May 09, 2016
Building Engagement Through Culture
by Guest Blogger
Last week I wrote about employee engagement—and about how engaged employees can have a huge impact on the success of your business. Employees who wake up wanting to go to work each day and find fulfillment in their job are essential.
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Helping to create and foster that drive in your employees is no small task. It’s one thing to promote engagement through internal communications. It’s another to hire the right individuals who are driven and motivated to do their jobs well. But there’s something hard to define and almost intangible at play that can continually bring everything together.
And that’s your company culture.
Human resources expert Susan M. Heathfield defines workplace culture as “the environment that surrounds you at work all the time,” adding that it helps shape relationships, processes and enjoyment. Further, she notes that changing company culture is an extraordinarily tough thing to do.
Just as we compared an engaged employee to an actively disengaged employee in my last post, illustrating the importance of a positive company culture can be done by comparing it to a bad one—you can have many talented, intelligent employees, but if they’re working in a toxic work environment each day, nothing good will come of it.
We’re wrapping up our series on internal communications and employee engagement with the topic of company culture for a big reason: Employees impact culture. It’s where your company culture is rooted, and it takes a lot more than an executive decision to maintain a positive culture.
There are no hard and fast rules to make this happen—and good company culture develops in large part organically. But here are some hallmarks of a good company culture.
Fellowship and Camaraderie. When employees feel a sense of trust and friendship with each other, they’re more likely to work better together—and powerful things can happen. There are big and small ways you can help build camaraderie in your company, from company outings (think picnics, happy hours, or sporting events) to small birthday celebrations. A sense of connectedness among your workers not only makes them more likely to enjoy coming to work each day, but can improve output as well.
Values. What are your company’s values? Do your employees know what they are—and do they infuse them into their work each day? Clearly communicating the values that drive your business offers your employees something to believe in beyond profit, and helps build a more positive culture.
Transparency. This one should sound familiar—we talked about it in our first internal communications post a few weeks ago—and it’s repeated here for an important reason. Your company’s goals and high-level decision making should not be a secret to your employees. It works two ways. When all employees have a clear understanding of company objectives, it’s easier to work toward them; and feeling left in the dark can lead to demotivation and disengagement.
Brenna Schmidt is Corporate Manager of Human Resources for Quanex, specializing in performance and talent management, recruitment and selection.