Workplace culture goes beyond perks

Register now

Employers can talk about – and implement – all the cool employee benefits they want, but a company won’t be known as a great place to work if it lacks one important thing: a strong culture.

There is a direct correlation between high performance and high culture, Tony Bond, EVP and chief innovation officer, Great Place to Work, said recently during WorldatWork’s Total Rewards Total Rewards conference in San Diego.

And although tech giants and startups are most often thought of when it comes to employers with strong workplace cultures, the phenomenon doesn’t have to be unique to Silicon Valley.

“All of this still holds true no matter what industry you’re in,” Bond said. “Culture exists [whether] you design it or not, so you want to make sure people focus on the right culture.”

The “right culture,” he said, often entails a variety of factors including recognition, strong working relationships, flexibility, transparency, work-life balance and professional development.

Experts have pointed to office culture as an up-and-coming workplace trend. Culture and engagement ranked as the No. 1 trend in Deloitte University Press’ 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report. Yet, only 12% of executives believe their companies are driving the right culture, and fewer than one in three executives even understand their organization’s culture, according to Deloitte.

Having the right culture will pay off handsomely for companies: Employers often placed on “top company” lists have 40 times the amount of job applications for open positions than companies that are not, Bond noted. Those companies also boast employees who are more engaged, more productive and more resilient, he said.

“In the past, organizations were built for stability. There were rigid rules; everything was consistent. But today change is constant,” Bond said, noting that companies have to change as well.
Bond had a few tips for building a strong company culture:

· Offer professional training and development to employees.
· Care about employees as people. “Employers with great workplace culture recognize each employee as a person, as a professional and as a member of society — and they put things in place that recognize that,” he said.
· Align the company. Make sure leaders, managers and employees act in alignment with the desired culture and continued plans for the company, he said.
· Hear employee concerns — and implement changes. Continually ask employees what they want — and act on those desires. “The worst thing you can do is ask how [an employee] feels about things but then not do anything about it,” he said.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.