard thing to look after, with its highs and lows at times, but it’s a win-win for everyone. Not only will it boost employee happiness and retention, but it will make the ties between you and your employees stronger, and create a sense of unity when it comes to considering what makes you and everyone else in the business, come to work everyday.
About the author:
Gautam Sahgal is the Managing Director of Perkbox, Europe’s fastest growing employee experience platform. His responsibilities span sales, marketing, customer success and customer service.