Nearly 33% of employees in the U.S. are considering quitting their jobs, while 25% have actually resigned over the past six months, citing “toxic company culture” as their No. 1 reason for leaving, according to research by FlexJobs. Company culture is the personality of a company. It makes some companies more fun to work for, and others less so. The best companies are always looking for ways to improve their company culture so that it attracts top talent and keeps employees happy for years to come. But how exactly do you achieve this? Here are seven ways to improve your company culture.
Why are people quitting their jobs?
In a survey of over 2,000 employees, the top reason cited for quitting was lack of opportunity for advancement. But this isn't the only thing leading to high turnover rates.
People are looking for more than just money; they want to feel like their opinion matters and that they can grow within a company. According to Gallup, having a good fit between employee and workplace is one of the most critical factors in job satisfaction—but many companies aren't doing enough to create an atmosphere where people can thrive.
Here are some ways you can foster a positive culture at your organization.
Be open to change.
Change is necessary for growth and improvement.
The key to driving change in your company culture is being open to it and understanding why it's necessary. Change can be met with resistance from employees who have grown comfortable with how things are done, but as a leader, you can help them see how beneficial change will be for everyone involved—including themselves.
Think about what changes could benefit your company's culture: Are there ways you could improve communication between departments? Do you need new initiatives that focus on employee engagement? Does your company need an updated mission statement or values? Whatever it may be, identify these areas needing improvement and implement changes immediately.
Apply this to your business: Company culture is complex when you have a central support team that works closely together and members out in the field performing guard duties. Take stock of what your group wants. Send out a survey and ask for their advice, and listen when they speak. Set parameters on the study so you aren't faced with tricky things to accomplish. For example, instead of asking your field teams what would benefit them most as an open-ended fill-in-with-text field, give them a few options that are within your reach.
One of the most important things you can do to improve culture is to be honest about your company's culture.
This is tricky because being transparent about everything isn't always the best idea. For example, if something is going on that could negatively impact your employees' productivity or morale (like layoffs), it's probably not wise to come out and say it directly. There are plenty of other ways to give people an accurate picture of what's happening both within your organization and in the world around it—and many don't even require saying anything negative!
One way we like to use this technique is by creating a monthly "state of the union" meeting where people can come together and talk about what went well in their departments over the last month and any challenges they're facing at work. These meetings allow employees who might not otherwise have time for casual chitchat with each other an opportunity to share knowledge across departments, so everyone learns from each other instead of just from their silos (which has been shown by several studies, including one by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited).
Apply this to your business: If your physical security company faces difficult situations, be honest with your teams, especially your contractors. Often, contractors feel left in the dark. If there are reduced periods of work, give them plenty of notice. This will help build loyalty among your teams.
Communicate with your employees.
Don't assume that your employees know what you are thinking. Communicate with them in a way that makes sense and addresses the issues, not just how you want them to do things differently. If an employee has been working for the company for a year or two and has no idea how their performance is measured, it's probably time for some communication. There is no real point in holding onto the same job if your manager has never talked with you about what they need from you or how they think you are doing.
Apply this to your business: On all levels of your business, from guards in the field to the C-Suite, communicate with your teams. Give them tangible and measurable insights into their performance, your expectations, and how they can advance in their career. Communicate openly and clearly. Don’t mince word. Be direct.
Provide opportunities for success.
To encourage employees to take on new challenges, you need to give them the tools they need for success. This means providing them with the resources (money, time, people) and giving them the support and feedback to help them succeed. If you have an employee tasked with doing something new and challenging at work, provide mentoring to reach their full potential in this role.
Apply this to your business: People want growth opportunities. They want to feel like their career is going somewhere. Even guards in the field want to understand how they’ll move to the next level. Your contractors want to know if they’ll have opportunities to become full-time associates. Provide a clear path forward if someone wants to take it. Outline in detail the steps people must take to become Sr. Security Guards, Guard Managers, Head of Onsite Security, or other desirable positions and titles.
Create a positive work environment.
One way to improve company culture is by creating a positive work environment. A positive work environment can help employees feel good about their job and the company they work for, leading to increased retention and higher productivity.
What is a positive work environment?
A positive work environment encourages collaboration, teamwork, innovation, and creativity. It also offers employees enough flexibility to use their strengths at work without feeling like rigid rules or policies are holding them back. In addition to the benefits of having a flexible workplace, it also allows you to hire people with different skill sets from yourself because you'll know that they will thrive when given freedom over how they complete tasks as long as they get them done on time (or ahead of schedule).
What isn't a positive work environment?
A hostile workplace culture includes micromanaging employees who don't have any autonomy over what projects/tasks to pursue next or even if there are any projects/tasks available right now.
Apply this to your business: Hold quarterly team meetings with your entire team and ask for feedback and ways to improve processes. Involve all levels in the decision-making process, and they’ll feel heard. Foster collaboration and teamwork!
Empower your employees.
Empowerment is one of the best ways to improve company culture and morale. When you empower your employees, you give them ownership over their work, which can lead to a more inclusive workplace and increase productivity.
Empowerment means giving your employees the freedom to make decisions without requiring approval from you or other members of management. This gives them a sense of ownership over their responsibilities, encouraging creativity and reducing turnover rates. Empowered employees feel valued by the organization because they have greater control over their workplace experience. This feeling translates into higher morale within the business and greater productivity levels overall.
Apply this to your business: Your marketing team knows what they’re doing. You hired them; let them market. Your operations team knows what they’re doing. They’re qualified; let them lead. If you’ve made sure to have qualified people on your leadership teams, let them lead.
What will happen if companies don't change?
- Employees will leave: A lack of a strong company culture means that employees won't be happy, and when they're unhappy, they go. Without content and engaged employees, you won't be able to build anything meaningful or lasting for your customers.
- Employees will be unproductive: If you don't have a positive company culture, it will affect how much work your team completes every day—and how much quality work they complete each day. This can lead to low productivity for the business overall, which can limit its growth potential over time as well as cause problems with cash flow management due to missed sales opportunities or poor performance on projects due to low morale among workers who were less willing than usual because they weren't happy with their workplace environment (which is one issue created by poor employee morale).
- Employees won't be loyal if there isn't trust between them and their superiors/managers: You're unlikely to see any loyalty from employees working under such conditions because people generally do not like working environments where trustworthiness is lacking among those in charge at all organizational levels.
Healthy company culture can be achieved through simple steps.
The benefits of healthy company culture are immense, from increasing productivity and employee satisfaction to reducing turnover rates and boosting profits. But if companies don't change their course, the consequences could be grave:
- A lack of loyalty between employers and employees will result in an increased risk of employee attrition during economic downturns or when competitors offer better compensation packages or perks.
- A decline in morale will lead to less commitment from employees—which can lead to poor performance on the job, low productivity levels, higher turnover rates, and other problems that may negatively impact your business.
Healthy company culture can be achieved through simple steps. It's essential to keep in mind that these are just a few examples of what works and what doesn't. Check out our other blog posts to know more about creating an ideal working environment! We also recommend checking out companies like Basecamp or Buffer, who have done an excellent job at creating environments where their employees feel safe, happy, and fulfilled.
If you’re interested in more information on this topic, watch our interactive and informative webinar, SECURE Your Talent: Creating a Culture to Attract and Retain Top Performers with Dr. Denitra Griffin, Ed. D., President of AGB Investigative Services.