Does Boosting Employee Experience Boost Your Bottom Line?

There’s a new school of thought in the business world, one that makes positivity and employee experience a higher priority than it was in the past. It used to be that the majority of businesses focused on fiscal performance above all else. This meant that many workers experienced catastrophic burnout and that the daily grind became a “rat race” from which they were dying to escape. In recent years, however, the idea of using company culture as a benchmark for performance success has gained traction. Evidence is showing that the companies that are experiencing the most financial success are the same companies that prioritize worker experience and company culture. 

What does this mean for your workplace? Well, companies should begin to recognize (if they don’t already!) that a positive workplace culture makes them more competitive, increases employee retention, and boosts their bottom line. So, if you’re not sure if your workplace has a positive culture, or if you would like to focus on elevating your employee’s experience to benefit your finances, we’ve compiled some strategies to support you in making these changes!

illustration of employees sitting at a round table with one standing with a chart of team work with red arrow going upward

Office Culture

Your workplace has a culture just like any other community, with its own set of rules, norms, and values. This culture is evident in a variety of ways, including: 

  • Management’s approach to supervision, feedback, and conflict resolution
  • Communication standards, including frequency, language, and chain-of-command
  • Work-life balance and boundaries
  • Camaraderie and rapport among colleagues
  • Expectations around length of work days, holidays, and time off

Generally, these cultural aspects are informed by the values of higher-ups in the organization, and there may be times when the beliefs of management and the beliefs of the workforce don’t mesh. For example, some management teams value an in-person workforce, supporting the traditional 9-5 schedule and the idea that you have to show up to be heard. This more traditional way of looking at how a workplace operates, however, might isolate or exclude top-tier employees who can work more independently or who might benefit from being able to work from home.

Values are incredibly personal and discord between the values of an employer and their team, or a rigidity and inflexibility on the part of the higher-ups, can result in a negative experience, most often for employees. The impacts of a negative workplace culture can be devastating for employees, resulting in:

woman with her head in her hands feeling stressed
The impacts of a negative workplace culture can bring on stress and feelings of frustration.
  • Disputes or arguments between employees and management
  • Feeling disinterested or unmotivated
  • Pent up feelings of frustration and anger
  • Physical symptoms of stress, like headaches, nausea, and muscle aches

The worst possible outcome for employers is that an unsatisfied employee will leave their position. If that happens, you will not only lose that employee and their potential, but you will also have lost an investment of your time, money, and expertise. Remember, if one employee is dissatisfied with their work experience it is likely that others are, too. When one employee leaves, it can trigger a domino effect, and even impact recruitment as word spreads about a toxic work environment. 

Promoting A Positive Culture

There are things you can do to avoid a toxic workplace culture and ensure that employees feel like valued members of your organization’s community, who will then want to contribute to your business’s success. 

  • Identify employee needs. You might send out a survey assessing their experience with workplace culture, offering space for commentary and feedback. 
  • Formulate a plan. Come up with an organization-wide plan to address your employees’ feedback. It’s possible that some of their demands might not be feasible. If that is the case, it’s important to be transparent about the issue, rather than avoiding it all together. 
  • Invite employees to take ownership. Perhaps you don’t have the bandwidth to address some of the issues your employees have raised. Instead of ignoring the problem, you can encourage your employees to take matters into their own hands by forming a coalition or committee to work on the issue at hand. 2 circles drawn with the middle colored in red and the word compromise underneath it
  • Find a compromise. You won’t be able to fix every issue, but when you can compromise, do. For example, you may not be able to allow everyone to work from home all the time, but can you offer your staff one day a week to work remotely? 
  • Maintain changes. This is the most critical step. In many cases, management implements changes to appease their staff, and within six months things have slid right back to where they were before. This can be even more devastating – a taste of what could have been – and can leave employees frustrated and angry. To avoid this, create open channels of communication for employee feedback. Maybe you have a monthly town hall where staff can voice their concerns, or have scheduled weekly “open door” hours where your employees can come to you about workplace issues.
  • Check in annually. All of these strategies, especially a needs assessment, should be implemented at least yearly, to ensure accountability and accommodate any changes. 

The Bottom Line

In days past, suggesting that businesses care about the culture of their workplace and employee satisfaction might have gotten you laughed out of the board room. Now, though, savvy business owners know that to value, respect, and include their employees in a positive workplace culture is to increase productivity, support success, and boost their bottom line. Overworked, undervalued employees have a lower productivity rate, are easily distracted, and often end up leaving the company. But when you invest in a positive experience for your employees, they are more likely to go above and beyond for their company.

4 Tips For Effective Recruiting

The time has come to hire a new employee! Maybe you’re expanding your business, realizing you can’t use interns for full time labor, or replacing an employee who has moved on. Whatever the reason, the hiring process can be time consuming and stressful. Be ready for a longer to-do list as you sort through applications, hold interviews, form an offer, complete paperwork, and train your new employee. If just thinking about all of these tasks is zapping your energy, don’t worry: there are a few things you can do to streamline the recruiting process and recruit new talent more efficiently. 

silhouette of a hand picking up a green silhouette og a man in a suit
Reaching out to experienced applicants on LinkedIn or posting an ad on a local college’s hiring board will help you find the best.

1. Be choosy about where you recruit

If you post jobs on websites like Glassdoor and Indeed, it is likely you will receive a lot of applications, most of which will end up in the trash. Talent managers suggest digital outreach as the best alternative, such as reaching out to experienced applicants on LinkedIn or posting an ad on a local college’s hiring board. As a small business, digital outreach might even mean making posts on your social media channels, and recruiting interested applicants through the online community you’ve built. 

2. Incentivize referrals

Internal referrals from happy employees can be one of the best methods of recruiting. Your best employees might know someone they went to school with, have a colleague in the field who’s seeking employment, or even have their own networking connections. Offering a financial reward for recruiting a quality employee is a great way to increase your job search returns without expending much effort.  

3. Plan Your Interviews

Treat your interviews like you would any meeting among professionals. It’s important to remember that candidates are interviewing you, too! Be clear about your expectations, and give the candidate the chance to let you know what their expectations are, as well. A little behind-the-scenes planning can help you decide if they’re the right fit for your business, and leave them confident that you’re the right fit for them. Questions to consider when preparing:

  • Are you prioritizing someone who will be a good fit with the office, or who’s got the best skills for the job?
  • What exactly are the responsibilities of this position? 
  • What questions are most relevant for this particular candidate? 
  • What are some of the challenges of this role?group of people in the workplace gathered around each other talking

4. Keep the whole team involved.

This last step can be easily overlooked – your staff are busy, the candidate is busy, and group interviews can feel uncomfortable. But for long term retention, it’s a good idea to get a sense of how your current employees would work with your new hire. Prepare your staff ahead of time by sharing the candidates’ resume or cover letter, and ask them to think of 3-5 questions to ask the applicant. You should also ask them for feedback on the role, if you haven’t already, as they will know best what skills the position requires.

The Ideal Candidate Is Worth The Wait

Hiring isn’t just about filling a gap in your workforce. Don’t settle for a candidate who isn’t a great fit for your business, and don’t rush to fill the position. You could end up disrupting the culture of your workplace and having to go through the whole hiring process again. Your business deserves an employee who is going to contribute to a positive and productive work environment, retain their value by staying with the company, and boost your bottom line. Be patient, use our tips for recruiting more effectively, and you will have a much greater chance of building a five-star team that will stick around. They are definitely worth the wait.