Every organization has a culture, whether it is intentionally crafted by company leadership or allowed to develop organically. An organization’s culture plays a vital role in shaping how individuals work and function within the company, making it a crucial element of its ultimate success. Recognizing the importance of a positive work environment, many companies strive to create productive cultures that foster growth and employee well-being.
8 tips to improving organizational culture
1. Promoting speak up
Encouraging employees to speak up and voice their concerns is fundamental to nurturing a healthy company culture. Companies should establish clear channels, such as whistleblowing and reporting hotlines, where employees can safely report wrongdoing or unethical behavior. By providing accessible instructions on accessing these hotlines and guiding employees to the appropriate channels for their concerns, companies can ensure employees feel supported. Tracking whistleblowing data allows companies to identify trends, gauge the effectiveness of their compliance team, and address any systemic issues that may arise.
Transparency builds trust and fosters a positive work environment. Company leaders should engage with employees openly and honestly, including the CEO, senior executives, and board. This can involve discussing various aspects of the company, such as its financial performance, upcoming training initiatives or company updates. By sharing information and creating opportunities for dialogue, employees feel more connected from senior management, enhancing their sense of belonging and involvement in the company's mission.
3. Tone from the top
The behavior and actions of senior staff set the tone for the entire organization. Leaders must exemplify a positive, inclusive, and reflective culture that aligns with company values. Connecting with employees, understanding their challenges, and actively listening to their concerns is essential. Regular one-on-one meetings, group activities, and team-building exercises are effective ways for senior staff to foster meaningful relationships with their teams and promote a supportive work environment.
Providing comprehensive training programs is essential for all employees, including board members and managers. These programs should address potential issues and risks while emphasizing the importance of creating an inclusive and open environment. Additionally, new employees should receive proper onboarding training to familiarize themselves with the company's behavioral expectations. Ongoing education and development opportunities are crucial for employees to stay updated with industry trends and best practices.
5. Setting clear goals and expectations
Clear and well-defined company policies and procedures are vital for establishing guidelines on compliance requirements, a comprehensive code of conduct, and behavioral expectations. These policies should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure they remain relevant and transparent for new employees. Setting clear goals and expectations helps align employees with the company's vision and values, creating a sense of purpose and direction within the organization.
6. Culture survey
To gauge the effectiveness of a company's culture, conducting regular culture surveys or questionnaires can provide valuable insights. Employees should be encouraged to provide honest feedback on their experiences and perceptions of the company's culture. It is essential to respond to survey results with feedback and take action to address areas that need improvement. Collaboration between compliance, human resources, and the board is necessary to implement meaningful changes based on the survey findings.
Providing employees with flexibility and autonomy is crucial in the modern working age. Trusting employees to manage their workload and schedule demonstrates respect for their commitments outside of work. This can include offering flexible working hours, remote or hybrid work arrangements, or allowing employees to take mental health days when needed. Flexibility promotes work-life balance and contributes to a more satisfied and engaged workforce.
8. Handle non-compliance consistently
When an employee(s) commits an act of non-compliance, HR, legal and compliance teams must have a swift action plan to deal with the instance appropriately and consistently.
Implementing a unified compliance program
A unified compliance program offers numerous advantages when implemented in a company.
Firstly, it promotes consistency by ensuring all employees adhere to the same program, minimizing confusion and enhancing efficiency. Secondly, it fosters a robust organizational culture based on transparency, trust and inclusiveness – reinforcing the company's core values and delivering a consistent message to all staff members. Additionally, this program brings leadership closer to their teams, giving them a comprehensive perspective and facilitating a deeper understanding of compliance initiatives. By centralizing the compliance program, processes are streamlined, avoiding data silos and policy duplications while enabling easier detection of potential threats. A unified compliance program enhances operational effectiveness and safeguards the company's integrity.
Training and communication
People learn and retain information in different ways. Therefore, every organization should use a variety of methods for compliance training and employee policy communication ranging from in-person to online strategies:
- Reverse mentoring
- Employee-led focus groups
- Intranet – online employee hub
- A third-party learning management system with tailored training courses
- Face-to-face planned learning and training sessions
- Newsletters/articles/case studies
- Frequent email updates
- Office posters
- Branded screen savers
- Online or virtual interest groups
- Ensuring ADA or similarly compliant access to online learning portals and courses
- Employee awareness days
- Town hall meetings with executive staff
Improving employee experience is crucial for companies throughout the different stages of an employee’s tenure, including onboarding, working at the company, and departure procedures.
To enhance the onboarding experience, it is essential to train hiring managers to fully understand the culture and compliance needs and goals of the company. This includes educating them about the recruitment and interview process, teaching active listening skills to address new employees' questions and feedback, and practicing scenario-based questions. Additionally, it is crucial to create an inclusive environment by fostering good communication, understanding team members' personal interests and career goals, and providing regular training on performance.
During the employment period, companies should ensure employees receive financial support during difficult times by considering measures like COL (cost of living) allowance, people fund, or hardship fund as appropriate. Open and honest conversations about company policies and behavioral expectations are also crucial, as well as rewarding employees for taking on additional responsibilities and displaying acts of kindness. Recognizing hard work and project contributions openly during group or town hall meetings, mental health support, compassionate time off, and providing flexible working hours and locations are all vital for maintaining a positive employee experience.
Finally, during the exit process, it is essential to treat the employee handover with respect and value and express gratitude for their contributions to the organization.
To learn more about how NAVEX online solutions can help your organization to achieve its compliance and culture goals, click here. Or to understand more about the importance of having a strong and positive company culture, check out our culture page here.