Corporate culture is a nebulous, buzzword-type concept that all CEOs talk about—but few truly know how to master.
The proof: there have been enough listicles published about corporate culture to make up an encyclopedia. Glassdoor is full of positive employee reviews raving about the “great culture” of firms big and small, especially in the domain of tech giants. It makes you wonder whether those free shuttle services and in-house chiropractors are worth it after all.
We’re here to assure you that it is possible to improve your corporate culture. And no, you don’t have to invest in trending fringe benefits to do so.
Things get easier when you realize that corporate culture comes from three distinct places:
- Leadership behavior
- Employee reciprocation
- Corporate structure
Making waves in each of these areas will help you expedite changes in your company culture. However, before you go nuts enacting initiatives, it’s worth noting that some changes (magically) involve all three.
As an example, we’ll look at one startlingly simple concept: employee recognition.
How Employee Recognition Can Change Corporate Culture
Employee Recognition From the Top Down
Most businesspeople assume that corporate culture spawns directly from the vision of the employer. While we know there are other important factors at stake, we can all concede that every significant corporate change starts from the top.
That’s why leadership behavior is the first area worth examining.
Let’s say you, as a CEO, manager or HR professional, choose to roll out a new system for employee recognition. Maybe you’re blocking off an hour each week to send thankful emails to your direct reports or implementing a full-scale employee recognition program. Either way, this could result in a positively impactful change for you and your team.
Emphasizing employee recognition means consistently seeking to acknowledge employees’ accomplishments instead of highlighting their faults. It also means valuing effort, growth, and emotional intelligence over task-related success. Furthermore, it means shifting your focus ever-so-slightly away from numbers and instead focusing on the faces looking up at you as you walk through the office.
With employee recognition, those faces—those people—are going to see a difference. And they’re going to respond in kind.
Employees Reciprocate a Change in Culture
What employees want more than anything else—more than bigger salaries, better benefits, or trendy office perks—is to be respected and valued at work.
Christine Porath surveyed over 20,000 employees and discovered that when leaders showed respect for their teams, those employees showed 55% increased engagement. More importantly, they experienced 89% more satisfaction in their jobs and were more likely to stay with the organization.
Improving your strategy of employee recognition helps your team become more positive, passionate, and productive. That’s the kind of atmosphere that catches fire in offices across the country.
When employees feel recognized and respected, they are way more motivated to buy the change you’re selling.
They might start recognizing their peers. They might offer their own successes for public celebration. They might nominate their team members for managerial recognition and subsequent rewards. And they might give positive recognition back to you, their leader.
Because of its incredible power, employee reciprocation is the most important of all three elements discussed here. As such, it’s one of the major points CEOs struggle with. It’s the main reason we hesitate before pushing new processes and ideas out to our team. There’s really no way to ensure that our employees will love a new idea as much as we do.
If you genuinely want your corporate culture to change, employee participation is absolutely necessary. Employee engagement can mean the difference between an idea that dies in the flyer-on-the-bathroom-door stage and an idea that goes on to create radical company-wide transformation.
How Employee Recognition Shapes Corporate Structure
We’ve all seen what happens when a CEO champions a new idea, and very few employees on the floor adopt it. The new initiative is seen as cheesy at best or manipulative at worst—and the way to avoid that outcome is to make sure your new corporate culture is baked into every structure of your company.
For instance, here are a few ways you can build employee recognition into major structures at your firm:
- Reserve (and use) a small portion of your budget to personally reward employees when they meet certain metrics or achieve success.
- Include employee recognition at every department or company-wide meeting.
- Record triumphs for each employee throughout the year, and recognize them together in annual or bi-annual reviews.
- Establish an open forum for employees to share recognition, and encourage or require each individual to post recognition for their colleagues on a quarterly basis.
- Publicly award big projects, bonuses, custom uniforms, or leadership positions to employees who excel in their roles.
- Establish an intuitive and motivating employee rewards program.
Corporate culture may be elusive to define and tough to explain. But by pursuing changes at the leadership, employee, and structural levels, it’s definitely possible to make big changes in the way your company looks and feels.
Without any one of these elements, this three-legged stool would fail to function—but with careful attention, you can create a truly sustainable change in your organization.
That’s why concepts like employee recognition, which can easily impact all three fronts, are the most valuable.
If you’re looking for a way to boost employee recognition in your company and watch it affect corporate culture on the ground floor, we recommend starting with a high-quality employee incentive program. Your employees will be incentivized, recognized, and rewarded for their hard work in ways they find meaningful—like valuable gifts from big name brands.
While you’re training your managers on recognition strategies and rolling out a platform for employee kudos, your team members can be working harder and earning even bigger rewards that make them feel valued and respected in your workplace.
Inproma creates fully customizable incentive programs that are proven to get your employees motivated toward success. We partner with clients from all industries to revamp their corporate culture through the art of employee recognition. Want to get your firm involved? Let’s talk.