A company’s work culture is something that generally develops between its employees and management over time and is not expressly written down.  It’s the beliefs and behaviors of how the two interact with one another.

So, why is this so important?

To start, the workplace is where most people spend about one-third of their life.  That is significant when you really think about it!  So, of course, you would want this to be a place you enjoy and feel appreciated.  For a company, work culture is vitally important as it can directly impact the ability to attract and retain talent.  With a positive work environment, you will have a high degree of employee interaction and engagement.  They want the organization to grow and succeed.  There is a feeling of being a part of something bigger than oneself.

Times, they are a changin …

Remember when people took a job in their twenties, or even younger, and kept it until they retired at age 65?  Probably not.  Those times are long gone with people changing jobs like they change cars.  Alison Doyle wrote a great article for TheBalance.com entitled, “How Long Should an Employee Stay at a Job?”  She noted a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017, that the median number of years that a wage or salary workers stays with an employer is 4.6 years.  However, this can vary great by occupation and age, with workers 25 to 34 staying only an average of 3.2 years.

So, why the big change?

Everything changes over time, right?  Of course.  It is the natural progression of life.  However, employee turnover is expensive and time consuming.  How long does it take for a new hire to understand your customer’s needs?  How successful can your company be if you don’t retain those new hires long enough to make a positive impact on your business?  Yet, here we are with the average lifespan of an employee now standing at less than 5 years.  Why is that?  If you talk with a business owner, they will tell you employees are no longer loyal.  Then ask the employee and they tell you that business owners and CEOs don’t care and are just looking for a workhorse.  This vast disconnect between the two has never been wider which is ironic given we live in a time where communication has never been easier.

How do we change this?

Many companies have started to think outside the box.  Google and Apple are two of the largest companies in the world and yet they end up on the “100 Best Places to Work” list every year.  Why?  These companies have put a lot of effort into their work culture to create an environment where employees thrive.  One key to constructing a great work culture is building trust between employees and leadership and open communication is the foundation of any trusting relationship.  Employees need to know that they have the support of their management and are empowered to be creative in solving problems.  When things go wrong, treat the situation as an opportunity to learn rather than placing blame on those involved.

In this type of culture, employees are more willing to take risks that may pay off big for the company by innovating in ways you never even imagined.  When the inevitable rough times happen, these same employees are more likely to upset their own work-life balance and put in extra time to help the company push through.  You may even find that there are fewer rough times as engaged employees will spot potential issues sooner and work hard to avoid them in the future.  All of these benefits add up to a stronger company with a great work culture that can continue to build on itself and succeed.

Ask yourself, what kind of work culture are you creating for your company?  Is it working for you and your employees?  It’s important that it work for everyone, otherwise issues will constantly arise, and the company will ultimately suffer.


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