In the past few years, we’ve seen employees demanding better work/life balance, higher wages, valuable benefits, and employers who hold the same values as them.
In response, employers have to ask what they can do to let their human elements shine through. That’s really what company culture is, isn’t it? It’s your company’s personality — its sense of humor, philanthropic efforts, vision, beliefs, etc.
We, as employees, absolutely want to see our bosses — and, by extension, the companies we work for — be human. We want to know what truly matters to you and your organization — so let that flag fly.
Here are some things you can do to show off your company’s human element and cultivate a positive company culture that brings top talent to your door:
1. Treat Your People Like Family
Having worked at startups, small businesses, and huge corporations, I’ve seen firsthand that smaller companies tend to treat their employees like family rather than cogs in the machine. These companies value employees’ input and listen to employees’ advice and ideas.
Larger companies already have successful business models in place. They just need staff members to keep operations running smoothly, so it’s easy to understand why culture can fall by the wayside in these organizations. However, large companies should take a cue from smaller ones and start working toward better cultures. Doing so will result in better employee and customer relations.
2. Recognize Hard Work
Publicly recognize your employees’ good work and accomplishments. Employees crave acknowledgement, and noticing and rewarding their achievements fosters a positive workplace culture. Awards, cash bonuses, or extra PTO days for exceptional results are all great ways to convey appreciation.
3. Offer Cool Benefits and Perks
Startups and small businesses tend to offer more generous benefit packages, partly because they can’t offer salaries as large as their bigger competitors can. Stocked kitchens with free snacks and coffee, in-house massages, unlimited PTO, free weekly yoga classes, volunteer days — there are many inexpensive and cool perks that companies can provide their employees.
4. Hire Employees That Jive With Your Company’s Personality
To nurture your company’s culture, it is important to hire employees who share your vision and believe in the same things you do. It would make absolutely no sense to bring in employees who could disrupt your collaborative, positive environment.
Make sure your future hires mesh well with your current staff. Hold conversational interviews where candidates can meet their potential teammates to chat about work experience, hobbies, and interests. Get to know candidates as people to get a real feel for their personalities.
5. Philanthropy: Get Into It!
My favorite question to ask prospective employers during interviews is, “What do you do to give back to the community?” Charitable endeavors are very important to me, and I look for companies that place them at the cores of their corporate values.
There are so many ways to get your employees involved in doing something for the greater good. You can organize blood drives, toy collections for needy children around the holidays, fundraisers for natural disaster relief, and more. In my experience, these events are always received well by employees — and they’re great PR opportunities, too.
The Long and Short of It: Be Human
Figure out what really matters to you and what your company’s values are, then build on those characteristics and values to create a meaningful culture. Offer your employees a fun, collaborative workplace where they can be happy and productive.
Are you a nerd? Hire a bunch of Star Wars lovers like my boss did, and then have debates about whether The Force Awakens was too much like A New Hope. These are the kinds of experiences that humanize your organization. These are the things that build your company culture and draw candidates and customers to you.