Free food? No dress code? Dog-friendly workplace? These are a few perks offered by employers like Google to improve corporate culture. Admittedly, these ideas are pretty cool(C’mon, who doesn’t like free food?), however, building a sustainable, high-performance, stress-busting corporate culture is more than a few fringe benefits. The stakes are pretty high:
- According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends survey of over 7000 HR and business leaders, 82% believe that culture is a potential competitive advantage. The survey results also indicate that culture can ultimately determine an organization’s success or failure during changing tides, like M&A’s.
- Furthermore, this Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of turnover at an organization with a rich company culture is just 13.9%, compared to 48.4% in companies with poor internal cultures.
- Finally, research cited in this Entrepreneur.com article show a clear link between culture and profit. Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by a whopping 20% – earning 1.2% to 1.7% more than peer organizations.
It is common knowledge that unhappy people traditionally, won’t do more than what calls for to stay employed, great employees quit when they feel under-appreciated, and disengaged managers won’t put in their 100% in improving their teams.
The question is, what can a staffing firm do about it? While there might be a “magic formula” for building an amazing work environment, truth is, there is no single “right” culture for staffing firms. The success mantra of one firm won’t necessarily produce kindred results in another. Still, an organization can build an internal culture that enhances everything from top-line revenue to employee retention by:
Building cultural leadership at all levels within your organization:
Companies with high engagement share a common mission and purpose from top to bottom. Ensure that all leaders (regardless of “rank” or job title) understand their role in:
- Inspiring employees with what they say and do;
- Connecting employees’ daily work with where your business is heading;
- Providing a unified message that shows employees how to live out your mission;
- Engendering trust, respect, and loyalty throughout your organization.
You have capable, smart employees – so give them as much freedom as possible to accomplish their work (just make sure you’re on the same page in terms of goals, expectations, and accountability).
If your employees have no idea what you’re trying to achieve, you can’t expect them to help you get there. Communicate honestly and openly about:
- Your staffing firm’s mission and vision – and how employees’ daily efforts support them;
- How your company is performing, including key business metrics;
- The cultural improvements you’re striving for and the reasoning behind it – doing so makes your employees feel like trusted members of the team.
Talking about cultural problems:
It’s easy to be transparent about the “good stuff”; whereas it is much more challenging to talk about tough work environment issues. When you sense stress or discord, don’t sweep it under the rug – address it out in the open. The more comfortable you are in addressing these issues, the ore open will the team members be to discussing and resolving them. Over time, an organization that consistently works toward resolving cultural problems will achieve better and lasting improvements.
Allowing employees to completely disconnect:
Nobody can come in early every day, leave late, and take work home with them, and not experience some level of burnout. To guard against chronic work overload and the cultural problems it creates, formalize policies that support work/life satisfaction and set healthy boundaries.
- Teach employees how and when to selectively and collectively say “NO”, and how to effectively communicate with management about job stress and burnout.
- Set limits on employees’ after-hours accessibility. Obviously, the staffing industry is not a 9-5 industry. But with right technology and shared responsibility, more team members can spend more time truly disconnected.
- Remember to take your own good advice. As a leader, you set the example for your culture.
Adding a human touch:
Do whatever you can to make your organization a friendlier place to work. One way to do this is by skipping tedious “corporate speak” in communications whenever appropriate, opting for simpler language that conveys the same message.
Making performance management processes practical:
The right management processes increase equity and feeling of inclusiveness, while enhancing organizational culture. Create processes that:
- Incorporate merit-based systems and have transparent rewards;
- Clearly define standards and expectations for both individuals and teams/departments;
- Align with your firm’s shared goals and objectives.
The Ripple Effect of a High-Performance Culture:
When you create a strong internal culture, you do more than just boost organizational performance or foster great work experiences for your internal team. The positivity you build is contagious, extending beyond the walls of your business, to impact clients, vendors, and (perhaps most importantly) potential clients.