In many ways, right now is a moment of profound change and opportunity.
As high vaccination numbers allow the United States to begin to get “back to normal,” many companies are grappling with the question of what exactly the “new normal” will look like, operationally speaking. Many believe we’re in the midst of a paradigm shift with vast implications for the workforce.
Massive corporations, such as Microsoft, are dabbling with the “hybrid work week,” which means splitting time between being physically in the office and telecommuting from home, while others still are allowing employees to work from home indefinitely. We could spend pages examining the pros and cons of the hybrid work week but I’m most immediately interested in the impact that a remote or hybrid work schedule will have on company culture and, in turn, HR functions such as: recruitment and talent acquisition, staff retention, and employee experience.
Changing company culture presents both challenges and opportunities and it is more important than ever to reinforce a sense of unity and connection among employees.
Talent acquisition, employee recruitment, and staff retention challenges will grow in the coming months, and forward-looking companies are being proactive in reinforcing company culture to:
- Attract the attention of talent in a competitive labor landscape
- Increase employee satisfaction to boost productivity
- Improve the long-term employee experience and therefore retention
Maintaining good company culture and a positive employee experience
Over the last few decades, startups and tech giants alike have embraced the idea of building strong company culture and fostering a sense of community in the workplace for one simple reason: happy workers are productive workers and unhappy workers can impact the entire organization.
When well-rooted and regularly nurtured, company culture is something that will continue to grow stronger over time. The mere term “company culture” may at first seem fuzzy and even daunting to define in practical terms. But the long-term benefits of intentionally building a strong company culture are undisputed in terms of employee satisfaction, productivity, employee retention, and even the positive impact on recruitment and talent acquisition.
Companies that foster a creative, open workplace are also more likely to find that their team members in turn help to reinforce it. In other words, a team that feels a strong sense of place and belonging will in turn help perpetuate the very same positive company culture and reinforce efforts from the top. In that sense, investing in bold and creative initiatives to make your employees feel a sense of place and belonging is an investment in your team’s long-term cohesion and efficacy.
Moving through the second half of the year toward 2022, the burden will be on management to encourage and welcome their teams back to a positive company culture that encourages teams to bring their very best and to maximize growth that will likely require strong recruitment and talent acquisition programs.
1. Conveying a positive company culture plays a key role in recruitment and talent acquisition
Right now, we are at a pivotal place coming out of the pandemic that created mass disruptions in the workforce as businesses shuttered due to lockdown restrictions and many companies lost talented team members. In fact, as a result, many states are facing industry-wide labor shortages as companies clamor nationwide for the same talent. The need for labor has even led retail giant Amazon to offer $1,000 sign-on bonuses for high-demand jobs in an attempt to attract applicants!
What this tells us, is that the labor market is red hot right now and many businesses simply can’t fill their open positions! And when all else is equal, prospective hires will overwhelmingly choose to work for the company with a sterling reputation for a positive company culture that supports team members, fosters a creative and collaborative environment, and invests in long-term skill development.
And speaking of reputation, it’s important to consider the positive impact that word-of-mouth can have when it comes to finding new applicants. As the saying goes, “A players attract A players, while B players attract C players.” Isn’t it natural for talented individuals to want to work with other talented people, supported by management that makes team members feel valued? Attracting the best possible talent is critical to businesses that want to maintain a competitive edge!
I can think of countless key hires that happened solely because of the encouragement from an old college friend or former colleague who loves the energy and “vibe” in their workplace! In that sense, companies that invest in a positive employee experience and good company culture are also investing in maximizing success with recruiting and talent acquisition.
After all, so much of business is about personal connections and relationships.
Ideas for fostering community: If your company plans to allow remote work long-term or will continue with a hybrid model, creating opportunities for your staff to come together outside of meetings will be essential. Implementing after-hours digital mixers, regular company gatherings, and other bonding opportunities go a long way toward fostering a sense of community and enabling crucial connections that will allow your team to collaborate more effectively. Take every opportunity to promote these events in meaningful ways.
Companies that invest in a positive employee experience and good company culture are also investing in maximizing success with recruiting and talent acquisition.
2. Employee satisfaction means increased productivity
While the idea that happy workers are more productive than their unhappy counterparts isn’t new, it remained impossible to prove for years. However, research published in 2019 by the Oxford Business School established a conclusive link that happy workers are, in fact, more productive—up to 13% more so! And while anyone who has managed people doesn’t need a study to know it intuitively, the research does create additional urgency for maintaining a positive company culture that emphasizes employee experience and employee satisfaction.
It has been my observation that the very best business leaders and managers are the ones who made a conscious effort to support their staff and to create an environment that encourages creativity, constant collaboration and helps strengthen team connections, all while letting employees know they are valued. In other words, they create the best possible employee experience within their business constraints. These efforts can take a variety of forms.
Thinking in terms of how to best communicate with your staff regularly that they are valued. This could be via in-person or digital business social events that shine a spotlight on outstanding individual work or that say “thank you” to the whole staff for all of the hard work they’ve put in these last sixteen months. But no matter the form, you should be thinking of ways to communicate with your staff regularly to let them know that they are valued. Sometimes, that is something as simple as a personalized “thank you” card.
Idea: Implement staff recognitions that highlight outstanding work and reward talent. A simple handwritten note from an executive will communicate to your staff that talent and hard work don’t go unnoticed!
3. Favorable employee experience focus increases staff retention
Whether or not we admit it, there’s more than a glimmer of truth in the adage that, “people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses” or, looking at the bigger picture, companies that don’t seem to care about their staff.
Countless articles examine the reasons why employees leave their jobs and how to prevent turnover, and while they all offer a slightly different nuanced take, the reasons always seem to come back to the same issues relating to poor company culture. Even more crucially, maintaining a positive workplace will help ensure a positive reputation with current and former employees.
A negative reputation concerning company culture is, at minimum, a short-term headache. In the worst case, it is a death sentence as brain drain and staff defections drag down efficiency and ability to attract top talent to “backfill” turnover. After all, who would want to stay at, or go to, a company that doesn’t invest in its people and that doesn’t promote a sense of belonging and connection?
Investing proactively in a positive company culture that prioritizes employees will go a long way toward keeping talent at your company and help to avoid the endless cycle of onboarding and training new staff.
Surprise and Delight Your Staff with Awesome 3D Cards
If you’re looking for a unique way to send an electrifying message to your staff and rekindle excitement about collaborating in the workplace, consider using a versatile and dynamic 3D pop-up card. When I founded Awesome 3D Cards, I did so to provide clients with a versatile tool to help establish and further meaningful personal connections. Awesome 3D Cards are used by businesses everywhere for a range of purposes including maintaining personal connections with staff as part of positive company culture programs.
Awesome 3D Cards are the perfect employee recognition tool for:
1. Expressing general staff appreciation – After the last year and a half, it’s more important than ever to show appreciation to employees and continue to actively create space for the community, even as employees may continue to work from home on a hybrid or full-time basis.
2. Celebrating individual excellence – Whether you’re looking to mark the completion of a major project, or simply highlight individual excellence in the workplace, an Awesome 3D Card with a handwritten note from a company higher-up will go a long way toward showing that talent and team contributions are appreciated and seen.
3. Announce events or new programs – Announcements need to be seen, and they need to be remembered. Physical interaction with a tactile product enables that in a way that emails or flyers on bulletin boards cannot.
4. Leaving an impression on highly-sought talent – Sending a customized 3D card might seem like a small gesture but it is the perfect way to stand out and make a powerful statement about what kind of workplace you are and the thought and creativity you put into cultivating company culture.
Are you looking for additional ways to motivate and celebrate your staff? Schedule your free consultation to discuss how Awesome 3D Cards can help make the return to the office a positive and memorable one!