Recruitment and management

10 inexpensive ways to improve your corporate culture

10 façons peu coûteuses d'améliorer votre culture d'entreprise

A good corporate culture is essential to employee morale and productivity, but also directly impacts the level of employee commitment to your company's mission and objectives. With this in mind, here are some affordable ideas on how to significantly improve your corporate culture.

1. Be flexible

Flexibility not only improves your employees’ quality of life, but also gives you a huge advantage when it comes to retaining talent. Whether you are somewhat flexible toward employees but still set some clear boundaries for how they organize their work time or totally flexible in that regard, your flexibility will allow them to accomplish their tasks without feeling like they have to sacrifice important activities and events or family obligations. The result is a better work-life balance. Telecommuting is also a good way for employees to save on travel time to the office and avoid annoyances caused by the weather.

2. Define your values and bring them to life

Some of the values that go hand in hand with good corporate culture are undoubtedly teamwork, cooperation, openness, mutual trust, enthusiasm, and the desire to contribute to the common mission. Promoting and encouraging knowledge sharing, team meetings, team building activities and group training are some good ways to build an excellent corporate culture. You should also encourage your team members to thank a colleague at least once a month in the interest of fostering recognition and strengthening relations between team members. In addition, it is a good idea to encourage involvement by calling attention to initiatives, being open to suggestions and accepting some of them on regular basis. Finally, you could also offer your employees tools or coaching and follow up with them to help them develop and encourage continuous improvement.

3. Make small, thoughtful gestures according to their personal needs or interests

For example, you could offer your employees a concierge service during certain hours so that they can have this service handle some of their personal tasks, like making reservations, bringing their clothes to the dry cleaner's and other similar errands. You could also create a file listing each employee’s interests and recreational activities and offer them related experiences from time to time. This will ultimately bring them closer to their employer and create a positive climate.

4. Give a voice to your team and opt for transparency

Use a newsletter, an enterprise social networking tool or a social networking tool to keep your employees informed not only of the company’s financial and growth objectives, but also its periodic results, changes in mission, values, employee success stories, media coverage, major news in the industry, events, conferences related to operations, etc. Share photos of the latest activities you held and use this platform to wish employees a happy birthday. Be as creative as you want and establish the guiding principle of your newsletter to reflect your company's specific image.

5. Set aside a few work hours for external activities

Encourage employees to participate in networking events, workshops or conferences related to their field of activity and the company’s industry. This will increase employee motivation, connect the company to innovations in the market and represent it to potential clients, suppliers or partners.

6. Hold activities in partnership at lunchtime

Open your offices to neighbouring businesses to see if you can obtain exclusive rebates from them, as well as workshops, activities or conferences that inform you about their services.

7. Get involved in a good cause on behalf of your employees

Have your employees suggest charities for donations or set aside work hours for them to volunteer at the charities. These types of initiatives will align the company with your employees' values and help positively reinforce their feeling of belonging to it.

8. Launch a social club

The social club could hold various activities such as a group walks, cultural meals or sports matches against other companies. These activities will fuel team spirit and help build ties between employees.

9. Celebrate special occasions and the team in general

Unlike lunchtime activities with a more educational or active purpose, celebrations are quite simply opportunities for getting together with colleagues in a more relaxed and festive atmosphere. However, you should avoid having celebrations just once or twice per year, which gives the impression that they are more of an obligation. The company should instead advocate a “work hard, play hard” type of culture, which will come across as more authentic. Happy hours and outings at restaurants to welcome new employees are excellent examples of activities encouraged by this type of corporate culture.

10. Create a suitable space for interactions

Create an inspiring break area where employees can relax and talk to their colleagues. Include chairs, books and games to encourage social interaction.

Lamia Boucheneb, CPA, CGA

Financial Performance & Corporate Strategy Consultant at Comptabilité Stratégique.Solutions | Shopping Tours Coordinator at The Montreal Fashion Society | Content Director at the Young Business Community Of Montreal

Lamia has acquired many years of experience in analyzing financial performance and preparing budgets at organizations such as WB Games, IBM Canada and Transcontinental Inc. She has also occasionally acted as a coach and mentor for the Réseau Jeunes Entrepreneurs of the Jeune Chambre de Commerce de Montréal, Startup Weekend and Académos. She has a degree in corporate finance and accounting from HEC Montreal and has taken fashion styling courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York as well as a variety of entrepreneurship, leadership and branding training at Udacity, Udemy and other institutions. Parallel to these activities, she has organized a young professional-themed fashion show in collaboration with the Mode & Design Festival and a fashion week experience in collaboration with Fashion Preview. She is currently working on projects in the areas of financial literacy, fashion, technology and entrepreneurship with young Montrealers.