Organizational Culture encompasses the values and behaviors shared by members of an organization that create a unique social and psychological environment of a business. This includes the mission of the organization, the long and short-term goals, and the deeply-seated norms that employees have become accustomed to.Establishing and maintaining a strong culture and high morale is an important part of any company’s success! A solid culture makes it clear to everyone inside and outside of the company what your organization does and how it does it. This is important to know regardless of what position you have in the company- from the newest intern all the way to the CEO. According to Deloitte,
Organizations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organizational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent.
When the culture is unclear or outdated, problems increase and morale decreases. When work feels stressful and pointless, morale becomes lower and it shows in the company results. Low morale requires a proactive response from you. As a manager, you have an important role to foster an environment that’s productive and rewarding for your own team.
When people feel good about what they do and how they do it, morale remains high. Employees belong to something bigger than themselves and they want to work hard to accomplish team goals.
Here are some helpful ways to keep morale high and establish a strong culture:
Communicate your Company Vision
Your company's vision lays the foundation for what you hope your company culture will be. As a leader, it is your job to create this vision and emphasize the values that your employees should follow. The vision should be concise and relatable to every employee at every level. Once this has been established, the next step is to communicate it to your employees.You need to make sure every employee across all the departments know the vision and values. Write it down and refer back to them frequently. In order for an employee to become aligned with their company’s vision, they must hear it at all times.
The vision statement of any company should be tied to realistic goals for employees. By framing your vision in this manner, you are turning the company vision into an integral part of the daily experience.
Every aspect of your business should revolve around this core vision whether it be in your meetings, during the hiring process, setting company goals, reviewing employee performance, etc. Encourage employees to live the values in their daily lives and set the example by doing so yourself.
Recognition and Feedback
Morale steadily decreases when people feel that their work is not being recognized or appreciated by their company and/or managers. As an employer, recognize achievements (both big and small) and look for ways to reward your employees for consistent hard work. The rewards can be as big as a promotion or even just congratulating them and thanking them for their contributions. Yes, employees are paid to do their jobs, but that does not mean that their efforts should be taken for granted! The bottom line is to regularly recognize your employees’ efforts when they perform exceptionally well and do so in a way that’s personal to them. Your goal should be to create an environment where people realize their work is noticed and appreciated.
A culture of appreciation is not an easy thing to create and do because not all people are good at giving feedback. Organizations must strategize on how to support and educate their people to do so correctly.
Organizations with peer to peer recognition programs report that peers have the biggest influence on employee engagement and have found that turnover rates decrease. Involving employees from all levels to participate in giving recognition and feedback means company-wide motivation and accountability. It's a great way to create a unified workforce while improving team camaraderie and friendship.
Change Up The Routine
Morale will also decline when the office starts to feel monotonous and robotic. If an employee comes in every day, at the same time, to the same place, doing the same things, you can't blame them for feeling bored. Changing up the typical routine can have a dramatic effect on morale and culture. Even if the changes are subtle, any break from the routine can be positive for collective morale.
Here are a few that can be implemented into your office:
- Redecorate the Office: When’s the last time your office got a makeover? If it has been a while, you may have a fun team project on your hands! Changing the workplace can create an environment that boosts creativity and productivity, so make some time to redecorate and give your employees a change of pace. Through redecorating, you are working on team-building skills, changing up your atmosphere, changing up the pace of work, making your employees feel involved and promoting higher levels of morale and culture.
- Make Time to Exercise: As science tells us, working out is great for productivity levels. By encouraging employees to exercise during the day, they'll be able to change things up and won’t have to worry about cramming in some gym time before or after work. Not only will their productivity increase, but it also shows them that you care about their health and not just the hours they are putting in for your company.
- Have a Little Fun: "Work" and "fun" are not mutually exclusive terms! Break up each day with a little bit of fun and work won't seem as much like work. A few minutes away from the desk can improve productivity, reinforce company culture and boost company morale worth far more than those few lost minutes of work. One funny video on youtube can quickly spiral into many videos if not careful, so make sure things don't get too out of hand.
Establish Company Traditions
Find some interests your employees have in common and start building some company traditions! Holiday activities, mealtime customs, or optional after-work hangouts are all ways you can promote fun and employee relationships! Having an office Secret Santa gift exchange or sweater contest during the holidays, a monthly board game or movie night, going to a sports event together, or Food Truck Fridays are some examples of morale-boosting and loyalty-building activities you can try.
Establishing traditions is what makes each company culture special and unique. It gives employees something to look forward to and something for them to be proud of.
Traditions build up the team feeling and makes them excited to tell their friends about how cool it is to work for you. Every company is different, so figure out what is best for your employees.
The best way to keep employee morale up is to make sure their voices are heard. No one wants to feel insignificant, especially at work. By listening to your employees, you are showing them respect. Take time out of your day to ask your employees if they have any concerns, new ideas for the company, or even how they feel about their tasks.
Establishing a culture where each member feels his or her opinion is important and valued by the organization and their peers can be key to company growth.
By allowing employees to contribute, you are paving the path to new and innovative ideas to solve problems and more invested employees. As a manager, you perceive the workplace much differently than your staff. By clearly communicating with them can give you insights into employee needs and proactively counteract many problems. If you can keep them happy and motivated, you'll have a much easier time achieving your long-term goals.
Succession Planning - Hire and promote from within:
When an outside manager comes into the picture, no matter how qualified they are, office morale tends to go down. Whenever possible, promote employees from within and utilize tools that will help you develop your employees to be ready for internal promotion.
When new positions or roles open up, hiring internally ensures that the person will already have pre-existing knowledge of both the role and organization. By promoting from within, you are already choosing someone who has proven their loyalty and is well knowledged of the in and outs of the company.
By implementing a succession plan type of platform for your company, you can improve individual employee relationships with the company and raise morale by demonstrating to the other workers that their efforts will eventually be recognized and rewarded.
Fostering employee development through succession planning also shows current employees that their loyalty, skills, and presence are being appreciated. This shows that you believe in what they have to offer, and want to invest the time and effort to keep those skills with the company.
As a manager, your team’s morale a top priority, and you need to be consistent and strategic with your efforts. Regularly communicating with your team, actively responding to feedback, and recognizing accomplishments will go a long way in helping you reach your own company goals and growth potential.
For more morale boosters and company culture tips, check out the Company Culture section on our blog!