“Create the kind of workplace and company culture that will attract great talent. If you hire brilliant people, they will make work feel more like play.” Richard Branson

Many of us have heard this term ‘company culture’ thrown around, but what exactly does it mean? And how does it affect your team’s productivity?

In a study conducted by Gallup in 2011-2012 across 142 countries and areas, they found that 24% of employees were ‘actively disengaged’, 63% were ‘not engaged’, meaning just 13% of workers surveyed were actually engaged in their jobs. This is a staggering statistic that speaks volumes about the effort (or lack of) that businesses are putting into their company’s culture. With studies that showing time and time again that happy employees are harder working and more productive than their unhappy counterparts, not paying attention to your company’s culture can be detrimental to your business’s success.

So what factors into a good company culture?

Company Culture How To Engage Your Team

1. The people

Co-workers can make all the difference in a workplace. An office full of arguments, bullying and rumour-spreading doesn’t make for a good place to work and companies who don’t deal with these issues often see a high turnover of employees and, as a result, increased staffing costs.

Many workplaces have a variety of personalities, and knowing how each type of person prefers to communicate is important in knowing how to set targets, conduct meetings and generally work with them. (One system that is very popular among large fortune 500 companies is the Myers-Briggs personality index, which has often been described as ‘scarily accurate’. 16personalities.com has a test you can take for free.)

Many companies conduct rigorous hiring processes to avoid ‘hiring jerks‘ and, as a result, ensure that the people that do join their teams have their values in line with the company’s and that their personalities blend in with the rest of the team.

JM Purple collaboration zones

2. The office

A well-branded, well-laid out office can make a huge difference when it comes to company culture. Many of us have seen the videos of slides in Google’s offices or seen photos of the sweet shop or nap pods at Facebook’s HQ. While you don’t have to go to quite extremes to engage and motivate your employees, approaching your office with the mindset of making it not only a place where people love to be but also a place where they WANT to be at their most productive and do great work.

Having your office designed and fitted out is a great opportunity to implement corporate change & steer human behaviour. This being the case, if a fit out or refurbishment is approached using a unique evidence-based design process (designing your office around your current uses and needs), the power to positively impact your company culture throughout is almost unparalleled.

3. The mission

Why does your company exist in the first place? Do your employees want to achieve the same thing(s)? If not, you have a problem with value alignment.

Ensuring that your team understands your company’s mission and values is imperative to motivating them and keeping them actively engaged in the workplace. Setting SMART targets that your team can focus on, both as a company and individually, can motivate and steer them in the right direction when it comes to doing great work that not only benefits the company financially, but also creates a culture of achievement and success on a micro and macro level.

Why not survey your team anonymously and ask them about their opinion on the company’s mission and goals? This could provide valuable insights into how aligned they are with what you are trying to achieve.

4. The opportunities

Stephen in marketing has come up with a great new idea of how to improve some of the processes in sales. What happens next? If Stephen has to go through a dozen people and various roadblocks to get his new idea even considered, let alone implemented, chances are he’ll feel like his ideas are worth nothing and won’t bother in the future.

What if this idea could have saved the company time and money? Now we have an employee who feels unappreciated and a lost opportunity.

The hypothetical situation described happens far too often in the workplace. Assuming you’ve hired capable people whose values are aligned with the company’s, there should be no reason that workers like Stephen shouldn’t be able to easily bring new ideas to the table and potentially make a big impact on the company’s processes.

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