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In today’s hiring world, it can be hard for companies to differentiate from other companies or to stand out among them. One of the biggest ways to stand out is through company culture. Having a great company culture can help attract the best talent and retain more of your employees. It is important to understand how to change company culture and the impact your company culture has on your company.

What Does It Mean To Change Company Culture?

Company culture refers to how things get done in the workplace, or how you do what you do and why you do it. Ultimately, it is the accumulation of the behaviors and values of a company’s employees. Those behaviors and values come from the experiences employees and customers have with a company.

To change a company culture means changing the way things are done and how they are perceived by employees. If you want to change expectations for your employees or encourage them to act or think differently about the way they work, that can be done through changing your company culture. It isn’t easy to change company culture, but it is possible through whole-company commitment.

“I think there are some simple things that are missing in many corporate cultures. People want to do work that adds value and is valued. . . . People want to leave at the end of the day and not feel guilty for turning off Slack notifications. People want to work with colleagues who they like, who they trust, and who they can have a laugh with now and then. There should be a little bit of joy and humor in everyone’s work day.” – Valerie Vadala

Why Would a Company Culture Change Need to Take Place?

Changing company culture can be quite difficult, but a company might consider doing so if they want to improve company morale, change a toxic or negative culture, or attract better talent to the team.

  • Employee Morale. Company culture can have a direct impact on employee morale. If employees don’t feel accepted, supported, or encouraged, they are more likely to get discouraged and consider looking for employment elsewhere. Things outside of the normal workday, such as company lunches, parties, or random giveaways, can have a huge impact on an employee’s morale and are part of a company culture. Typically there isn’t a great monetary cost to these, yet they can help create a company culture that improves employee morale.
  • Toxic or negative culture. The most common reason to change a company culture is a toxic or negative culture. This is not easy to change and can take lots of time and money, but it needs to be prioritized. The longer you wait to fix a toxic culture, the worse it will become. A toxic or negative culture is one where employees are manipulative, passive-aggressive, petty, or constantly complaining about other employees or clients. While some of this might happen within a good company culture, a company with a great company culture creates an environment where this behavior is not prevalent.
  • Attracting more talent. The hiring market is tough and very competitive. Many employers struggle to find candidates for their positions. One of the ways companies compete with competitors for the best talent is through marketing their company culture. Candidates are more selective with the jobs they take, so they will generally pass on a job that doesn’t have a good company culture. Improving your company culture will help attract better talent while also retaining current employees.

Benefits of Company Culture Change

When a company decides to change their company culture, it can be scary and intimidating. Looking at the benefits to be gained shows companies that the time and money spent to change a company’s culture is well worth it.

Improved Work Environment

Most full-time employees spend 40+ hours a week at work which equates to almost a fourth of their week. With so much time spent at the office, employees want their workplace to feel safe and comfortable, and a place they want to be. Changing company culture can improve the workplace environment, making employees feel more comfortable and like they can be themselves.

Improved Team Performance

If the workplace is an environment employees want to be in, they are more likely to be productive, enjoy work, and improve team cohesion. As a company focuses on changing and improving company culture employees are more likely to be the best employees they can be.

Reputation

One of the greatest benefits of changing a company culture is having a better reputation. Job applicants and employees talk. If employees feel like the company culture is not good and don’t see a willingness to change, this will drive candidates away from a company. A company’s reputation is often perceived by what their company culture is like.

Challenges of Changing Company Culture

Regardless of what kind of changes are needed to improve a company’s culture, it is difficult to make changes. It is important to recognize those challenges and figure out what you need to do to combat them.

Employee Pushback

Any kind of change in a company is hard and there is always going to be pushback from the employees. Part of that is fear of the unknown even if the changes sound beneficial for the company. Employees have to see results and reassurance that change is going to be good before they truly buy-in.

Time

Changing company culture doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and commitment from its employees. Companies in need of greater changes will take more time to improve the company culture. The key is to have patience and to be focused on the ultimate goal of changing company culture.

Culture Fit for Current Employees

When you hire a new employee, you typically hire someone that fits the culture. If a company decides to change its company culture, some of the current employees may no longer fit . While some employees might be open to culture change, others may not. These dynamics can be tough to balance.

How to Implement Company Culture Change

When a company decides to implement a new company culture, they need to have clear expectations about changes they want to make and how to go about making those changes.

Step1: Set Expectations

Before a company starts implementing a company culture change, they need to establish what values and behaviors they want in the new culture. What will the new culture look like? Does this align with the company’s core values and mission statement? Do the company’s core values and mission statement need to change? These questions need to be considered when deciding what changes are necessary for the new company culture.

Step 2: Evaluate Culture Change with Company Processes

When changing company culture, be aware of how changes will affect current processes. How will these changes affect each department? What changes and improvements are needed to department processes? These are some things to consider.

Step 3: Get Buy-In from Leadership

After coming up with a plan and understanding how culture changes will affect each department and their processes, get buy-in from company leadership. This could be on the executive level, department heads, hiring managers, or all the supervisors. Whoever will be leading the culture change needs to be bought into it. They might have reservations to the change as they are likely contributing to the current company culture. You want to ensure you are all on the same page and willing to do what is needed for the company culture change to take place.

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Questions You’ve Asked Us About Company Culture Change

It is hard to say how often a company should experience culture change, as it can be dependent on the job market and what kind of employees a company wants to hire. It is important for a company to evaluate their company culture every year or so to see if changes are needed.

Yes, company culture change can happen naturally. This most often happens if a company hires employees that reflect the kind of culture they want to see the company develop.

Tanner has over 4 years of HR professional experience in various fields of HR. He has experience in hiring, recruiting, employment law, unemployment, onboarding, outboarding, and training to name a few. Most of his experience comes from working in the Professional Employer and Staffing Industries. He has a passion for putting people in the best position to succeed and really tries to understand the different backgrounds people come from.

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