If you’ve worked at more than one job in your lifetime, you’ve probably noticed a difference in each company’s work environment. Maybe you’ve even felt that you “fit in” at one company more than another. Why is this exactly? What are the factors at play that can create such vastly different atmospheres in how a company “feels”? Likely, the key differences come down to company culture and how inclusive that culture is. Let’s look at company culture, why it’s so important, and the key components in creating an inclusive culture where all your employees feel like part of the team.
What is Company Culture?
Company culture is a workplace concept that includes a business’ priorities, values, goals, and mission. Culture is more conceptual than tangible, so some professionals may argue that there are other factors that play into the creation of company culture. While there is room for discussion, the basic elements listed above are essential to any company culture. When they’re missing or not clearly defined, companies may find that they lack a clear culture. Worse yet, they could even be in jeopardy of creating a negative culture.
Why does creating an inclusive company culture matter in the first place? Simply put, it makes for happier, more motivated employees. When employees feel positive about where they work, they are more likely to foster good relationships with coworkers and be more productive in their jobs. They may even stay with the company longer, which makes maintaining a healthy company culture a critical component of your organizational success.
4 Ways to Create An Inclusive Culture
We know that company culture is important and that taking the time to create a positive, inclusive culture can positively impact both employees and the company. But if you’re going to take it a step further and build an inclusive culture and start reaping the benefits in your business, these tips can help you start paving the way for a company culture that your employees will love.
- Communicate Regularly With Employees
Communication is crucial to your company’s success, so it’s safe to say that this is probably the most important component in creating an inclusive culture. Effective communication can come in many forms: monthly staff meetings, individual check-ins, company-wide surveys, regular email updates, etc. When employees feel like they’re in the know about company happenings, they will feel more engaged in the business overall.
Communication can also come in the form of praise and critique. Let employees know what they are doing well and how they can improve. This can be accomplished in formal reviews or casual conversations. Critique employees with kindness when necessary, but also make sure to celebrate successes! If an employee has successfully completed a large project or impressed a client, be sure to give them a shout-out and show them that their hard work does not go unnoticed.
- Foster a Space to Share Ideas
Create a space in your workplace that allows employees to be comfortable with sharing their input. During your regular meetings, be clear that ideas and opinions are welcome! This makes employees feel personally invested and involved with your company. Encourage new ideas and don’t put them down – show your employees that you are listening and giving their ideas the thought they deserve.
- Create Chances to Connect
This tip is quite possibly the most enjoyable one on this list! To encourage an inclusive culture in the workplace, offer opportunities for employees to interact with their coworkers outside of normal work conversation. These connections can come in many forms, including company book clubs, office lunches, volunteer days, off-site teambuilding days, and company holiday parties. You can even encourage these moments by making an inviting common area where employees can take a break during their work days. The ideas here are limitless, so have fun with them!
- Top-Down Transparency
Transparency from company leadership is essential when creating an inclusive culture. When communicating to employees through the various means previously mentioned, be sure to share important information about the company that is relevant to them. This information may include organizational changes, departmental processes, quarterly financials, and company goals. It may even be worthwhile to give employees the roadmap of the company — such as where leadership expects business to be in 1, 5, and 10 years. These details give employees some personal buy-in to the company’s future and inform them of what it will take to accomplish its goals.
Company culture isn’t tangible or measurable, but it is obvious when a company has a positive, inclusive culture or a negative, toxic culture. Investing the time and effort to foster an inclusive culture can reap positive benefits for your business and employees, so start implementing those changes today! With an open, communicative environment where ideas are welcome and people can connect, you can create an inclusive culture that will produce happier, more motivated employees.