Each year, Fortune and Great Place to Work publish a list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. For the past six years, Google has topped the list. Its company culture is legendary, and by most accounts, it truly is a great place to work.
In addition to free, healthy meals; free transportation; colorful bikes for getting around its vast campus; and college tuition reimbursement, Google employees enjoy work-life perks such as extended paid leave for new parents (dads included) and the ability to devote up to 20 percent of their work time to work on creative projects that they believe will help the company.
Your company may lack the resources of a tech giant, but that’s okay. Building a company culture that you can be proud of doesn’t require spending a lot of money — it requires a strong commitment to making your company a place people love to work.
Start with a Solid Foundation:
As with any successful construction project, you need a solid foundation to work from.
While a number of components, perks, and values can go into a great company culture, focusing on these four core areas listed below is an excellent starting point:
Vision and Values – Does your company have a clear vision and core values, and if it does, are employees clear on what they are? Do they share them? Are they excited about them?
Engagement – Engaged employees are less likely to leave the company in favor of a better job. Increasing engagement at work is win-win, but it’s an initiative in its own right. Some of the keys to inspiring engagement include: providing meaningful work, clarity and direction; offering positive feedback; giving employees a sense of ownership over their work, and allowing employees the opportunity to contribute to the company’s success.
Balance – Employees look for balance between their professional and family lives. A company culture that allows for the occasional school play, sets aside time for volunteer work, and offers flex time or telecommuting options makes it easier for employees to find that balance.
Recognition – Have you ever worked really hard, only to have your efforts go unnoticed? It’s demoralizing, and you’re not incentivized to repeat the effort if no one seemed to care one way or the other.
In contrast, a few appreciative words can make all the difference. A small reward, even something as simple as getting out of work a few hours early on a Friday afternoon multiplies the impact of that recognition.
If you’re reading this, you’ve already taken the first step building a company culture you can be proud of. Let’s transform it from a well intentioned thought and turn it into reality. You can use Google’s culture statement for inspiration.
Now define your vision for your company’s culture. What does it look like? Write it down.
You now have vision to guide you as you build a foundation of values, engagement, balance, and recognition. Be generous with positive feedback, and recognize contributions large and small. Implement policies that give employees a greater sense of control over their work so they can truly shine.
When the company culture you want is clearly defined, and within your reach – grab it.
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