Culture. It’s a term we hear tossed around HR every day. But what does a strong company culture really look like? And what’s its true value? Glassdoor is known for its transparency, positivity, and disruption in the way employees communicate about their brand. But does the company practice what they preach?
Culture as a key to sustainable success
Research continues to prove that a positive work culture is connected to higher business performance. So investing in your company’s culture and workforce is also an investment in the success of your business.
“Companies with employee engagement programs enjoy 26% greater annual increase in revenue.”
So what can you do to build a stronger culture within your organization?
Here are five tips we tried at Glassdoor.
1. Define values
The first ingredient to any successful culture is a unique set of organizational values. These are the concepts that make up your foundation—they let your company grow and give you something to strive towards.
Creating a definitive list of core values both communicates to employees what matters most to your organization, and creates standards to hold both company and employee decisions accountable.
So these words and phrases should define your company. Glassdoor’s values are:
People matter: value and respect each other
At the heart of Glassdoor is the emphasis that we’re a team. Our “people first” mentality is key to our company’s spirit and stability.
Integrity: always do the right thing
Trust is also key as we continue to grow. Trusting in our fellow coworkers, company mission, and business objectives is how we overcome inevitable setbacks.
Passion: be committed in heart and mind
A progressive brand needs a workforce that approaches everyday activities with determination and passion. Without passion for your product or your mission, you’ll never deliver on company objectives.
Ownership: treat the company as your own
Every employee is unique with their own set of goals. Giving employees ownership of their role empowers them to go above and beyond their basic responsibilities.
Accountability: stay true and walk the talk
At Glassdoor, employees enjoy a high level of personal autonomy. And with that comes the expectation that people meet their promises to deliverables, coworkers, and the brand.
Leadership: shape a better future
Leadership is embedded at every level of the company. This creates a cohesive vision for the future across the entire business—and makes sure we’re all heading in the same direction.
2. Hire the right people
Maintaining a strong company culture starts with hiring the right people. Potential hires should have both the technical skill set and attitude to make them a seamless fit in your organization.
And cultural fit isn’t just important for the company. The more comfortable new hires feel in their new work environment, the more likely they stay satisfied in their role over the long run.
How do we achieve this?
During the Glassdoor interview process, candidates must pass a character test to make sure they fit our unique culture. We ask questions that probe the way candidates solve problems and collaborate with coworkers.
When the time comes to filter down our hiring pool and extend an offer, it’s character that helps us determine the ideal fit.
3. Promote transparency and invite feedback
Next up is self-evaluation.
“An evaluation of your business is like an honest look at the standards you set for yourself.”
Feedback is your most valuable tool here. Identify which areas need improvement and address these concerns head on.
Start by conducting internal surveys, then develop a system of quarterly check-ins, or integrate Q&A sessions at company all-hands meetings. Make sure you’re collecting feedback at each stage of an employee’s lifecycle—from the hiring process, to their first 90 days, to their exit interviews.
Each of these touch points give Glassdoor a clearer picture of the current state of our culture. It’s also an opportunity to address any potential issues that could damage it.
You can also engage with your employees by reading and responding to Glassdoor reviews posted about your company. Encouraging your employees to share their experiences on Glassdoor helps make your company more transparent.
And at Glassdoor, we practice what we preach. We address concerns in recent company reviews in both departmental huddles and Q&A sessions with our CEO. By being proactive, leadership stays conscious of company morale.
This hands-on approach earns us greater employee trust and pays dividends when it comes recruiting.
4. Start a feedback loop
Listening to your employees is only half the equation. After collecting useful feedback, you need to action this information to drive meaningful change.
So once we’ve provide people with opportunities to voice their opinions, HR uses this feedback to inform new programs and strategies.
Creating a seamless feedback system that’s easy to use encourages employee participation and more useful info for the organization. In turn, this creates a culture of transparency.
“Consistent communication from leadership instills passion for the company’s mission and direction.”
Always look to gauge the success of these feedback channels. Set appropriate metrics ahead of time so that you can measure the level of employee engagement.
We measure the engagement of our workforce by the attendance numbers at company-wide huddles, the number of survey responses, and compare participation against our expectations.
5. Celebrate wins
Employees want to feel happy and valued at work. So finding ways to highlight both individual and team successes is an essential part of building a supportive culture. Encourage promotions, celebrate work anniversaries, and recognize personal and team achievements.
At Glassdoor, we celebrate traffic achievements, new product launches, and birthdays as a team. We also bring specific attention to team members who’ve led successful initiatives. These small actions have a big impact on the mindset of employees.
“Let your employees know they’re appreciated. It’s what makes people want to come to work.”
The University of Warwick even found that when employees are happy, they’re 12% more productive.
Parting words on positivity
A positive culture:
Sets you apart from your nearest competitors
Weeds out unqualified applicants or bad fits for your company
Contributes to employees productivity and morale
The first step to getting started? Invest in your culture—it’s the bond that endures the challenges of the marketplace by bringing your vision, your goals, and your people closer together.
Marcus Alfred is the Partnerships Outreach Manager at Glassdoor. He works with news outlets, blogs, and universities to provide content and tools to aid job seekers and improve their experience on Glassdoor.