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How to Build a Company Culture that Empowers (and Keeps) Its Employees

by Ben Spradling | Jan 12, 2021 2:20:15 PM

Successful businesses fire on all cylinders often using a large number of moving parts. So, when firms fail to meet sales or performance expectations, it makes sense to assume some of those moving parts are not performing at capacity.

Whether the supply chain has kinks or advertising isn't being properly targeted, your job is to discover, isolate, and fix any cylinders that aren’t firing. Knowledgeable managers understand that the most important moving parts in their organization are their employees.

Fostering a company culture that encourages employee empowerment boosts ongoing productivity and can lower recruitment costs through increased employee loyalty. It ensures your business’s engine runs at full speed.

Building People to Build Business

Positive company culture is your passport to positive personnel development. Ongoing recruitment efforts are expensive and a drag on company resources. As such, if you are looking for talented, loyal employees, it’s important to instill a company culture that has applicants clamoring for a
position with your team. More importantly, once employees are a part of that team, you’ll find that your positive culture will keep them working enthusiastically behind their desk, wherever that desk is currently.

Over the course of the past 20 years, human resources departments have noted emerging trends in this area. Employers are noticing that new staff hires are unlikely to hold their positions for longer than a couple of years, and according to the United States Department of Labor, more than 25% of American workers have held their current position for less than a year.

And that was before a pandemic forced much the nation’s workforce out of an office. Right now, because many of their employees are working remotely, employers are having to identify more productive ways of introducing new hires to their teams. For example, some are offering “trial periods” where candidates experience the position for 30 days before deciding if it’s a fit.

How to Start Building a Culture That Builds Your Team

Most employees know whether they will be willing to make a long-term commitment to a firm within the first six months of employment. As such, a carefully planned onboarding program takes advantage of this time to connect with new employees on an ongoing basis. The goal within that six-month timeframe is for the new employee will feel fully "on board" in terms of the company's culture, goals and ambitions.

Recent studies conducted by the Aberdeen Group show a correlation between high retention rates and well-implemented onboarding programs. In short, companies that buy into efficient onboarding programs have employees who buy into the company. Indeed, the study noted that a successful program led to successful employees, with 62% showing higher ratios between time spent and productivity, while 54% of managers reported higher levels of engagement among their team members.

Some of those advantages include:

  • Reduced turnover
  • Accelerated performance
  • Established team trust
  • Shortened time to productivity

Onboarding is more than a tactical solution to stemming employee turnover; it is a strategic decision to utilize the full range of an employee's talents over the long term, and forward-thinking companies are quickly adopting it as a solution to a mobile and restive workforce.

Trust, Push, and Support Your Employees

For some reason, hiring managers can tend to redirect their employees' career path to meet the firm's needs. So, the notion of developing a cogent employee development plan often falls by the wayside as soon as employees' W-2s and I-9s have been filed away.

This is a mistake. According to a 2013 article in Forbes, "Helping your employees shape the future direction of their careers is a critical component to your company's overall success."

The failure to put together a professional development plan and empower company culture may alienate a talented workforce that is not fully devoted to the concept of lifelong employment with a single company. Employees demonstrate this fact by following their own development plan, even
if that means hopping from job to job in search of that fulfillment.

Empowering Employees Shows Results

According to that same Forbes article, staff development — and building a positive and empowering company culture — offers an array of advantages to the forward-thinking management team:

  • Building Loyalty — when an employee feels they have "skin in the game," they come to understand that the company's success begets their own success. Building a company culture that encourages loyalty in your employees results in thriving employees. As such, devoting professional development resources to their success is an excellent way of building company loyalty.

  • The Personal Touch — people respond well when someone takes a genuine interest in their future and trusts their judgment. Extending this fact of human nature into the workplace is a great way to establish a mutual sense of loyalty and respect.

  • Employee Retention — talented people rarely like to rest on their laurels; they tend to pursue meaningful opportunities for career advancement when they arise. Employees who are likely to shine are attracted to a firm with a strong sense of company culture that works on the premise that a rising tide raises all ships. Fostering a culture that ensures that all voices are heard in a way that benefits both the employee and the company is crucial to employee retention.

In short, empowering your employees begins by understanding their worth, respecting their expertise, and giving them the broadest possible field to develop their talents.

 

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