“Customers are never going to love a company unless the employees love it first.” –Simon Sinek
Corporate wellness begins with a healthy company culture. A company’s culture is like its fingerprint—completely unique. That culture is often shaped by its founder’s vision, shared values, and the people hired to bring that vision to life.
Creating a healthy company culture should be a deliberate process. It doesn’t happen overnight and it requires ongoing effort to maintain, but once developed, the value added to the organization as a whole is well worth it. A healthy company culture can improve employee satisfaction, reduce turnover, and attract top talent.
Here are five essential elements of creating a healthy company culture:
- Define and implement the company’s core values
- Create connection and belonging among all workers including leadership
- Develop communication between leadership and employees, and between employees themselves
- Ensure leadership transparency
- Recognize and celebrate your workforce
Let’s explore the first essential element of a healthy company culture: defining and implementing your company’s values.
Your company’s values are the foundation of your culture. They guide decision-making and shape interactions with employees, customers, and vendors. Defining your values early on will help you build a culture that is aligned with your company’s mission and goals.
Core values are embedded in your organization’s mission, vision, and principles. Consider them to be the DNA of your company’s identity. Like a “brand,” both employees and clients should have a strong sense of the values that your company embraces.
Don’t think that just because the core values or mission statement (or both) are printed in black and white in your company handbook that your workforce will immediately embody the values you’ve decided upon for your business. If those values haven’t been pointed out and are not exhibited at all times as the essence of the company, your employees may not even know they exist.
Determining and defining the company values is such a critical step to ensuring an excellent and healthy culture that if you haven’t determined the company values yet, put that down as emergency meeting number one. Then sit down with your management team and begin to brainstorm your company’s own set of The Golden Rule. HubSpot has a great list of core values to check out. A standard list would look something like the list below, but you can add or subtract at will:
- Integrity. Making strong ethics a priority for everyone representing the organization and the organization itself.
- Honesty. Act in a transparent, trustworthy manner that earns the respect of colleagues, customers, and the public.
- Fairness. Everyone is treated fairly as they deserve and expect.
- Accountability. Taking responsibility for your actions (and inactions), which builds and maintains trust.
- Promise to Customers. Creating a great customer experience begins with staying true to the words we speak and the bonds we make.
- Diversity and Inclusion. Bringing in people of different lived experiences and backgrounds into a shared safe environment wherein everyone has an equal opportunity to excel.
- Humility. Agreeing that nobody has all the answers. A culture of learning and openness creates an environment of innovation.
- Health. Creating a healthy corporate environment and encouraging physical, mental and emotional health for all employees.
- Celebration. Celebrating the organization and the people who share the work together and bring the company to life.
- Communication. Promoting and maintaining excellent communication between leadership and employees, employees and themselves, and the organization and the public in order to create excellent relationships.
The most successful companies are those whose employees share a common set of values. Make sure that all employees are aware of the company’s values. This should happen in the onboarding process but can be implemented at any time.
Shine a bright spotlight on those values. Don’t hide them, don’t think that employees at all levels have embraced them. Make sure that your workforce feels these values as if they were tangible.
Encourage all team members to embody these values every day, including training-leaders and all management. Exemplifying those values via actions, not just words, will go a long way toward shaping your company culture, because it will encourage your employees to take on those values themselves.
Creating shared core values is so important to a healthy company culture. When employees understand and embody the core values of the company, they feel connected to it; this connection helps fuel motivation, energy, and loyalty. It’s a win-win for the entire company.