Last year I told my company that my number one priority was to make our agency a great place to work. It’s an ongoing ambition, and one I know that can only be achieved with total employee engagement.
Creating a work environment where employees feel valued will have benefits that impact all areas of our business. It will improve our ability to hire great talent, to deliver breakthrough ideas to clients, and even to improve our own bottom line.
Any CEO today knows that employee demographics constantly evolve. Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials all have different expectations when it comes to what they want their workplace to deliver. You can’t push ‘culture’ and make everyone happy. Not everyone is looking forward to beer on Friday.
What we have found to be successful is to let the cultural underpinnings develop from a grass-roots-led environment. We empower our employees to take their own interests and develop activities and events that engage the company as a whole, or even by community. It’s not directed from the top, but given freedom to evolve.
We have an internal group that puts together a calendar of events with something different planned each month. We do our own mini-Master’s golf tournament once a year. We do a “bring your dog to work day” each month. We have an employee who took two months off to go to India for yoga training and came back to the office and now offers a yoga class for employees.
Culture comes from letting your own employees have a stake in company offerings and supporting their passions and skills. Not everyone will want to be part of a book club, or running club, but giving staff the option to be part of that activity will give rise to even more activities and create a place where people want to work.
With the competition for talent so high, and pressure on salary ever present, creating a welcoming culture has never been more important.