This post was contributed to Swingvy by guest blogger Simon Hughes.
“Always plan for the future” is a statement we hear often. However, we learned this the hard way through the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Company culture – which is the way companies run their affairs— was affected by the 2020 pandemic, forcing most companies to adopt a flexible or remote work routine for their employees. This routine affected most companies' productivity due to office company culture not translating well into remote working environments. In this article, the importance of developing and maintaining company culture will be discussed.
What is Company Culture?
Company culture can be described as the common values, objectives, beliefs, and patterns of work that define an organisation. It can also be termed as the way of life of a company, how the personnel coexist and how that impacts their productivity. Every organisation has its workplace culture; the only difference, however, is how it is being maximised.Understanding and enhancing a company’s culture should be a top focus of HR personnel, as company culture and employee engagement go hand-in-hand and can therefore make or break an organisation.
Why is Company Culture MoreImportant Than Ever in 2021?
Company culture is important in today’s organisational structure for many reasons:
🔸 Maintaining Employee Retention
Every company wants to hire someone that shares the same values and culture as what their brands stand for! And the main reason why hiring based on shared values matters a lot, is because it brings positive and successful results to the overall growth. When the new employee doesn't match well with the existing culture of the company, that might result in weak work quality and might end up in an unhealthy work environment. Creating a conducive environment that gives employees joy around their work will make them more focused and strive to keep their jobs, but it will also make them work harder. Any company’s activity that prioritises profit over employees’ relationships nowadays will see more workers leaving their jobs.
🔸 Building Employee Trust
An essential element to human relationships is trust. The customs and culture of an organisation determine how trustworthy the employees will be. There must be a high level of transparency amongst the employees and, most especially, between the employer and employees. With trust evident, working remotely will be less of a problem, fostering teamwork, healthy communications, and increased efficiency. When employees feel trusted they are happier in their roles. A company culture of transparency also allows the employees to trust the direction of the company, knowing their roles are secure, they can communicate issues openly.
🔸 Improving Employee Engagement
When employees are aligned and happy with the company culture they are more loyal to a company and feel a connection to the people they work with. They’re more likely to be involved in the workplace, have more energy and are more efficient in their roles.
Engaged employees have been proven to be 21% more productive, impacting company performance in a time when business stability has never been more important. Companies with high engagement rates reduce both turnover and hiring costs as disengaged employees are a major contributing factor to high employee turnover. A highly engaged workforce will therefore not only make for a happier and healthier working environment, but can also boost your company’s profitability.
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🔸 Supporting Employee Mental Health
Throughout the past year, many employees have had a number of external stress factors that can impact their ability to focus or be present in their roles.
● Ongoing pandemic fatigue and uncertainty about the future.
● Fear of the virus, and friends or family members falling ill.
● Job security worries after a year of lay-offs, pay cuts, reduced hours etc.
● Lack of ability to freely travel or see friends and family has led to isolation, no holidays/breaks from work.
All of these factors have had a severe impact on workers mental health. A company culture which prioritises work life balance, downtime, taking holidays, providing mental health support to employees, or open communication lines to raise issues and be heard, can make a huge difference to employees who may be suffering. After the pandemic, the company should give a chance to hybrid work models since it could be beneficial to the employees’ health as long as they maintain work and life balance.
Many employees might prefer to work in co-working spaces since in these places they get to meet other professionals and experts instead of feeling isolated and alone at home.
While when it comes to working from the office the employee should be surrounded by a positive and nourishing environment. Having indoor plants in the office could improve the mood and the health of your employee. Plants have amazing benefits to everyone’s wellbeing, since it enhances the mental health of people. Employees with a stable state of mind tend to be more productive, efficient, and communicate well. As workers are going remote, their mental health should be of great priority.
🔸 Instilling a Sense of Community
In any company, it is indispensable to have workers feel entitled to something bigger than themselves. This is achieved through transparency—a company culture practice. Interacting with the workers and recognising both their individual and collective achievements brings them together as a community, uniting them.
Companies are working hard to support workers in what has been an especially difficult year, while balancing the needs of the business etc. It’s understandable that company culture in many companies has suffered as a result of these changes, but is why it’s more important than ever that it becomes a key focus of business owners and HR personnel, to ensure business continuity and a positive working environment for employees.
To create a good company culture, the employer must always motivate the employees, be interested in employee growth, allow good interpersonal relationships among them, and always listen to their workers.
About the Author
Simon Hughes is a self-employedEmployee Recruitment and Retention Specialist, currently living in Singapore.Simon's main job is to research and develop opportunities to recruit, retain, and promote a culturally diverse workforce. Simon is also a freelance writer, who likes to share tips with people abroad. Effectively balancing big picture thinking and strategic planning with hands-on execution has allowed Simon to combine decisiveness, strong business acumen, and formal education to achieve objectives both professionally and personally.