A recent CareerBuilder survey suggests that 21% of workers plan to change jobs this year -– a 17% jump from last year, and the highest percentage since the recession.
VISIT ALSO: Whether You’ve Outgrown Your Home Office
For employers, this turnover rate can be a frightening thought, especially when you consider the potential impact that the loss of an employee can have on productivity and morale. In this competitive environment, many employers are likely wondering how to keep their brightest stars and how to bring promising fresh blood neatly into the fold.
Not long ago, Big Spaceship held a hack day, in which members of our crew could self-organize to produce anything that made our agency a better place. There were a number of results — from solutions for a healthy workplace to tools to appreciate daily moments of humor and joy. Big Spaceship has been evolving its culture for 14 years, but it wasn’t until recently that a printed book -– a rarity in the digital age -– would illuminate the ins and outs of our company values and what they mean to employees new and old.
Turns out, this simple reminder of our values has been a key ingredient in keeping our already tight-knit crew as cohesive as ever. It’s helped the youngest and newest staff members feel engaged and confident, and encouraged the most senior employees to remain open-minded. Culture is organic; it changes and it can’t be dictated by one person.
As your company begins to look inward to attract and retain employees, here are five tips that any business can use to create its own culture manual.
You can’t mandate culture,
A successful manual must be a manifestation of the culture that already exists at your company. Its origins should be completely organic –- a far cry from many corporate environments, in which a single person or committee is responsible for dictating the culture. Remember: Your culture may be encouraged from the top-down, but it will only take hold from the bottom-up.
One of the ways that smart business leaders can spur this phenomenon is by actively putting hiring power into their employees’ hands and allowing them input on who joins their environment.Google, renowned for its organic culture, is a great example of this; the company institutes committees when taking on new hires, naturally helping everyone feel involved and valued.
Balance friendly encouragement with tough love,
People appreciate the honest truth, because it means you respect their intelligence. A lot of things that make a company great require sacrifices, and your manual should tell both sides of the story.
Encourage your employees to ask for help when they need it; feeling supported is absolutely essential to maintaining worker happiness. But don’t let them get too comfortable. Force them to take initiative and, instead of complaining, take it upon themselves to make changes when and how they see fit. Happiness and productivity both stem as equally from independence and confidence as they do from a sense of support.
People will pitch in if you give them freedom and time,
Freedom and time are golden. In the modern workplace, these are two attributes that can be extremely hard to come by — especially when it seems as if every half-hour a new meeting alert pops up. Technology is turning many employees’ ways of life into a vicious cycle, transforming them into slaves to their calendars.
Don’t let your employees become cogs in the wheel. Give them permission to take a step back from the grind and make culture a priority, not an add-on. Sometimes the best brief will say, “Here’s the general space we’re playing in. The rest is up to you.”
Stand for something,
Studies have proven that purpose-driven brands have greater success than those that are only concerned with maximizing shareholder value. But aligning your company with certain beliefs and behaviors also means that not everyone will be a perfect fit within the company’s culture. To be straightforward at Big Spaceship, we list our values on our careers page, because we know it will help attract the right kind of people — and let others know they might be better off elsewhere.
Southwest Airlines is a brand that’s been lauded for being particularly purpose-driven in recent years. They’ve built up a reputation for being hard-working, respectful and, perhaps most importantly, laid back and friendly. They stay away from candidates who don’t fit the bill, and these efforts have paid off: The company has only a 2% turnover rate.
Find the themes that define the way you work,
It’s important that every workplace articulate its unique features and create themes, both internally and externally, that can be narrowed down and shared with all employees.Defining distinct pillars will help your employees feel grounded in their day-to-day, and will keep the sometimes numerous and potentially overwhelming aspects of your culture in perspective.
Zappos is successful at this type of transparency. Its list of ten core values, while a bit lengthy, manages to convey a simple and flexible framework within which its employees can work and play. It’s a strategy that’s worked for us, as well. Our manual has three chapters: the first is about embracing humanity in the workplace, the second is about collaboration and the third is “We Change.”
Dear Patron’s, how do you inspire Go-ahead in the workplace? Share in the comments.