2 May 2024

Mastering the art of building a positive company culture

Three people with notebooks, laughing. Representing a good, healthy company culture.

Company culture affects every aspect of your business, from the top down. So how can you start building a positive workplace culture that will keep your employees happy and engaged?

Understanding the Essence of Company Culture

The culture in an organisation is like a living, breathing thing, encompassing the practices, values, attitudes, and behaviours your employees see every day. Trying to improve something so intangible isn’t easy, but there are several good reasons you should be considering it: 


Did you know that 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success? Employees are far more likely to collaborate well in cultures that foster open communication and teamwork. They will also feel more motivated and less stressed if their contributions are valued, all of which have been shown to contribute to better performance at work.


There’s a reason you can find ‘Best Place to Work’ lists popping up every year. Over 77% of job seekers consider company culture before applying for a job, and more than half said culture was more important to them than salary. Showcasing a strong company culture is a great way to attract talent.


According to our research, 86% of employees would leave a job that doesn’t respect their wellbeing. Employee retention is more important than ever, and if you want employees to stay at their jobs, making sure they feel supported and respected in the workplace is a huge factor.

Creating your ideal company culture: a roadmap

Define your ideal company culture

The first step in improving workplace culture is defining what that looks like in your organisation. This doesn’t mean you have to throw away everything your current company culture is built on. A complete 180 shift may cause your employees to feel blindsided and lower their morale. Instead, focus on building on what is already successful and gradually moving away from what isn’t.

Your company culture needs to align with the mission, values, and goals of your organisation. Understanding how you work and who you are as a business will help define clearer goals for your employees and break down company culture into more manageable pieces.

Engaging employee in shaping company culture

How are you supposed to improve culture at work if you don’t know what your employees value? Gathering employee input will help ensure you make real change in the places that matter most to your employees. 

Anonymous surveys are a great way to encourage employees to give honest feedback about their current working environment. If you keep seeing the same answers popping up, it may indicate an area of concern, and this allows you to address it instead of letting employees stew and become increasingly frustrated. However, anonymous surveys need to be truly anonymous. If there is any fear of reprisal for negative feedback, then answers won’t just be unhelpful, they’ll be actively wrong!

You can find more tips and tricks to gather accurate and reliable employee feedback in our employee experience research report here.

Maintaining work-life balance in company culture

Employees cannot be expected to positively contribute to their team if they aren’t physically, mentally, or emotionally well. Stress can lurk around every corner in the modern workplace, but ensuring that employees have support and available resources can be the foundation of a positive company culture. 

There are several options to address these needs, such as:

  • Encouraging your employees to use all of their annual leave, as well as taking regular breaks during the work day;
  • Offering flexible working hours or locations;
  • Scheduling regular check-ins, where employees can meet face-to-face with their managers;
  • Providing mental health resources, such as counselling or training sessions.

You should assess which initiatives work best to support the needs of your employees.

Establishing culture-first hiring practices

It can be tempting to move quickly during the hiring process, but candidates with the right experience and qualifications on paper will not necessarily be a good cultural fit. Hiring someone who shares your core values will be able to productively add to your company. It’s far easier to train someone in a few of the skills you require than trying to change their entire personality to fit an environment that doesn’t suit them.

However, don’t be afraid to break out of the mould. You should ensure you hire from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences to make the most of unique perspectives and continue to grow and develop your company culture.

Recognise employee achievements

You should ensure employees feel safe to share ideas and be appreciated, even if not all their ideas are adopted. People need to feel that their efforts matter, or you run the risk of letting them become disengaged and start only contributing the bare minimum. 

A great way to keep your employee morale up is to recognise the achievements and hard work of your employees. This can include giving shoutouts for projects, new ideas or outstanding contributions, as well as recognising important events such as milestones, birthdays, educational achievements, retirements, and so on.

Build community and relationships

When your team feels comfortable working together, they can achieve great things. Your company culture should allow room to build communities and relationships between your employees, especially in less formal settings.

Think about what types of events your team would enjoy the most – there’s no one size fits all solution, and you should remember that not all employees will enjoy attending large parties or going to bars. Consider establishing clubs, such as a book club or football team, where your employees can find common interests outside of their jobs. Group outings, such as team lunches or dinners, can also be encouraged. Remember, these events are designed to build relationships and genuine connections, not to force people into uncomfortable situations!

Evolving and monitoring company culture

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand you can wave to create a positive workplace culture overnight. Improving company culture takes time, and there’s nothing wrong with making small adjustments as you go. The changing business landscape means you will need to stay agile and adjust your strategies to better suit the needs of your employees. Don’t forget to look at what your competitors are doing too - it can be a good indication of what works well in similar industries, and even what doesn’t!

Continuously monitoring and evaluating your company culture is the best way to make sure you don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Regular pulse surveys can be used to get insights into your employees' thoughts and track changes. 

Putting your People First

If you need help building a positive workplace culture that keeps your employees happy and engaged, then People First can help.

People First’s seamless accessibility helps your employees stay up to date with latest news, connect with colleagues, and feel part of your community no matter where they are: in the office, on the road, or working from home.

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