What We Think About Positive Company Cultures & Why They Are Important
Read Time: 6 Min
People are the heart of AOR. And more than anything we want our heart to remain strong, and beating. Without it, we wouldn’t be ourselves, we wouldn’t be successful, and it’s doubtful we would be happy. So, people come first.
That’s right. I’m sure you’ve heard us say this before. At AOR, we are people first in everything. And that means our employees too. It’s our priority that our people feel loved, appreciated, cared for, welcome, and like they can be themselves 100% of the time.
The key? Culture.
Keeping the Heart Alive — Positive Company Culture
Company culture is constantly evolving and changing, but at its core, it guides your organization’s values, beliefs, and attitudes and sets expectations for how employees should feel, act, and engage in the workplace.
Company culture is reflected in the way you treat your customers and employees — those at the heart of your business.
By focusing on culture initiatives and fostering a positive work culture, your team will be inspired and your organization will thrive — its heart will keep on beating.
How to Contribute to Company Culture?
Lots of things.
But let’s focus on just a few:
1. Lift Each Other Up
Everyone deserves to feel like they are making an impact in their place of work. It’s important to let people know they are valued and appreciated. At AOR we have a Slack channel called ‘Kudos,’ specifically dedicated to shouting out good work and big moves our team members make. It never fails to bring a smile to their faces and keeps them motivated to continue doing good work.
2. Allow for Lightheartedness
Life shouldn’t be so serious all the time! At least that’s what we think. For all the time we put our heads down and work ferociously, we deserve a laugh or a lighthearted sidebar with a coworker. Keep your workplace open, silly, fun, and welcoming — people will open up more, feel more relaxed, and be happy where they are. At AOR we do this by adding funny memes to our internal presentations, having lunch & learns about topics maybe not related to our field of work (like movies!), or leaving bowls of candy in the kitchen to make our employees feel at home. You can find your own way to do this, but the goal should be to bring a smile to a face.
3. Create Social Opportunities
This may be what AOR does best, because who doesn’t love a good ‘ole party! This point goes hand-in-hand with allowing for lightheartedness. Your employees want to let loose and get to know each other outside of the workplace too, so give them a platform to do so! Celebrate them. Allow them to kick back. They spend most of their lives contributing to your business, it’s good to give back to them. At AOR we try offering a team bonding activity every quarter. Recently, we went bowling and got to see everyone’s competitive side. We run over to our favorite bar after work every few weeks for happy hour as well. Try implementing these kinds of social activities at your business, it will keep your employees inspired, having fun, and excited to come to work.
4. Make Employees Feel Seen and Heard
A great way to do this is by opening up communication channels. We use Slack to communicate and always make it an option to send a message or bring up a concern. We also encourage 1:1 meetings with supervisors and managers either weekly or biweekly depending on the individual employees’ needs. This time is set aside for employees to bring up concerns, talk about their workload, and have the opportunity to make sure they feel good about their progression at work. These lines of open communication make it easier for employees to get their concerns addressed and feel like their employers have their back.
5. Encourage Self-Care
Mental health days are sooooo important. At AOR we encourage our employees to take the time they need, when they need it. It’s important employees don’t feel trapped at work or like the whole system is going to fall apart if they have a bad day. We send out Weekly Agency Bulletins with mental health reminders and other tips for our employees to continue putting themselves first. Remember, your employees are people first, they have whole lives outside of work. Make it known that you care about them.
6. Offer Learning Opportunities
Most employees have goals in mind when it comes to their careers. They want to progress, have significant growth, and become experts in their field. If you have employees like that on staff, most likely they’ll want to find opportunities to learn more about what they are doing. At AOR we encourage our employees to spend any extra time they may have in the workday reading, watching Skillshare videos, or even taking trips to local museums, all in an effort to expand their knowledge and continue learning. We also send our departments to conferences within the industry. The more your employees can learn on the job, the more they can bring to their role in your company, and the more progress they will make toward their career goals.
7. Ensure Inclusive Practices
This is a big one for us. Our Thrive initiative is dedicated solely to diversity and inclusion. We believe everyone should feel like they belong. Our Thrive team meets monthly to discuss ways we can improve our initiatives and continue educating our employees about diversity and inclusion in our workspace and in the world. Encouraging this kind of workplace creates a safe environment, a place where everyone feels welcome, heard, and understood. We cannot stress enough how important inclusive practices are in the workplace.
8. Be Flexible
Finally, be flexible. You will not keep employees around if you make them feel trapped at work. They have whole lives outside of your office — which means doctors’ appointments, childcare, house maintenance, etc. At AOR we have a flexible hybrid work environment and flexible hours, which allows our employees to make their days work for them, while still getting all of their work done and on time. That’s what matters at the end of the day right? Good work, on time? It’s understandable if this type of work environment doesn’t work in your industry, but there are so many other ways to stay flexible: be understanding of PTO needs, have a strong support network for employees, be open-minded, etc.
Why is it Important?
Work culture has a huge impact on the employee experience. In fact, many candidates on the hunt for their next job are specifically looking for a business that prioritizes its employees and culture. Positive company culture boosts team morale, promotes workplace engagement, and encourages job satisfaction. Most importantly, it guarantees you avoid a toxic workplace.
Don’t force it. Positive cultures don’t appear overnight. Listen to your employees and have fun, soon your culture will begin to take shape. Work cultures that keep businesses successful and employees happy take time, but it’s worth it.
If you’re starting from the ground up, begin with core values.
We are very proud of our positive company culture. It took years of putting people first to develop what we have today, but without it, we wouldn’t be who we are.
To our employees, our beating heart, we love you, we hear you, we understand you, and we can’t wait to see what else AOR can do with such a wonderful group of people backing us up.
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