In an increasingly competitive job market, employees no longer judge career opportunities based solely on compensation and benefits. Workplace culture is now more important than ever.
No, a ping-pong table and fancy lattes alone aren’t going to be the answer, though employees want those too. What really sets companies apart are the personal and professional development programs and opportunities.
A strong culture focused on employee engagement, wellness, and development has become a key consideration for job seekers. Work is acknowledged as a major component of life and employees want it to be a quality experience, not one they dread.
Employers who understand the importance of culture in the workplace and work to make it meaningful and rewarding will be more likely to retain and attract the best people, and less prone to the risk of losing top team members to competitors.
Unfortunately, more than half of all U.S. employees report they aren’t engaged or encouraged to advance at work, according to a Gallup State of the Workforce Report. That leaves them more likely to jump ship and leave employers constantly filling gaps and playing catch up.
What’s more, team members who feel excluded at work are more likely to suffer from higher stress levels, creating issues such as workplace absences and even violence. Developing a workplace culture focused on inclusion and engagement does wonders not only for your employees’ health but the overall health of your organization. Turnover drops significantly when employees feel engaged within their workplace.
Employers looking to improve their workplace culture should focus on these three steps.
Showcase your values
Workplace values set the tone for employees, but only when they are demonstrated at all levels of an organization. Beyond a company tagline, these values must be showcased through the actions of leadership for them to have a strong impact on the organization’s culture.
For example, a company that values respect should have and enforce a zero-tolerance policy and strict penalties for harassment. When rules are bent for a high-performing employee or member of leadership, employees lose respect for values and the overall culture is undermined.
Additionally, employers should work to make sure their employees feel they’re part of a team. Foster an inclusive environment to create a culture that shows everyone their opinion is valued and heard.
Promote work-life balance
Stress will rise as employees start to miss out on important life events. Each time the employee misses a child’s recital or family outing due to long hours and high pressure that isn’t acknowledged or rewarded, they become more stressed and less engaged at work.
Promoting and encouraging a strong work-life balance and recognition program for your employees can lower stress levels and keep them engaged in their work and with the overall team. Happier team members are more likely to buy into the culture and are significantly more productive.
Improved balance between work and home life also leads to better health and fewer absences for team members.
Offer professional development opportunities
Employees are looking for a workplace where they feel like there is a future. Show them there are ways to move forward and advance in their careers.
Professional development opportunities help build a positive culture in the workplace. Host lunch and learns and encourage and support further learning for employees. This not only makes employees feel they have value in the organization but also improves your team, ensures the organization is up to date with the latest methods and brings about the best possible ideas to improve your workplace.
Create a benefit for employees looking to advance their learning and offer them opportunities for new responsibilities to grow and advance. Promoting from within is also encouraging to new candidates who will see that you value loyalty and offer opportunities for advancement.
Culture can’t be created overnight, but it can be lost quickly. Workplaces that have great cultures promote a positive work-life balance, offer opportunities for team members to advance their careers, and foster an inclusive and engaging environment for employees. Ping-pong table optional.