How can employers improve their workplace culture?

Nolan Gray Corporate Recruiting

Attracting and retaining skilled workers who add value to an organisation requires a productive, respectful and collaborative workplace culture. By strategising around the needs and desires of today's employees, a business can reduce turnover and achieve long-term growth. From utilising a mobile recruiting strategy to giving workers a sense of purpose in their daily routine, employers can find means to strengthen the workplace culture. Here are a few ways a business can cultivate an actively engaged staff:

1. Smooth the onboarding process
In a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 31 percent of UK employees said they felt disappointed in their new jobs within the first six months. The skills shortage means that unsatisfied new hires who have a strong background of experience or education are often able to make an immediate switch to a different position. One way to improve workers' early impressions of a job and get them contributing productively from the start is to make the hiring and onboarding processes as seamless as possible.

"31 percent of UK employees expressed disappointment in new jobs."

Recruitment software can render the transition into a new role faster and simpler by improving communication with candidates and gathering relevant data more efficiently. An onboarding solution minimises the need for manually filling out forms, with tax information, offer letters, direct deposit routing and references all collected online. This way, more of the necessary items are organised and readily available when the employee comes in on the first day.

2. Reduce the gap between workers and management
Many employees feel disconnected from the leadership at their companies, and this creates tension in the office. The spring 2016 employee outlook survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed ongoing problems in the relations between workers and managers coupled with declining job satisfaction numbers.

The survey found employees were less likely than in the previous year to believe their managers treated their subordinates with respect or had a clear vision for the organisation. Confidence in senior managers was on the downswing as well, with workers feeling shut out of important decisions. By offering greater contact with upper management, reaching out the individuals who will be impacted by new initiatives and changes in strategy, an organisation can combat this sense of alienation.  

3. Make thoughtful use of space
According to the Gensler UK Workplace Survey 2016, more than 8 million UK workers spend their days in an open-plan environment. While it's possible for these arrangements to be productive and efficient, in many cases they are not set up to achieve the best results.

Employees have more positive feelings about the office when their work areas are tailored to the daily requirements of their job, rather than based on hierarchy. Providing private offices for only managers exacerbates the gap between leaders and the staff. A desk in a crowded room is often not the optimal environment, and workers need options to step aside and complete tasks in privacy or collaborate with small groups. 

JobscienceProviding space for collaboration is essential to make an open-plan office effective.

4. Give work meaning
Engaged employees have confidence that their everyday tasks are accomplishing something greater for themselves and the organisation. Workers grow dissatisfied when they feel employers are unfair in offering opportunities for personal growth or a path for advancement. Claire McCartney, CIPD research adviser for resourcing and talent planning, explained to the Independent why providing employees with meaningful chances to step up is so important.

"Although many organisations are flatter in structure and have adopted matrix ways of working, this can mean routes for career progression are not as clear," she said. "Despite wider global economic uncertainty, employers need to think of new ways to keep their employees engaged and committed."

By leveraging staffing software to track and hire individuals who have the right experience and skills, a business has the opportunity develop a body of employees who are committed to a shared mission. This sense of purpose can involve temporary and contract workers as well, demonstrating they have an important role to play in building a unified, positive workplace culture. As a study from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation emphasised, these employees have their own career goals, and businesses can take steps to offer appropriate skills training and individual development.

5. Adapt your strategy
Ultimately, a culture of engaged workers relies on the relationships formed within the individual business. Every workplace is different, with its own goals and employees who come from varied backgrounds. Therefore, leaders must strive to forge lasting bonds based on the organisational mission and existing connections.

Harvard Business Review stated that to achieve noticeable results, the culture must be regularly evaluated. Employers can then respond to structures and behaviors damaging the values of commitment and fairness among workers. Garnering an awareness of how new employees will fit into those cultural goals should be built into the hiring process.

An applicant tracking system can play a major role in contacting and recruiting workers who will make positive contributions to the office culture. With powerful tools and thoughtful strategies, companies are able to bring in highly qualified individuals and help them reach their full potential.