How to Create a Positive Company Culture: [30 HR Hacks for 2024]

Spike Team
By Spike Team, Updated on February 12, 2024, 12 min read
Positive company culture

A positive company culture is the heartbeat of successful organizations. In this post, we’ll explore how Human Resources (HR) professionals play a vital role in shaping and nurturing a positive culture within the workplace, leading to increased employee engagement and overall organizational success.

 

Company culture is all the rage – for leadership, employees, and job-seekers alike. Positions like Chief Culture Officer, Head of Culture, and People & Culture Manager have become staples within the modern corporate workplace.

 

Organizations are putting more emphasis on their culture than ever before, but what exactly is company culture? The answer is more complex than it may seem, as company culture is a multifaceted, evolving experience that touches every aspect of an organization’s DNA. It shapes how employees interact, their values, and the direction in which a company steers itself.

 

Leaders and employees must resonate with their company culture, as it can make or break an organization’s ability to attract top talent, foster innovation, and ultimately thrive in today’s competitive business environment. Read on to learn everything you need to know about developing an amazing company culture for your workplace.

 

 

What Is Company Culture?

 

You might have heard the term “company culture” being thrown around a lot lately, but let’s clarify immediately – this isn’t just a trendy buzzword.

 

Company culture is a company’s shared values, beliefs, behaviors, and rituals. You can think of it as the collective personality that defines the company’s identity and overall conduct. A company’s culture isn’t something etched in stone or confined to a policy manual; it’s often a living, evolving force that shapes employees’ day-to-day experiences.

 

Here’s what company culture represents for an organization:

  • How employees are treated

  • What goals the company is working towards

  • How everyone collaborates as a team

  • How work gets done

  • How leaders run the organization

 

Ultimately, a truly strong company culture means that the company’s values and vision are in sync with daily practices in the workplace. And when a company has a great culture, it makes all the difference to its employees. They feel energized, committed, and happy to come to work every day.

 

 

Why Company Culture Is So Important

While money is important, happiness is what gets employees to stay. According to a recent survey, 56% of employees value good company culture over a higher salary, and 47% of employees cite company culture as the driving reason to look for a new job. With the massive workforce shift over the past few years, organizations are looking to make strategic changes to improve their company culture to attract and retain their talent.

 

When the company’s mission and culture align with positive values, employees are more likely to feel motivated and engaged, a shared sense of purpose and content in their roles. Unsurprisingly, 77% of job seekers consider the company culture before applying for a job.

 

 

Positive Company Culture: Google

Google is renowned for its positive company culture. They’ve created an environment that values openness, innovation, and inclusivity. Google offers its employees numerous benefits and perks, like flexible working hours, wellness programs, and creative workspaces, to stimulate innovation and maintain high morale. Their culture emphasizes collaboration and the free exchange of ideas, enabling employees to feel valued and heard. This approach has not only led to increased employee satisfaction but also to groundbreaking products and services.

 

 

Toxic Company Culture: WeWork

A more recent example of a toxic company culture can be found in WeWork’s situation around 2020. Initially celebrated for its innovative approach to shared workspaces, the company faced significant scrutiny over its corporate culture. Allegations surfaced about mismanagement, excessive spending, and a chaotic work environment under the leadership of CEO Adam Neumann. Reports indicated a culture that prioritized rapid growth over sustainable business practices, leading to serious financial issues and a failed IPO attempt. This environment was also marked by instances of questionable decision-making and lavish spending, contributing to a significant loss of investor confidence and a drastic reduction in the company’s valuation. These issues highlighted the consequences of a corporate culture lacking accountability and sustainable business ethics.

 

 

Top 7 Signs of a Toxic Culture

  1. Lack of trust

    Trust erodes, and employees question the motives and actions of leaders and colleagues, creating an atmosphere of paranoia and fear.

  2. Poor communication

    Without trust, communication inevitably breaks down, often due to secrecy, inconsistent messaging, or a lack of organizational transparency, where rumors and misinformation spread like wildfire.

  3. High turnover

    Employees quit to free themselves from negativity, stress, and frustration, leading to an unstable workforce, decreased morale, and increased recruitment and training costs.

  4. Burnout

    The relentless pressure to meet unrealistic expectations or work excessive hours leads to burnout and declining mental and physical health.

  5. Lack of recognition

    With only negative or even hostile feedback, employees feel undervalued and unappreciated. The lack of recognition for their hard work stifles motivation, enthusiasm, and productivity.

  6. Hostility & bullying

    A toxic culture often fosters hostile relationships and workplace bullying. Cliques, blatant favoritism, and workplace conflict thrive, leading to an unhealthy work environment.

  7. Stagnation

    Innovation and creativity are stifled, as employees fear taking risks, sharing new ideas, sticking their necks out, or having credit stolen by someone else.

 

The effects of a toxic culture are far-reaching and damaging—employee morale plummets, leading to disengagement and decreased productivity. The organization may suffer from higher absenteeism and increased healthcare costs as stress-related illnesses become prevalent. Employee loyalty craters and talented individuals readily depart in search of healthier environments, resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge that is difficult, sometimes impossible, to replace.

 

 

8 Types of Company Culture

Every organization will have its own unique culture. After all, no company is the same. Still, there are several archetypes many of them fall under:

  1. Clan culture

    Clan cultures are tight-knit, resembling an extended family, emphasizing teamwork, collaboration, and shared values. Employees often form close bonds in a clan culture, and nurturing and mentoring are highly prioritized. The leadership style is often more supportive than authoritative, and employees tend to feel a sense of belonging.

  2. Adhocracy culture

    An adhocracy culture promotes decentralized leadership, encourages employee autonomy, and values organic decision-making. As the name “ad hoc” suggests, it’s defined by its flexibility and adaptability in stark contrast to more rigid bureaucratic cultures. This type of culture can be found in startups and innovative organizations where creativity and risk-taking are highly encouraged.

  3. Market culture

    In a market culture, the emphasis is on competition, results, and achieving goals. It’s a highly competitive culture where employees are expected to be competitive and focused on delivering results. This culture is common in sales-driven organizations, where employees are motivated by meeting targets and outperforming competitors.

  4. Hierarchy culture

    A hierarchy culture is characterized by a strong emphasis on structure, rules, and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Leadership is often centralized, and decision-making flows from the top down. Organizations with strict hierarchies tend to be risk-averse and prefer stability over innovation.

  5. Purpose-driven culture

    A purpose-driven culture is focused on a higher mission or cause beyond profitability. These organizations prioritize social responsibility and may be committed to environmental sustainability, ethical practices, or philanthropy. Employees in purpose-driven cultures are motivated by making a positive impact on society.

  6. Innovation culture

    In an innovation culture, creativity and risk-taking are highly encouraged. Employees are given the freedom to explore new ideas and experiment with different approaches. Failure is seen as a natural part of the innovation process, and learning from mistakes is valued.

  7. Process culture

    A process culture strongly emphasizes efficiency, consistency, and following established procedures. Organizations with this culture tend to have well-documented processes and a focus on continuous improvement. Process-oriented cultures are common in industries where quality control and compliance are critical.

  8. Results-oriented culture

    In a results-oriented culture, the primary focus is on achieving specific outcomes and goals. Employees are evaluated based on their performance and ability to deliver results. This culture values accountability and rewards high achievers.

 

It’s important to note that a company’s culture can evolve and change over time, influenced by shifts in leadership, market conditions, and employee demographics. Additionally, some organizations may exhibit a blend of these cultural types or have a unique culture that doesn’t fit neatly into any one category.

 

 

The Role of HR in Shaping Company Culture

HR professionals play a pivotal role in shaping and nurturing company culture. Here’s how they contribute to creating a positive and thriving workplace culture:

  1. Defining and articulating culture

    HR professionals work with senior leadership to define the organization’s culture, values, and mission. They help create a clear and compelling culture statement that serves as a guiding principle for the entire organization.

  2. Hiring for cultural fit

    HR teams are responsible for designing recruitment processes that identify candidates who align with the company’s culture. This involves assessing skills, qualifications, cultural fit, and values alignment.

  3. Onboarding and orientation

    HR plays a critical role in ensuring that new employees are introduced to the company’s culture from day one. They design onboarding programs that help newcomers understand the organization’s values, expectations, and cultural norms.

  4. Training and development

    HR departments develop training programs that reinforce the desired culture. This includes providing ongoing learning opportunities for employees to develop the skills and behaviors that align with the organization’s values.

  5. Employee engagement

    HR professionals are responsible for measuring and improving employee engagement. They use surveys, feedback mechanisms, and data analysis to identify areas where the culture may need improvement and take steps to enhance employee satisfaction.

  6. Conflict resolution

    In cases where conflicts arise that threaten the company’s culture, HR plays a critical role in mediating and resolving issues. They ensure that disputes are handled to uphold the organization’s values and principles.

  7. Leadership development

    HR is involved in programs that help senior leaders and managers embody the desired culture. They provide coaching and guidance to leaders on how to lead by example and reinforce cultural norms.

  8. Diversity and inclusion

    HR teams work to promote diversity and inclusion within the organization, ensuring that the company’s culture is inclusive and welcoming to individuals from diverse backgrounds.

  9. Performance management

    HR professionals design performance management systems that align with the organization’s culture. They set performance expectations that reflect cultural values and provide feedback to employees on their alignment with those values.

  10. Recognition and rewards

    HR is responsible for creating reward programs that reinforce desired behaviors and cultural contributions. This includes acknowledging and celebrating employees who exemplify the company’s values.

  11. Continuous improvement

    HR continually monitors and assesses the organization’s culture, seeking opportunities for improvement. They adapt HR strategies and initiatives to ensure the culture remains positive and aligned with the company’s goals.

  12. Culture preservation

    HR plays a role in preserving the organization’s culture during times of change or growth. They ensure that cultural values are not compromised during mergers, acquisitions, or other significant transitions.

 

In summary, HR professionals are the custodians of an organization’s culture, responsible for shaping, nurturing, and preserving it. They play a crucial role in creating a workplace environment where employees feel motivated, engaged, and aligned with the company’s values and mission.

 

 

How to Create and Nurture a Positive Company Culture

30 HR Hacks for culture

 

Creating and nurturing a positive company culture is an ongoing process that requires commitment and effort from leadership, HR, and every employee. Here are some key strategies to help you develop and maintain a healthy and thriving workplace culture:

  1. Define your culture

    Start by clearly defining your organization’s culture, values, and mission. Ensure that these core elements are communicated effectively to all employees. Your culture statement should serve as a guiding light for decision-making and behavior within the company.

  2. Lead by example

    Leadership sets the tone for the entire organization. Leaders must embody the desired culture and consistently demonstrate its values in their actions and decisions. When leaders lead by example, employees are more likely to follow suit.

  3. Hire for cultural fit

    During the hiring process, prioritize candidates who possess the required skills and qualifications and align with your company’s culture. Conduct behavioral interviews and assess values alignment to ensure a good fit.

  4. Onboarding and orientation

    Develop a comprehensive onboarding program that introduces new employees to your culture, values, and expectations. Provide them with the tools and information they need to thrive within your organization.

  5. Employee engagement

    Continuously measure and improve employee engagement through surveys, feedback mechanisms, and open communication channels. Address any issues or concerns promptly and take action to enhance employee satisfaction.

  6. Training and development

    Invest in training programs that reinforce your culture and values. Provide opportunities for employees to develop the skills and behaviors that align with your organization’s mission.

  7. Communication

    Foster open and transparent communication throughout the organization. Encourage employees to share their ideas, concerns, and feedback. Regularly communicate updates on company goals, values, and achievements.

  8. Recognition and rewards

    Implement recognition and rewards programs that celebrate employees who exemplify your culture and contribute to its success. Recognize and appreciate their efforts publicly.

  9. Diversity and inclusion

    Promote diversity and inclusion within your organization. Create a welcoming and inclusive environment where employees from all backgrounds feel valued and respected.

  10. Conflict resolution

    Address conflicts and issues promptly and fairly. Ensure that disputes are resolved in a way that upholds your organization’s values and principles.

  11. Performance management

    Align your performance management system with your culture by setting clear expectations that reflect your values. Provide feedback and coaching to help employees improve their cultural alignment.

  12. Continuous improvement

    Regularly assess your organization’s culture and identify areas for improvement. Adapt your HR strategies and initiatives to ensure your culture remains positive and aligned with your company’s goals and values.

  13. Empower employees

    Give employees a sense of ownership and empowerment in contributing to the company’s culture. Encourage them to take initiative, propose ideas for cultural improvements, and participate in culture-building activities.

  14. Celebrate traditions and rituals

    Establish and maintain traditions and rituals that reinforce your company’s culture. These can include team-building events, recognition ceremonies, and annual celebrations that bring employees together and strengthen their connection to the culture.

  15. Provide resources for well-being

    Support employees’ physical and mental well-being. Offer resources such as wellness programs, mental health support, and work-life balance initiatives to help them thrive personally and professionally.

  16. Adapt to change

    Be adaptable and open to change as your organization evolves. Your culture should be flexible enough to accommodate growth, new challenges, and changing market conditions while remaining true to its core values.

  17. Seek feedback

    Regularly seek employee feedback about the company’s culture. Conduct surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one discussions to understand their perspectives and make necessary adjustments.

  18. Uphold ethical standards

    Maintain the highest ethical standards within your organization. A culture of integrity and ethical behavior is essential for long-term success and employee trust.

  19. Foster a learning culture

    Encourage continuous employee learning and development. Embrace a culture that values curiosity, innovation, and the pursuit of knowledge.

  20. Measure culture's impact

    Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of your culture on employee engagement, retention, productivity, and overall business success. Use these insights to refine your culture-building strategies.

  21. Leadership development

    Invest in leadership development programs to ensure your leaders are equipped to support and reinforce your company’s culture. Provide leadership training that emphasizes the importance of culture in decision-making and team management.

  22. Transparency and accountability

    Maintain transparency in your organization’s operations and decision-making processes. Hold leaders and employees accountable for their actions and behaviors that impact the culture.

  23. Align policies and procedures

    Ensure that HR policies, procedures, and practices are aligned with your company’s culture and values. Review and update HR policies to reflect your desired cultural norms.

  24. Employee well-being

    Prioritize the well-being of your employees. Create a supportive environment that values work-life balance and mental and physical health. Offer resources and programs that promote well-being.

  25. Recognize and address issues

    Don’t ignore signs of a toxic culture. If you identify issues such as bullying, discrimination, or harassment, take immediate action to address and rectify them. Create a safe reporting mechanism for employees to raise concerns.

  26. Embrace innovation

    Encourage innovation and experimentation within your organization. Create space for employees to explore new ideas and approaches that can enhance your culture and drive business innovation.

  27. Reinforce core values

    Continuously reinforce your company’s core values through storytelling, communication, and recognition. Share stories and examples of employees who exemplify these values.

  28. Seek external perspectives

    Consider seeking external perspectives through culture audits or assessments to gain insights into your organization’s culture from an impartial viewpoint.

  29. Promote collaboration

    Encourage collaboration and cross-functional teamwork to break down silos within your organization. Collaborative efforts can strengthen your culture and foster a sense of unity.

  30. Lead culture change

    If your organization needs to undergo a cultural transformation, engage in a deliberate and well-planned change management process. Seek input from employees and gradually implement changes to ensure a smooth transition.

 

 

Wrap-Up

Remember that creating and nurturing a positive company culture is an ongoing journey, not a one-time effort. It requires dedication, commitment, and the active involvement of leadership and HR teams. A thriving culture can be a powerful asset that attracts top talent, enhances employee engagement, drives business success, and ultimately defines your organization’s identity and legacy.

Spike Team
Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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