There has been much talk of “company culture” and “inclusivity” in recent times. Tech startups have been at the forefront of recognising the importance of creating an inclusive company culture. Having the right culture in place not only makes your team happier, but it also makes them more productive, which is indispensable to being successful as a business.
InspireMe understands the importance of developing talent in the workplace for the best results at both an individual and organisational level. Talent development doesn’t exist in a vacuum, however, and this is where the company’s broader culture comes into play.
Here are 6 ways you can build a more inclusive company culture which will not only make your startup a better place to work, but will make it more successful on every level.
1. Diversity in Recruitment
Company culture isn’t just about what you do once you have hired your team. It starts with recruitment: who you hire communicates a very clear message about who you are as an organisation. Furthermore, who your recruit flows on to the make up and composition of your workplace, which sets the tone for inclusivity or otherwise. If your workforce is 80% straight, white men your workplace is not going to be a place where all people feel welcome and at ease to do their best work. To create an inclusive workplace, start by actively persuing diversity in recruitment, including through identifying and headhunting candidates from a variety of backgrounds.
2. Understand What Teamwork Means
The words “team” and “teamwork” are thrown around a lot, but if you really want to create a strong, inclusive company culture you need to start by considering what these words really mean. When it comes down to it, being part of a team means being willing to see yourself as part of a greater sum of many, in terms of output and ownership. It is about putting your individuality aside in order to see yourself as part of a group. This means having a high degree of compassion, consideration and gratitude for your team members. How all the individuals support their team members is vital. Organisations must promote true teamwork by seeing it in this context, and encourage their employees to grow to become compassionate, considerate and supportive team members.
3. Facilitate Impact Projects
When we think about creating a positive company culture, often we call to mind initiatives such as employee rewards, special activities, and office facilities and perks. Think about classic examples of ping-pong tables, breakfast bars and pinball machines at legendary customers. However, these are all examples of employees getting something, when in fact giving can be much more powerful. Companies which run impact projects – either one-off or on-going projects where employees give back to their local community – have seen fantastic results in terms of creating a positive company culture. Furthermore, these kinds of activities will foster the values of compassion as discussed in point number two above, creating a real team environment which will transfer back to the workplace.
4. Set Up Employee Benefit Schemes
One of the key aspects of creating a positive company culture is showing your employees that you value them and their contribution to your organisation. A great way of doing this is through employee benefit schemes. According to Glassdoor, almost 80% of employees prefer a good benefits package to a pay rise. What’s more, 60% of people take employee benefits into consideration when deciding whether to take a job. There are a wide range of different schemes around, ranging from structural schemes such as holiday reimbursement and emergency financial assistance, to activities or services, such as chef-made lunches and in-office massages. The good news for organisations is that because of this range, they can not only choose an option which best suits their culture and their goals, but also which fits their budget, with schemes starting at low prices.
5. Celebrate difference
To be an inclusive workplace with a positive company culture, you need to be somewhere where difference isn’t just accepted, it is celebrates it. This means setting up structures and processes which are inclusive of all groups. For example, you could set aside a dedicated space for prayer for Muslim employees to observe their religious practice. You can also celebrate difference through specific activities which encourage people to express their own backgrounds, such as potluck lunches where employees are asked to bring traditional dishes from their own nationalities.
6. Invite Employee Feedback
Above all else, creating a positive, inclusive workplace means listening to your employees. It is great to learn from experts and other businesses what has worked well for them, but the true experts are sitting right in front of you: your team members. These are the people who know better than anyone what can and should be done to improve their environment. There are a few ways you can gather feedback from your employees, such as setting up regular two-way feedback exchanges with each team member, and having anonymous surveys or even the good old suggestion box. Creating a general “open door” environment where employees are encouraged to voice their feelings and opinion is a critical part of this picture. Of course the final and most important part of this process is not only listening to the feedback, but taking it on board and acting on it!