How to Build a Company Culture

What is company culture? And how do you not just talk about it, but build it, live it and sustain it? How do you get prospective employees and customers so excited about it that they feel belonging beyond your workspace?

Every month, Catapult Employer’s Association hosts Thinking Differently. The free webinar informs attending employers of HR and legal best practices, tips to stay ahead of the competition, and ways to strengthen businesses internally and externally.

This month’s installment of Thinking Differently tackles what makes a strong company culture. Sharing insights are Catapult’s own Kirsten Lora, VP of Learning Services, and Becky Drozdz, Director of Total Rewards Solutions. Our guest expert sharing first-hand experience in culture leadership: Debra Punke, Chief Human Resources Officer of Concord Hotels.

Where Does Culture Come From?

Chances are, you already have the makings of your ideal company culture.

“Nearly ten years after our company was founded, we began writing down our mission, values and philosophies,” says Debra. “When we finally did, it was natural and organic because we were already living it.”

So how do employers explore the environment that exists to adjust sails in the direction of a healthy culture?

How to Review, Refine and Grow Culture

  1. Total Rewards While compensation is a major reason people leave or accept a job, there’s more to job satisfaction.

    “Compensation and Benefits are important, but performance recognition and being viewed as a person are huge,” Becky. “Employers are competing against companies who are willing to pay more, but there are ways employers can match in opportunities that support employee personal growth and lives.”

    “One of our Members is having great success by helping employees save for their first house, educating them on how to pay taxes, providing mental health safety…” says Kirsten. “They’re looking at people as a whole, not just as employees on-site.”

  2. Does Opportunity Call? “So much has changed in business, including what we expect from the workforce,” says Kirsten. “Employees need upgraded skills because there are now so many more roles for a single talent to fill.”

    As a result, employers must keep talent competitive and current with formal and informal training. “Otherwise,” she warns, “hiring pools and employees will find that investment somewhere else.

    Encourage those with multiple interests to pursue their different skillsets. Catapult surveys show that 41% of employers are filling jobs with existing staff that lack job skills but have the potential to learn and grow.

    Whether that means boosting certifications or supporting the exploration of cross-functional roles, employees who discover their unique paths within your organization can better set their own learning and development goals.

  3. Be Real About DE&I Businesses are trying to recruit and retain, but they’re also trying to appeal to a larger group of diverse employees.

    “Understanding where you’re at, where you want to go, and what the plan for development is will rely on looking inward critically,” Kirsten. “Reviewing your distributors, marketing materials and general professional presence for true inclusivity, plus looking at your staff populations. Do you give them a voice? How?”

    Kirsten urges hard conversations with employees. “Some might be cringey, but discussions about current social best practices and involving employees in establishing standards shows them you’re thinking about and supporting their comfort.”

    “With the civil unrest of 2020, Concord Hotels didn’t shy away,” says Debra. “We took a stance through an end racism campaign so our employees know exactly where we stand. Sometimes it takes being direct and speaking out.”

  4. R-E-S-P-E-C-T Equally as important as respect? Disrespect and what you’re going to do about it.

    “We’ve found the third-highest cited reason people left their jobs in 2020 and 2021 was ‘disrespect,’” says Becky. “No employer wants that, but they can combat negative culture by defining infractions. Then, by taking compliant action when inappropriate situations arise, whether they be digital, in-person, on-site, off-site.”

    Kirsten says, “One of the biggest issues right now is a casualness, probably developed during the pandemic. A lot of people are forgetting that the workplace is where employees need to be held accountable for the things they say and do. How else can employees trust you?”

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