Six Easy Ways to Improve Corporate Culture


A positive corporate culture is that seemingly fluffy, immeasurable variable that too many organizations overlook. Sure your company’s culture may be described in flowering detail on your site’s career page, but beyond that, is there any senior-level interest in cultivating it?

If you’re in HR, you know better. Especially when it comes to the importance of culture on employee satisfaction. But poor corporate culture doesn’t just impact employee morale; it can hurt your bottom line. According to a recent study summarized in Forbes, companies with a strong positive corporate culture grew 6x faster than those that lacked that kind of culture.

Yet another study cited in the Harvard Business Review found that a great corporate culture “can account for 20-30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with ‘culturally unremarkable’ competitors.”

So how do you, as a single HR team member, improve it? There likely isn’t much room (if any) in the budget devoted to improving corporate culture. But from your unique HR perch, you have several free methods of impacting this critical metric. Here are six easy ways you can improve your organization’s culture without adding another line item to your budget:

  1. Unite around a mission: When people are all working around the same goal, they’re more likely to make decisions around that common goal. To help develop an authentic corporate mission statement, solicit feedback from different stakeholders across the organizational hierarchy. Once it’s finalized, display it prominently so employees, vendors and even customers orient themselves to your mission.
  2. Give employees a voice: An important part of developing any internal culture initiative is involving your employees. Let them help shape the culture conversation so they feel just as invested in the process as you do. Sure, there will be disagreements and delays but ultimately the buy-in will be that much more genuine.
  3. Take employee concerns seriously: When employees approach HR with issues or questions, do you cite the employee handbook or repeat verbatim the latest OSHA guideline? If so, your department may come across as insensitive. Even if your hands are figuratively tied by various regulatory bodies, begin each email or in-person response with a compassionate statement reflecting what the employee is facing.
  4. Provide volunteer opportunities: Offering community service opportunities doesn’t just help your company’s community reputation, it can help you recruit and retain top young talent. A 2007 study found that “62 percent of Gen Y respondents said they would prefer to work for companies that give them opportunities to contribute their talents to nonprofit organizations.
  5. Put the human back in human resources: So many employees assume that HR makes decisions based on budgetary concerns alone. In this case, transparency is a good thing. Don’t be afraid to open up to your employees about the likely painstaking process your team went through to come up with the decision that was made. Web-based or in-person town hall-style meetings are perfect forums for you to explain the decision process. Help employees understand that you made the choices that would best serve your employees while keeping your organization financially stable.
  6. Make smart benefit decisions: For the tough decisions you do need to make, be sure to make the right ones. Invest in benefits that employees love while helping your bottom line. They do exist! Click below to learn about how to implement one such benefit: telehealth.