With average unemployment rates right around 4 percent in the United States, there’s war for top talent in the tech industry. Headhunters are ruthlessly pursuing high-performers. Businesses can no longer rely on salary and benefits alone to keep their best employees. These days, your company’s culture is what makes the biggest impact. In fact, 94 percent of executives and 88 percent of employees feel that workplace culture is important for business success.
Cultivating a great company culture isn’t about having the occasional catered lunch or afternoon off. It’s a philosophy for how to treat employees. According to William Craig, entrepreneur and culture advocate, “Company culture is something that is pre-existing in your company’s genetic code; it’s not something that employees bring with them.” In essence, culture is a collection of factors. Your company’s vision. Your philosophy for how to treat employees. How you promote engagement. It includes the types of norms, beliefs, and even language that permeate your company. And it’s up to you to build it.
So, what must you do to ensure that culture is thriving? What makes people happy, motivated, and excited about the company they work for? These four actions can help.
Create a Clear Focus
Most companies have a mission statement, but few have one that’s clear and easy to understand. Even some of the largest brands have terrible mission statements (here’s a list of the worst ones). But a good mission statement gives employees a clear focus and objective. Many mission statements include what a company does and for whom, but most importantly, they’ll talk about why. Apple doesn’t just sell computers; they promise to challenge the status quo.
It’s tempting to focus on what you provide to whom, but just as important are the reasons why you do it. Perhaps you believe technology should be as powerful as it is easy to use. Maybe you’re committed to making sure technology always seems like magic for your customers. In any case, your mission statement is a blueprint for your employees. It outlines why you care about what you do, and why they should too.
Promote Work–Life Balance
Some businesses aren’t flexible when it comes to how and where employees work. These companies can struggle to find and keep talent from the largest workforce group: millennials. About 75 percent of millennials want more opportunities to work remotely, and a great work-life balance is the group’s highest rated job characteristic.
But work-life balance doesn’t just benefit employees. According to Forbes, a flexible work environment can decrease stress, create more job satisfaction among employees, and even help them create and keep healthy habits—all of which will benefit employers hoping to find and keep the best people. It’s a no-brainer to consider what flexible schedules, remote work options, and performance-based strategies can do for you. Your employees can often get more done, be happier, and even more innovative if you give them more flexibility.
Create Growth Opportunity
Competitive pay, vacation, and healthcare are standard these days, but on their own, even the most generous benefits won’t necessarily keep employees around. Engagement will. To keep employees engaged, their work must be meaningful and challenging. They must also have a line of sight to larger roles.
Be sure to reward hard work with new opportunities. Hire internally for new positions as you grow. Offer promotions for star employees when they go above and beyond. And don’t forget, investing in certifications and courses gives your employees new skills they can put to work for you.
When you give your people more responsibilities, greater autonomy, and the chance to flourish, you’ll be surprised by what they can accomplish. And if you’re willing to support their growth, you’ll also build the kind of trust that keeps rock-star talent around for many years.
Do Something Fun!
Happy employees make better decisions and can even be more creative. Adding fun to the daily grind is one way to keep people happy. Some companies have regular barbecues. Others keep games in the break room. Some host events employees can attend to unwind. Some companies even allow workers to spend a percentage of their time on whatever projects they want (assuming they could benefit the company).
List out all the activities your employees might enjoy. Is it a day at amusement park? An afternoon off with $50 to use as they please? A ski day? What small ways can you make your office more exciting? Where can you add small diversions that give workers a fun, worry-free 15-minute break? While games might seem like a waste of time, there’s no telling what a quick, fun break might inspire.
These days, employees can’t always be bought with high salaries or great healthcare. Often, they want an employer that supports them as they grow and guarantees them a life outside of work. If you want a thriving culture that keeps top talent around, be ready to put as much into your employees’ lives as they put into your company—they absolutely deserve it.