Most of us know what it’s like to have a job or a workplace that we disliked, or even downright hated. I’m not just generalizing the average worker’s experience here — Gallup polls from recent years have shown that as low as 31.5% of U.S. workers feel engaged with their jobs. These numbers get even worse when looking at millennial employees, which reported a disengagement rate of 72%. While we’ve already covered how to attract and retain millennials at your office, there is a bigger dilemma that these numbers bring up: why is the US workforce so miserable? The answer, at least in part, lies within the company culture, or lack thereof, that persists in these workspaces. That explanation sounds like a cop-out, so let’s unpack it a little: what does company culture mean? For the sake of this article, let’s assume it is simply the sum of the attitudes, customs and ideals of an organization, from its philosophy as adapted from the CEO’s vision all the way down to the frequency of work happy hours.
It would seem at first that such small quirks couldn’t have such a big impact on a company’s financial outlook, but the connection between company culture and employee engagement suggests that a focus on the little things can give big results. Increased engagement means increased retention, productivity, and in the long run, profit.
There are a few ways top companies have broken down what it takes to enrich the culture of a workplace, and they notably have a common thread — so let’s see if you pick up on it here:
- Create a workplace where workers want to be.
We’ve previously explained why a good office space is important for workers, but it bears repeating that where you work is integral to how you work. Big companies like Google offer office amenities from free food and commute travel to massage room programs, which their employees love to brag about.
- Give benefits that benefit you.
When comparing global trends, the US lags behind European companies in many categories of retention, as this study from Achieve Global points out. At the same time, Europe absolutely smokes the US in regard to access to worker health benefits, which suggests that when a company has its employees’ backs, they’re more likely to return the favor.
- Provide a mission statement that resonates.
As company culture is driven by the symbolics of its day-to-day activities, what someone’s work means to them is crucial in informing how they feel about it. So it makes sense that people prefer working in authentic corporate cultures that share their own values. I can vouch for this — working at a company that sparks innovation and creativity and is partnered with an educational charity program makes me feel proud of my own daily workflow. So what corporate culture boils down to, in regard to improving retention and productivity, is the sum of these three bullets: how a company makes its culture about its workers. Such customs create an opportunity for employees to thrive in their career. These range from the simple material trappings of a person’s life to the emotional investment they have in the work they do, and the numbers don’t lie: when companies put their workers first in their culture, you see engagement that doubles the averages from the Gallup polls I mentioned before. But again, this should mean more than having nerf gun battles in your office, as employers should seek to holistically support and inspire their workers. WorkReady provides the kind of marketing & branding services that allow you to communicate the ideals of your own company, while focusing on the important stuff that makes your workers, as well as your organization, thrive. Check out our services page for more information!