How to build a positive company culture

What makes a positive company culture? It is the overall intrinsic atmosphere and attitude created through the synergy of great people, a positive working environment, and meaningful values. It has a direct impact on a company’s performance and employee wellbeing. A positive and engaging culture that reflects company values and supports employees can do wonders for a company’s success. By giving businesses and their employees an identity, belief in purpose, and sense of belonging, a strong company culture can help organisations thrive. Businesses with a stale culture often look to improve it but knowing where to start can be a challenge. Your culture isn’t tangible. It’s not something you can show people or pass on from one business to another. It is something you feel when working somewhere. It’s the connectivity between employees and a business. It’s a behaviour that runs through the company in line with its values and purpose.

Essentially, it is paramount to define a company’s identity to the rest of the world. It also helps businesses to attract like-minded people who want to be a part of the company and drive it forward. A positive culture creates a happy workforce which leads to engaged and motivated staff who will in turn give their all to provide a stellar service. It’s a win-win situation and a therefore a must have for any business!

Our Head of People at Dthree and DeVono Cresa, share their top tips for helping you improve your company culture and better your workplace.

Two people talking

Establishing strong company values and goals

Hannah May: Having strong values gives us a purpose, belonging and an identity. Company values give an expectation of behaviour and a standard we wish our employees to adhere to. Having strong values has not only improved employee communication, engagement, wellbeing and performance, it also clearly outlines an understanding of who we are as a company.

Ruth Lynch: Instilling meaningful company principles is an integral part to building a happy workforce and gives more purpose to what you do as a business. DeVono Cresa’s core principles were a brainchild of the employees themselves. They are relevant and resonate with every single person in the business and are the components of a universal goal and vision that is encapsulated in how we behave with each other in the office, to how we treat and dedicate our time to clients. We help build an engaged workforce by providing a real estate platform for future growth.

"You are not alone" on a wall, yellow workspaces

Offering flexibility in the workspace

Hannah: Everyone works differently, our core business purpose is to “make life work.” For our clients and employees, we provide the outcome you need. Having options for employees to work flexibly makes life work. It increases performance, engagement and motivates employees. Office layout plays a pivotal role in fostering a specific type of employee culture. We have seen a clear shift in the market with businesses increasingly seeking more ‘people-centric’ office designs which prioritise the use of open plan and bright rooms with plenty of space for collaboration.

Ruth: Agile working systems can create a great sense of autonomy and trust in employees. Systems such as working from home can reduce both employee stress and sick days – again leading to a more engaged and productive workforce which will in turn benefit the business. Having an open plan office with specific agile areas for collaboration or quiet time is great for engagement, team morale and general wellbeing.

People focused incentives

Hannah: Supporting and enhancing employee wellness by providing perks is about giving back to our employees. Its shows employees that they are appreciated, and that we are looking out for their wellbeing. People spend the majority of their time at work, therefore the importance of people focused incentives such as lunches each week, massages every month and healthy snacks in abundance is important and shouldn’t be overlooked when creating a positive culture.

Ruth: The link between wellbeing and performance has never been more apparent. According to a ‘Work Well Being’ report, poor mental health costs employers between £33-£42billion per year in the UK, with over a fifth of employees now reporting that mental health problems are the main cause of pro-longed sick leave. Putting an Employee Assistance Programme in place is a cost-effective way of helping your staff tackle their stresses and can decrease sick leave. Mental health and staff wellbeing is also something that is focused on regularly at DeVono Cresa and treated with the same level of importance as physical health and safety. Having employee breakfasts and lunches once a week are a great way of showing your staff you care and value both them and their wellbeing. Regular social events also help to keep company morale high and create bonds between employees and provide opportunities for people to switch off and recharge. Small incentives go a long way and are so easy for businesses to achieve.

Open office, pool table, people talking at a table

Empower and encourage your employees

Hannah: We have a reward and recognition program which is highly important and beneficial to both the business and our people. Recognition should be structured, organic and meaningful. It increases employee productivity, helps retain top talent, builds on a positive culture, creates a collaborative working environment, especially in peer to peer recognition, increases employee motivation, and increases company performances.

Ruth: Regular employee recognition is vital for employee success and acknowledging great work. Monthly awards and prizes for those that excel and display the company values are a great way of celebrating the success of individuals and the efforts of the business as a whole. At DeVono Cresa we celebrate successes in company ‘Huddles’ each month which bring everyone together and create a sense of fun and camaraderie amongst employees. Even rewards such as team lunches for work anniversaries celebrating employee loyalty go a long way.

Listen to what your employees have to say

Hannah: Feedback comes under employee engagement. We use an online anonymous tool to ask employees for their feedback and ways we can improve to increase their happiness and productivity. Feedback helps us to gage the overall feelings in camp and gives us awareness of any challenges or issues that may be under the surface. It also helps us to improve manager and team relationships, as well as increase communication across the board by giving everyone a voice. You spoke, we heard! We visibly showcase changes to our employees based on popular opinions so they can see that their feedback has not gone unheard.

Ruth: Distributing surveys on a monthly basis where employees can have their say and feedback on what we can do even better as a business is a great way to enhance staff engagement and shows that we want to stay in tune with the working environment. Organised discussions or ‘People’ forums where employees can sit together and discuss what is working well and what we could do better with department heads is another way that employees get to have their say and get involved in creating a positive and engaging culture. This sense of collaboration is important for a positive company culture.

Group conversation

Find people who fit

Hannah: We ensure that our company values are part of our hiring process. Our purpose and mission as a business are made clear in all recruitment strategies, to ensure any potential candidates are in line with our values. As part of the process we have a final value interview stage where the questions are aligned to our values to ensure that the individual has a similar value-set and meets the needs of the business from a personal perspective. By ensuring that a person fits in with our values we immediately create an understanding of who we are as a business and our purpose.

Ruth: Hiring the right people is a huge cornerstone in maintaining a positive company culture and core values should be at the forefront of the recruiting process. Managers need to be in tune with their team and know what does and doesn’t fit within this, while at the same time find the right people who already carry the characteristics of the company core values.

Wellness in the workplace

Hannah: Wellness schemes in the workplace helps to reduce stress levels and increase happiness. Wellness is also increased by having a clear development and progression program for employees which drives motivation and retention levels. Healthy body healthy mind! We have a wide range of platforms for wellness including coaching session and one to one time with a financial advisor. Financial concerns can cause anxiety and stress and impact in productivity.

Ruth: At DeVono Cresa we also encourage staff to do community work. Many staff have attended volunteering sessions for the Connection at St Martins, serving lunch to London’s hungry and homeless. Creating a sense of fun around our charity days brings staff together socially while also highlighting awareness around important causes. Both Dthree and DeVono work together to raise money for Young Minds by hosting various events and activities for our staff to participate in. In terms of balancing well-being with career growth and progression opportunities, a quarterly one-to-one appraisal system where employees can discuss their progress throughout the year with line managers is important for professional and personal development.

Overhead of people playing pool

If you have a stale company culture that needs improving and want to understand how your office environment and workspace layout impacts this, get in touch and we would be happy to help!

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