Top 5 ways to improve company culture

Company culture is a cornerstone of business success as staff sign up to an agreed way of working, improving employee wellbeing and the bottom line, but change must be carefully managed


1. Let staff decide company values

let staff decide values

“Planned, generic and dictated from management will not work,” warns consultant Tim Taylor, author of Making Great Leaders. And the right way? “Recognise that employers come to work with their own values. Sit your team around a table and get them to put pen to paper. Ask them to write their core values. This simple process of allowing staff to state their own values makes them feel important, allows them to connect emotionally to the values they’re sharing, and gives a sense of connection and community with fellow co-workers.”

2. Think flexible working hours

flexible working hours

Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services for AXA PPP healthcare, helps companies develop sound working practices. In his experience, flexible working can play a big part in engaging employees. “Understanding your employees’ needs and, if practicable, being flexible about the hours you offer them may result in them being less likely to call in sick,” he says. “Introducing specialist software, such as ShiftPlanning and TimeForce, which can be adopted to allow employees to make changes to their working hours, will give them a greater sense of empowerment.”

3. Offer non-monetary rewards

non monetary rewards

Pay rises are an expensive way to motivate staff. Smaller gestures can work even better. Dynamo PR found tiny contract changes made a big different to its hiring success. Peter Bowles of Dynamo explains: “We had to compete to hire an employee, so we wrote ‘regular chocolate deliveries’ into her contract. We then thought, let’s role this out across the whole company. As the clause is an indulgence, we named it after Don Draper of Mad Men fame.” Does it work? Dynamo was named Best Agency To Work For at the PRWeek Awards last year.

4. Create a steering group

steering group

Managing change needs a strong focus. A steering group can gather input from all departments and offer a single source of information for concerned employees.  Consultancy 360 Workplace is a keen advocate. Leeson Medhurst of 360 Workplace says: “A Change Champions steering group is involved with decision-making, as well as promoting changes to a wider audience. Change management meetings are held on a fortnightly basis, identifying what changes will come into place and how these will be aligned with our new ways of working.”

5. Measure your culture

measure culture

How do you know if you are winning? The only way is to track the performance of your culture. Communications agency Teamspirit uses net promoter score. Managing director Kirsty Maxey says: “Net promoter score allows us to calculate our colleagues’ advocacy of working at Teamspirit. Our goal is for that number to be 9 out of 10 which means that colleagues are actively promoting us as a phenomenal employer. We are currently at 8.92, so we are nearly there, but we are very mindful that creating a dynamic culture is an ongoing process.”