It’s twenty-eighteen and a lot has changed significantly in the workplace environment over the past years (as it should with the growing and changing generation).  The one (and in my opinion the most important) element in the workplace that has seen some progressive improvement over the years is the company culture

“The way I think about culture is that modern humans have radically changed
the way that they work and the way that they live.
Companies need to change the way they manage and lead to match the way that modern humans actually work and live. We’re trying to re-craft culture in a way that really matches that.
I think that 99% of companies are kind of stuck in the ’90s when it comes to their culture.”

~ Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot

What is a company culture?  Company culture is the personality of the company and an integral part of every business.

Company culture defines the environment in which employees work including a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, value, ethics, expectations, and goals.

As a previous HR Professional with a substantial emphasis on recruitment, a strong company culture is one of the best ways I found to attract potential employees.  During interviews, one of the major selling points for any potential future employee is almost always the company culture.  Believe it or not, despite the desired salary and benefits plan, when an applicant is absolutely enthralled with the company’s vision and culture, they are often ready to jump at the opportunity to work for the organization.

One company that I love to use as an example of great company culture is Telus.

Earlier this year, Telus announced once again, that they have been named as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, being recognized as a leading organization for creating inclusive workplaces for employees from diverse groups.

I have worked personally with Telus for many years as both a Telus Customer and a Telus brand ambassador through CAC.  It has been evident that this is an organization that blossoms on the success of their people and the satisfaction of their clients.

The key word here is DIVERSITY.  At Telus, they believe diversity is beautiful and it’s made crystal clear in their company culture.  You can learn more about some of the great folks that fuel Telus’ culture including their fascinating and unique stories on their blog here.

For me, a good company culture is one of the key ingredients to staying engaged.
When your values are aligned with those of the organization you work for, you feel much more motivated to do your best for your career, your team and your organization.

~ Donna Ramirez, Communications Manager at Telus

A company culture is only made strong and esteemed by the people, the personality, of the company. 

“Given how much time we spend in our workplaces they often end up feeling like our second homes. Working in an environment with a solid company culture impacts how comfortable you feel being in the office, how you interact with your teammates and most importantly how invested you feel in the work that you do. I’m currently building my career at TELUS and I feel privileged to work within a culture that encourages diversity and inclusiveness but also nurtures personal and professional growth. Everyone brings unique ideas and approaches to the table and at TELUS I feel many of those fresh thoughts are heard and actioned.”
~ Page Casmiro, Communications Manager at Telus

“Company culture is something that is very important to me and something that I look into prior to applying to any company. I have to say I lucked out with TELUS. The culture aligns with who I am and what I believe in, from company mission, values, ethics and expectations.
Working for a company with an awesome work culture, makes everything that much better.”

~ Saara Rahikka, Communications Specialist at Telus  

A huge part of an employee’s day is spent with their colleagues and managers, which is why a company’s success depends immensely on the cultural dynamics.  Company culture can take hold quickly and greatly affects your brand and your team, so knowing how to develop a positive culture is important.

Raise the B.A.R.

So how can a company build a flourishing work culture? By raising the BAR!

B – Bond

The key to strengthening the dynamics of the team is by deflating the org chart so everyone can feel important and heard.  A great way to do that is by organizing fun team activities either in the office, or better yet, outside of it!  Activities like trivia/game nights, escape rooms (these are a lot of fun!), picnics and sports at a local park followed with a scavenger hunt are all great examples of bringing your team together while working together to achieve an end goal. These will allow everyone to let loose, have fun, improve relationships and forge new bonds.

Work hard, play harder!

Here are some other entertaining ideas for building strong relationships within your team:

  • Annual company cruises with all staff
  • “Mandatory Fun” days where employees can leave work early and go to sporting events or shows together
  • Potlucks that inspire everyone to interact and learn about one another’s favourite foods and cultural delicacies
  • Dress up parties for Halloween, Canada Day and other holidays. Add more laughter and excitement with themes like 80’s Day, Superhero days and more just for fun!

The phrase: “There’s no ‘I’ in team” may be something you hear often and can come across as a cliché, but there is just so much truth and importance in it, in all aspects in life, especially for a prosperous work culture.

The difference between being a team and just a bunch of individuals is that the individuals see themselves as separate from each other. Helping others is forced because you normally operate on your own projects, or your own part in a larger project.  This can create a toxic work environment, so it’s important to build your team and have fun while doing it.

A – Appreciate

Everybody wants to feel appreciated for their efforts and dedication.  Compensation, benefits, paid time off and bonus programs really come into play here but also even incorporating things as simple as weekly recognition rewards for your team and/or allowing other team members to send their colleagues appreciation affirmations are really encouraging ways to make an employee feel valued.

One fantastic example, offered at a large corporation that I had worked with in the past, offers a peer-to-peer recognition program.  This allows an employee to recognize another employee’s work standards and efforts by writing a quick post on how the employee has gone above and beyond.  This post is seen by the entire department and also allows management to further boost the post and provide the employee points towards a rewards program. This rewards program offers prizes like gift cards, products and services that they can redeem with the points.

Adopting a culture of gratitude is pivotal in shaping a team and a company in its entirety.  If everyone on the team, and especially management, takes the time to recognize the modest acts that can so easily go unnoticed throughout the company, it encourages others to do the same.

R – Recognize

Some team members can feel lack of appreciation because of the shortage of recognition. This will eventually lower their productivity and happiness in their job. 

“The company’s culture is what drives the brand and its people. Happy employees – thriving work culture.”
~ D. Esposito, Senior Manager, Product Marketing

Invest in your People

Recognize their potential by acting as a stepping stone to their dream jobs. Your company’s goal should be to give its team members skills and mentoring that will equip them with what they need to reach their life goals. 

Offer a broader scope of offerings which reflects the needs of a multigenerational workforce. These offerings should focus on mentoring, professional development and education, comprehensive wellness and work-life balance.

By prioritizing health and wellness, companies can boost productivity among workers, lower health expenses, and find unique ways to engage employees. Many employees spend over 60 percent of their waking hours in the workplace, so an employer who cares and supports healthy lifestyles is more attractive to potential candidates.

“You spend a lot of time there — you’re working towards something for that company, daily.  You want to feel good about where you spend so much of your time (especially when you have children).  I think it’s important for a company to appreciate and encourage a work-life balance.”
~ Lisa Hicks, Marketing and Social Media Specialist

Work-life balance shouldn’t just be a cute and fancy little addition to a company’s spiel to attract and retain their people – it should be an imperative obligation. 

Although some companies unfortunately cannot allow for a full-blown family-friendly work environment, being flexible and accommodating should also be a priority.

Whether an employee is a parent or not, flexibility and workplace accommodations can greatly increase trust and loyalty between team members.

Telecommuting, also known as remote work or e-commuting, has greatly increased in most organizations and is only becoming more and more popular (and for good reason).

As recently read on, it is undeniable that demand is growing for employers to offer more flexible work options. According to a study by Harris / Decima, 89 per cent of employees feel that a flexible work program makes a company more attractive, and flexible work was considered the second most important factor, after money, when Canadians are looking for a new job.

Flexible work arrangements not only affect your ability to attract top talent, but it also has other flow on effects of improved employee engagement, retention and performance.

Allowing your employee access to work remotely some days can help create a positive and trusting atmosphere and also sets a tone. It makes the culture feel open, casual, and relaxed. It also builds company morale and shows your employees that you trust them to get their work done, no matter where they work from. This, in turn, develops a positive company culture and improves employee morale.

Telus is also known for their amazing flexible work environment; yet another factor that contributes to their fantastic cultural landscape.  They offer a great flexible work program called Work Styles that gives team members the ability to work where and when they’re most productive.  

Think about it this way: What could you achieve with the 1-2 hours you commute to and from work if you were working remotely?

I know this may not be an easy accommodation for some company’s but it’s definitely something to consider and a very positive step to a more technologically advanced, productive and positive work culture.

The workplace should not be something that people dread every day. Employees should look forward to going to their jobs. You want happy and healthy employees because happiness means more productivity.  This is why culture matters.  Let’s continue to raise the BAR!

“We can change culture if we change behavior.”
~ Dr. Aubrey Daniels, Founder of ADI

What are some ways your company is raising the B.A.R in their work culture?

Disclosure: CAC is an exclusive Telus Ambassador; however, all opinions expressed in this post are entirely those of the author.

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