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10 Tips to Strengthen Your Workplace Culture

Aug 31, 2022| Reading time: 13min

BY Emily Connery

VP of People and Talent

What does Hubert Joly, former chairman and CEO of Best Buy, believe is just as critical as your company’s purpose and strategy? Your workplace culture – or as he puts it, “the essential elements of how an organization and its employees behave, as well as its governing beliefs and principles.”

So whether you have an in-person, hybrid, or remote workforce, it’s clearly important that you’re prioritizing company and team cultures. Ready to learn how to improve your practices? Read the 10 tips below to start strengthening your company culture today. 

1. Formalize Communications

What happens when leaders don’t consistently communicate to their employees? People start filling in the gaps (whether the information is right or wrong), turning your organization and team culture into a gossip mill.  Therefore, it’s best practice to layer seven touchpoints into your formalized communication strategy so your employees feel informed and connected. 

Those seven touch-points include executive meetings, manager meetings, all-hands meetings, team meetings, 1:1 check-ins, Slack and email, and your company intranet. When you formalize communications, you signal to your people – especially your remote workforce who are missing those water-cooler moments – that you care about your workplace culture and their sense of belonging.

2. Schedule Frequent All-Hands Meetings

Consistent all-hands, or company-wide, meetings help establish a transparent and communicative workplace culture. These meetings are especially important for organizations with a remote workforce who may feel removed from day-to-day company strategy.

If frequent all-hands meetings are a new practice for your organization, consider what type of company culture you wish to have and align your meetings to that goal. That may look like a rotation of department updates, celebrations of new hires or employee milestones, or key announcements to keep everyone informed so they can do their best work. 

3. Employ Continuous Performance Management

Looking to establish a positive team culture? Look no further than building a continuous performance management strategy

Two parts of a strong strategy include performance reviews and regularly-scheduled 1:1s, which help facilitate continuous feedback and conversations around career growth. 

At Truework, VP of People Devin Blase designed a review cycle “with the goal of giving visibility into what [employees] needed to accomplish to move onto the next level.” Because Blase and her team set clear goals and used people data – such as voluntary attrition, referral rates, and eNPS – as their north star, they were able to implement an action plan to support and retain their top talent. She explains, “We believe that, outside of the founders, our high performers are most responsible for influencing the company culture.”

ChartHop Performance Review example

Looking at your people data becomes a whole lot easier when it’s housed in a people analytics platform. Leaders can quickly derive insights and create efforts around best practices. 

And over at ChartHop, founder and CEO/CTO Ian White believes continuous check-ins empower managers to provide feedback and help employees set objectives and identify goals. He explains: “Making employees wait months, or even an entire year, for the opportunity to discuss their progress is not only unfair to the employee but impractical from a business perspective. Employees can’t meet or exceed expectations if they’re not clearly defined, revisited, and updated more frequently.”

4. Map out Three Levels of Monthly Events

To increase your levels of employee engagement, consider offering three levels of monthly social events for your people. The key word here is “offer,” as these experiences should be voluntary. In fact, Owl Labs advises, “No forced fun” (mandatory social events create a negative type of culture you want to avoid).

Look at hosting events of various sizes, such as one-on-one coffee chats, small group lunches, and team events. For the last idea, it’s helpful to assign social captains quarterly to own the planning and establish a budget for them to follow. 

5. Plan Off-Site Retreats

Roughly 45% of employees identify as part of a remote workforce, which is why it’s critical to plan retreats to encourage connections. While this can be a big investment, it can also lead to a big payoff. 

White explains: “If you’re not going to have an office, you need to create the space for those in-person connections to form. Companies must invest in experiences that help bring their employees together – that’s what’s going to drive higher retention and better outcomes.” 

For best results in establishing a strong company culture, plan off-site retreats that are high on connections and low on presentations, for your whole company as well as departments and leadership teams. 

6. Establish Employee Resource Groups

Employee resource groups (ERGs) ensure continuous, day-to-day support of your people. 

Ai-Mei Zhu, manager of talent acquisition at ChartHop, believes ERGs are important because they not only support those who identify with the specific community, but also educate your entire workforce. She explains: “It’s really important to raise awareness, and it’s nice when people have the resources to learn. Sometimes people aren’t aware of what’s going on in the world besides what’s on social media, and you want to take it deeper than that.” 

Ultimately, learning together is a shared experience that helps foster a sense of belonging, solidify intentional connections, and strengthen your workplace culture. 

7. Create a Robust Onboarding Experience

We all know that first impressions are incredibly important, which is why your onboarding experience needs to be top notch to motivate and retain your people. To create a robust onboarding strategy, consider:

  • Employing a preboarding experience. Preboarding your new hires is always important, but even more so if you’re a remote workforce. When you create a strong preboarding experience as a part of your onboarding strategy, you signal to your people that you care about them and want them to feel welcomed the moment they join your company.
  • Assigning new hire buddies. An onboarding buddy helps educate new hires on day-to-day processes, introduces them to team members, and answers any questions they may have. This will help new employees feel welcomed and supported as they navigate their first few weeks within your company.
  • Schedule jump-start calls the first day. We all know that the first week in a new role is a blend of feeling overwhelmed and bored. Make sure your first day is engaging to new hires so they feel motivated and ready to learn the rest of the week.
  • Record dense training material. It’s important to not only host live training sessions, but also have intricate topics recorded so employees can access them at any time.
  • Conduct 30-60-90 day check-ins. A 30-60-90 plan helps managers set expectations, develop strong relationships with direct reports, and continuously support their people.

8. Support Your Managers 

You’ve heard the saying: People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. But too often, managers have to fend for themselves, hunting down information in multiple spreadsheets, or call in support from the People team. 

Look to support your managers with manager forums and manager-specific tools to help them stay organized and supported. 

Manager Forums 

When you allow your leaders to get together and discuss strategy and goal-setting, you encourage your cross-team peers to be a unit. This kind of collaboration helps leaders and employees innovate and grow skill sets. Lastly, manager forums also help standardize and unify team cultures. This is important because different team experiences lead to a disjointed workplace culture and, unfortunately, high turnover. 

Manager Tools

When your managers have the right tools – like 1:1 templates, “how to manage me” questionnaires, and access to team data – they’re better able to lead their teams with confidence. That means more time enriching professional relationships and building a positive team culture, and less time double-checking spreadsheet formulas and potential errors. 

standardized 1:1 template

Standardized 1:1 templates help employees drive conversations with their managers and pinpoint specific needs for the upcoming week.

9. Make Team Meetings Interactive

Nothing is worse than a team meeting with awkward silence. No one wants that type of company culture, which is why it’s important to empower your leaders to make team meetings interactive. Stuck on how to do so? 

Think about:

  • Creating an agenda, always. People like to know what’s ahead, and agendas help teammates feel prepared and ready to interact.This practice creates a strong and interactive team culture.
  • Rotating speakers. Allowing all employees to present – whether it’s every time or on a rotating schedule – improves team culture because it signals that leaders care about their people and their work.
  • Implementing brainstorming time. Brainstorming allows everyone to weigh in while in the planning stage. Kim Colucci, People Director at Mixbook, sets a timer for her team so they have the time to jot down any ideas. She says, “We’ve seen great success in using this method, as it helps even the playing field and amplifies all voices.”

10. Use Technology to Enable Insights and Transparency 

Technology is important for any company, but especially those who have a remote workforce. That’s because the right technology allows leaders to discover insights from their people data and encourage transparency across the organization.

One way to identify areas of strength and growth is by layering your data in a modern people analytics platform. Doing so helps leaders make decisions that are backed by metrics and confidently report those numbers to their people. When leaders can access data, and then share those findings with employees, they are one step closer in creating a team culture of trust, transparency, and respect. 

ChartHop ENPS Data Reports example

Layering people data helps leaders determine action items to improve team cultures.

 

Prioritize Your Culture and See Results

If you want your people to do their best work every day, it all starts with your culture. By employing the above 10 tips, you’ll strengthen your practices so your in-person, hybrid, and remote workforce have a positive employee experience every step of the way.

Ultimately, when you create – and constantly improve – your positive workplace culture, you’ll create an environment that supports your people so they can do their best work and reach their full potential.

It’s important to create an inclusive workplace culture so your people can thrive. To do so, you need to keep DEIB top of mind when you make people decisions. Learn how four different people leaders make an impact at their organizations. 

Watch the webinar here

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