Your company culture is no small part of your organization’s success. Culture sets the tone for everything your team does, directly affecting employee engagement and productivity. As a result, the quality of your company culture impacts your bottom line — for better or worse.
Company culture is defined as a set of values, expectations, and practices that guide your team each day. You can observe culture through the actions of managers and employees, but sometimes it’s difficult to describe or quantify. It’s not just a mission statement or statement of values, though these can help show what you want your culture to be.
You need the right words to describe where your company culture is now and where you want it to go. For current team members, defining your culture fosters a sense of unity and ensures everyone is on the same page. And describing your culture in clear, powerful language helps attract more talented employees who align well with your organization.
Here are 17 words that describe great company cultures, along with a few terms that apply to failing cultures.
A rewarding workplace starts with building a culture of recognition. That means recognizing employees for all their contributions to the team, both big and small. When employees feel truly valued, they’re more engaged and productive. For best results, adopt an employee recognition solution that enables frequent, personalized social and monetary recognition — the latter in the form of a points-based reward system. This lets employees choose rewards they actually want and easily award points to other team members.
Employee engagement is directly linked to the productivity of your team. But it can be tricky to measure just how engaged employees really are. That’s where employee engagement platforms come in — they enable employee voice by giving you direct, easy-to-access methods to gather, analyze, and act on employee feedback. Using tools like pulse surveys and always-on, AI-powered HR chatbots, these platforms make employees feel heard and give your organization access to the insights it needs to act on institutional problems before they impact its bottom line.
Going to work every day becomes a chore if your organization doesn’t provide opportunities for growth. Employees crave a challenge — one that’s stimulating, exciting, and gets them out of bed in the morning. It’s important for managers to foster a work environment where employees not only feel empowered to take on new challenges, but have the resources they need to succeed.
Every job is more enjoyable when you have colleagues that share in your successes and help with setbacks. Collaboration builds morale and gives your employees a sense of identity within the organization. It helps build a stronger team that can weather both the good times and bad.
Not every moment at work needs to be a blast, but it’s important to take time to have fun with your team. Building camaraderie through playing games or organizing an outing gives employees a chance to be themselves and get to know each other better. Give your team members a chance to let their hair down and be themselves, and they’ll respond with renewed motivation.
With remote work rapidly becoming the new normal, it’s more important than ever to actively foster connection and belonging at your organization. Employees with a strong sense of belonging are twice as likely to say they’d recommend their organization to others and that they’re enthusiastic about their job. Aligning company and employee values, ensuring all employees feel accepted and welcomed, and regularly practicing recognition are just a few of the ways to support belonging at work. It’s also important to have regular, scheduled check-ins with your team and keep tabs on how everyone’s doing — without micromanaging.
If you want your team to trust and respect you, transparency is a must. That means regularly updating your team on company operations and being honest at all times. Even during a crisis, leadership must address problems head on to avoid losing the confidence of their staff.
Creating a diverse and inclusive culture is vital to your company’s success. Harvard Business Review found that the most diverse enterprises enjoy 9% higher earnings before taxes and income (EBIT) margins. And McKinsey discovered that organizations that fall in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above the median for their industry. Creating an inclusive culture means more than just having a diverse workforce, of course. Ensure that everyone on your team, regardless of background, feels valued, respected, and involved.
The first days, weeks, and months at a new job set the tone for everything that comes after. A welcoming onboarding process can mean the difference between a successful, long career at your organization and a dissatisfied employee who leaves for a competitor in short order. When new employees emerge from onboarding feeling like part of a team, knowing what they have to do and how to do it, they’ll continually strengthen your organizational culture.
The world is always changing, and sooner or later your company will need to innovate to stay competitive and relevant. Young, talented employees are particularly drawn to companies that are willing to think outside the box and try new strategies to keep them engaged and happy at work. Leadership should serve as examples by showing and rewarding creativity to set the tone for a culture of innovation.
Flexibility at work includes everything from offering employees a variety of scheduling options to allowing team members to work remotely when it makes sense. Employees appreciate the benefits to work-life balance and their daily work experience that flexibility brings. A true culture of flexibility goes beyond this, however, and encompasses an agile, adaptable approach to work where employees aren’t afraid to adjust processes to improve a project or reach a goal.
Especially when situations feel dire, it’s important to set a positive tone to keep employee morale up. Positivity gives people hope and a reason to keep going, even on bad days. A positive culture goes hand-in-hand with a transparent, healthy, and fun workplace.
Want to see your team really grow? A company culture that motivates employees to do their best work and take on new challenges can take your team’s productivity to new heights. This starts with showing appreciation to employees for their hard work by developing an organization-wide employee recognition program.
Trust is the cornerstone of a great company culture. When employees trust managers, they feel secure and confident in their work. They believe in organizational goals because they trust the people who set them, so they’ll go above and beyond in pursuit of these milestones. Establishing mutual trust among the whole team is a must for aligning employees with your organizational culture, a driver of sustained business success.
Employees who feel inspired do work that really shines. But how do you foster a company culture that leads to everyday inspiration? Start by defining your company values — having a strong sense of who you are and what you want to accomplish helps set meaningful goals all team members buy into.
Emotions can get messy, but ignoring them will only cause problems to fester. Instead, listen to your employees when they speak and show that you empathize with the issues they raise. Foster an environment of psychological safety where employees feel comfortable expressing themselves honestly — whether in person or through an anonymous feedback channel. Then show team members that your organization truly understands their concerns by acting on their feedback.
A healthy work culture is one that prioritizes employees’ physical and emotional wellness. Establishing employee wellness programs helps your team avoid burnout and form healthy habits that will benefit them on and off the job. Team members take notice when their employer shows it’s invested in them as people, not just as employees.
4 words you don’t want to hear
Of course, not every word used to describe company culture is positive. These are a few that you don’t want to hear bandied about at your company.
Chronic stress in the workplace eventually leads to burnout. Be sure to offer employees ample time to take breaks and recuperate from stressful tasks, and listen to their needs before it’s too late.
High turnover rates, low employee morale, poor communication, and a fear of speaking up are all signs of a toxic workplace. If this sounds like your company culture, start finding solutions to address these issues immediately.
Teamwork is important, but silos can hinder collaboration between employees. Try breaking down barriers by improving communication and setting goals that everyone can get behind.
While keeping tabs on your team is important, no employee likes feeling that their boss is breathing down their neck. Micromanaging implies a lack of trust in your employees and is detrimental to confidence and productivity. Managers should approach their role as a coach, placing trust in their team, cheering them on, and providing support as needed.
Earn rave reviews for your company culture
Employee engagement is at the heart of all great company cultures. Engagement starts with listening to your employees and giving them a real voice in the workplace. Rewards and recognition also play a key role in keeping employees engaged for years to come.
Achievers Listen is an easy-to-use employee engagement platform backed by science. Its mobile capabilities let everyone on your team provide anonymous feedback where and when they prefer. Robust reporting and analytics features guide your managers from insight to action so employees see the impact of their feedback before they get discouraged.
And it even integrates with Achievers Recognize, an award-winning, mobile-friendly recognition platform. Achievers Recognize makes recognition a part of each employee’s daily experience thanks to engaging social recognition features and a points-based reward system supported by Achievers’ exceptional rewards marketplace.
Start building a culture your employees will brag about by trying a free demo of the Achievers Employee Experience Platform today.