As new employees join a business, they have to find a way to orient themselves in a brand new environment, with brand new responsibilities, while working with unfamiliar people.
Depending on the quality of a company’s culture, this can leave new hires feeling isolated and uncomfortable, often resulting in a long adjustment period. If that culture is particularly unwelcoming, new hires might even find themselves unable to perform their jobs properly and feel pushed to resign. Conversely, healthy company culture can rapidly integrate new talent, while also making much better use of existing team members.
Your company culture creates a baseline for company loyalty and general morale, but, just as importantly, it defines how well a business can grow. Healthy company cultures promote communication, innovation and greater customer engagement, and create a sense of forward momentum. This, in turn, lends your team a clear understanding of community and purpose that’s essential to nurturing healthy growth and goal achievement.
Healthy company cultures are essential for long-term growth
Inexperienced business owners often see the concept of managing a company culture as an exercise that prioritises employee happiness over productivity. This is a mistake. Business leaders rely on their company’s culture to orient employee attitudes toward each other and their work, making it an essential part of creating a productive team. An unhealthy culture can quickly render a team ineffective and unable to grow reliably due to employee infighting, while also isolating new employees, and forcing them to get a grasp of the local office politics before they can integrate in any meaningful way.
Strong company culture emphasises teamwork, communication, and the overall mission of the business. It encourages people to work together toward a common goal and discourages unnecessary competitiveness. The resulting environment is one where workers can turn to each other for support, and, most importantly, one that welcomes and easily integrates new talent.
Company cultures need to be actively developed.
A business that doesn’t take the time to build its own company culture puts itself into a dangerous position. People are naturally competitive and will seek to look out for their own interests over those of their employer or their coworkers. This isn’t inherently bad in itself, but it can become toxic when circumstances, such as the presence of a toxic employee, force other employees to protect their professional interests. By monitoring and managing the health of their own company culture, businesses can make their team more resilient and less susceptible to toxic influences.
Simply hiring whatever candidate is best qualified for a position on paper isn’t always the best policy. Instead, businesses critically need team members that will work well together. Hiring managers need to be mindful of who new employees will be working with, and how they might affect the team overall. Bringing on someone who will cause interpersonal conflict can quickly lead to the formation of oppositional social groups, and disrupt the effectiveness of a previously well-functioning team.
Create healthy company policies
Pure competitiveness often keeps people from supporting each other, both in innovative problem solving, or in mentoring a new coworker. An employee hoping for a raise might not want a team member to succeed, because they feel that would impair their own chances. To deal with this issue, businesses need to create policies that reward teamwork. For example, it might be better to pay entire teams for their successes, rather than just single individuals. This gives workers an incentive to collaborate and to bring new workers up to speed as quickly as possible to benefit from their work.
There is a wide range of things that businesses do to influence their company cultures, ranging from paid gym memberships to flexible working, to traditional team-building exercises. These go well beyond the core principle of ensuring excellent communication and teamwork. In a rapidly evolving environment that’s continually bringing on new talent; however, an inclusive and communicative culture aligned to the achievement of business goals is the ultimate key to success. By creating a welcoming environment, businesses can integrate new employees faster, and teams are better able to share ideas and innovate their way around problems.
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This article was originally posted on HR Expert, one of Australia’s leading HR resource and compliance websites. To view the original article, click here.
About Mathew Paine
Mathew Paine is an HR practitioner with over 19 years of senior HR experience across Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. He is currently the Managing Director of HR Expert and Non-Executive Director at Definitiv.