How Important is Culture for Employee Retention?
Maintaining a healthy workplace culture can be a major factor in staff development and retention. A negative or toxic culture can lead to unhappy or unengaged staff members, substandard work, unhappy clients and high staff turnover. A bad workplace culture will likely push away the best people in your organisation.
Culture and values act as decision-making rules for employees. If clear and understood, employees know how they can be successful, how they can contribute and how they can move forward in their jobs. If employees know how they can be successful and are empowered to do so then they are more likely to be engaged and happy in their work.
Articulate company culture
Firstly an organisation needs to be able to clearly and succinctly articulate their company culture. What are the aligned values, beliefs, behaviours and experiences that make up the organisation’s environment?
Clearly communicating your company culture and ensuring its visibility makes it easier for employees to understand and embrace the values.
Communication is crucial
A workplace culture that prizes honest communication and the giving and receiving of feedback will do wonders for employee retention. Regular meetings, surveys and a leadership level that welcomes and acts on employee feedback are all key to creating an open two-way communication channel. Having this level of communication can shed light on why employees consider leaving. Taking the time to understand disaffected employees means that organisations can work to improve areas of dissatisfaction. By taking time to listen, companies build a culture of loyalty that reduces the risk of turnover.
The management style of your leadership team should be a reflection of your company culture. Through words and actions, the leadership team should embody the values and vision of the organisation. If management isn’t aligned with company values then you run the risk of creating a “double standard” culture. This will undermine trust in management and devalue the company culture.
Poor managers rule by fear and manipulation, creating a “yes man” culture that stifles good ideas. Good leadership creates a culture where employees believe their voices will be heard, even if management does not agree.
Understand the work-life balance
Balancing life and work is increasingly important for employees in deciding whether to stick with an employer. In a healthy organisational culture, managers provide ways to maintain that balance, including flexible schedules, on-site amenities and work-from-home options. Unfortunately, many companies pay little more than lip-service to this, offering these options as performance incentives or building rigid rules into the apparent flexibility. This can end up having the opposite effect, with employees feeling like the promised work-life balance is nothing more than a dangling carrot.
To really retain and grow your employees organisational culture must be more than just a list of values in the employee handbook. It must be lived and breathed from the highest levels of the business. People must understand it and believe in it. They must see it acted out each day. And most importantly, they actually need to experience the tangible benefits of the company values – whether that’s financial benefits, work from home days or simply honest two-way communication with management.