Culture Matters: 5 Keys to Happier Employees And Improved Retention

Culture Matters: 5 Keys to Happier Employees and Longer RetentionIf there’s anything we’ve learned in the HR space over the past decade, it’s that culture matters. The war for talent won’t be won with fatter compensation packages or hefty signing bonuses (although there is certainly a place for each of those). It will be won with a culture that values employees, gives them opportunities for growth, promotes healthy management styles, and supports organizational values.

The rising generation of workers cares more about working for a company with a culture they believe in than they do about making wads of money. So how can you create a company culture that promotes happiness and engagement in the workplace?

  1. Find Your True North 

    You can’t make progress in life or business unless you have a goal. As Laurence J. Peter famously said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” Goals can take many forms: mission statements, vision statements, annual, quarterly, and monthly targets, and even daily objectives. But you must start with the big picture first, before planning out the details. If you don’t, you’ll never know whether or not you’re on track. Ask yourself these questions:

    • What is my business mission or unique value?
    • What is the “why” of my business? What inspires me to serve my customers?
    • What do I value the most in my business?
    • What standards will help me uphold those values? 
    • How can I architect a culture designed to achieve my mission, reach my business goals, support my values, and engage employees?

  2. Create a Collaborative Structure

    A full 90% of employees believe that managers should seek other opinions (i.e., collaborate) before making a final decision, and 97% of both employees and executives believe that project outcomes will be affected by whether or not a team works well together. A collaborative culture encourages every employee to contribute and values the ideas and creative insights of every member of the team. Flowing out of the agile project management style, collaborative work environments emphasize personal initiative, self-management, and innovation within a team. And companies that do it well outperform those that don’t in areas like revenue growth and employee retention.

  3. Revamp Performance Management

    Performance management trends reflect a shift away from the annual review and toward more frequent, actionable feedback. That’s because employees perform better when they can adjust what they’re doing right away to meet goals and increase productivity rather than waiting till the end of the year to find out they’ve missed the mark. Results-oriented performance management programs focus on more frequent (even real-time) feedback, more objective rating systems, and actionable suggestions for improvement.

  4. Treat People Well

    Good managers and management practices rank 2nd and 3rd on the list of things millennials want from their employers—well above informal work environments or free coffee. Good managers are those that communicate well, set clear expectations, provide useful feedback, and utilize employee strengths effectively. When your employees feel supported and valued by their managers, they will remain engaged with your company and their productivity will skyrocket.

  5. Embrace Risk

    Companies that embrace risk of failure also create a culture of innovation. That’s because when you make failure safe, employees become more willing to step out and try new ideas. And that’s how the best new products and strategies are born.

Collaborative cultures that attract top performers won’t happen overnight. They require intentional, consistent action to transform your business into a place people love to work. One way small business owners can jumpstart the process is to shift your administrative HR burden to a PEO so you can focus on creating the culture you want.

If you’re ready to find out how a PEO can help you build your small business, take our comprehensive PEO matching survey and get your free report based on the specific needs of your business.

Read more about this topic:

Creating a Strong Culture: HR Partners Enable Success


About the Author: Susan McClure is our resident content marketer at She writes about HR outsourcing, HRIS, and general employment issues. When she isn't writing, you might find her browsing shelves at the library, exploring a local hiking trail, or digging in the garden with her family and fur kids.