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16 Smart ‘Culture’ Investments Every Company Should Make

December 16, 2021

16 Smart ‘Culture’ Investments Every Company Should Make

On the surface, it may not seem like revamping a company’s culture can help its bottom line. However, many companies have found the opposite to be true, with investments in culture paying off in both the short- and long-term.

The key to successful company culture investments is the ability to measure your return. To help you do this, a panel of Forbes Human Resources Council members offer their best advice for examining the ROI of cultural initiatives. Below are their recommendations for some smart culture investments and how to gauge their effectiveness.

1. Take Periodic Polls

Take a periodic poll on what your company means to your employees. For example, ask questions like, what are three words to describe our company? What do company values mean to you? Etc. This will help calibrate how your workforce perceives the workplace, and you can grow from there—starting employee-led initiatives to develop and evolve specific areas. It’s very important to continue such projects now with many working remotely. – Rachel Lyubovitzky, MidasXL, Inc.

2. Integrate Bots And Machine Algorithms

The future of work will be people plus machines. CHROs must find ways to integrate bots and machine algorithms into the ways of working. This can be done by using recommended systems for employee learning, data-driven nine boxes and bias detectors related to diversity and inclusion and interview equity. The key is to embed machines into the daily processes. This will help transform the organization’s culture. – David Swanagon, Ericsson

3. Hold Culture Calibration Sessions

Hold culture calibration sessions with employees and leaders to understand what they value most about culture today, what could be improved and especially what excites them about the future. Then, examine your culture offerings and determine whether they help or hinder that company culture. Holding frequent calibration and visioning sessions with talent can be great for intel and engagement. – Nicole Fernandes, Blu Ivy Group

4. Invest In Team-Building Activities

Building camaraderie among team members outside of just work tasks can help greatly with retention and employee satisfaction. Investing in team-building activities—even just sharing a “recipe of the week”—can get people chatting and making friends, creating a more cohesive culture. The investment doesn’t have to be big, but it does require consistency and interaction from upper-level management. – Laura Spawn, Virtual Vocations, Inc.

5. Offer Small Perks

When seeking to improve a workplace environment, don’t forget little perks can make a big impact. Consider providing snacks and drinks, volunteer engagement opportunities, occasional company-paid luncheons or care packages for remote employees and fun activities outside of work hours. These small investments can improve employee retention, lowering company costs for recruitment and training. – Niki Jorgensen, Insperity

6. Listen And Give Employees A Voice

Simply listening and giving employees a voice can go a long way in improving culture. To give them that voice, you should host regular check-ins (not just during annual reviews), review and follow up on feedback and be transparent in your progress on initiatives you know they care about. Regular employee surveys allow you to ask questions about progress and see how it’s paid off over time. – Jennifer Reimert, Workhuman

7. Be Transparent And Communicative

Transparency and equitable communication are great places to start when investing in workplace culture. This can be done by planning and implementing two-way feedback loops. Then, invest in gathering ongoing feedback and follow-through by communicating the results and laying out a plan of action. We do this through eNPS surveys, employee roundtables and an annual engagement survey. – Jennifer Rozon, McLean & Company

8. Invest In Employee Mental Health And Wellbeing

There are two areas that companies should invest in to improve culture today, especially in hybrid work environments. One is employee mental health and well-being, the other is employee reskilling and upskilling. ROI from both initiatives includes better employee engagement, increased job satisfaction, higher productivity and ultimately better net promoter scores internally and with customers. – John Morgan, LHH

9. Use Video To Boost Engagement

Video is one of the best investments a company can make. It boosts engagement and can evoke a more personal connection than static text. Our recent survey found that 52% of employees prefer to watch or listen to a company announcement or communication instead of reading an email or blog post, showcasing video’s value for future investment, as companies continue to embrace digital offerings. – Jeniffer Strub, Vyond

10. Focus On DEI Initiatives

The most impactful way to invest in your culture is by focusing on DEI and hiring people of varied backgrounds. Research shows that innovative ideas are best fostered when diverse experiences and perspectives are brought to the table. To continuously evolve DEI and examine ROI, constantly reassess initiatives, such as AI-driven recruitment processes and internal surveys and modify as needed. – Ragu Bhargava, Global Upside Corporation

11. Find Ways To Connect

It’s all about connections. In a remote and hybrid world, we have become more isolated and siloed. We thrive on human connection. Find innovative ways for employees to connect across teams and organizational boundaries. This helps to build valuable networks and forge bonds with colleagues which, in turn, drives higher levels of performance and builds bonds that keep employees in the company. – Sarah Johnson, Perceptyx, Inc.

12. Flip The Organization On Its Head

One way to invest or revamp a company’s culture is to relinquish some control and empower employees to have a Culture Committee. There is where they can exercise their voice, create proposals to the leadership of the changes they would like to see and ultimately work toward targeted goals for the fiscal year, which can make the organization a great place to work. – Tish McFadden, The Shine Institute

13. Invest In Virtual Company Initiatives

One of the best things companies can do as we continue to see more and more remote workplaces is to invest in company culture initiatives that can reach employees virtually. Invest in an employee social media platform that includes not only news and critical resources, but also engagement activities such as contests and ways to highlight their work contributions. – Kristen Hommes, Beztak

14. Practice Open Communication

From my experience, open communication is the key to building a strong collaborative environment. I invest my time by having an “HR coffee check-in” cadence with employees regularly to build a rapport with the team. This has resulted in a stronger, more transparent culture. Asking for feedback quarterly on key areas of culture has engaged the team, allowing them to feel valued and heard. – Robin Page, Bluedot Innovation

15. Allow All Employees To Contribute

A company’s performance has everything to do with its people. If you ensure your employees are happy in the workplace, they will deliver that to the customers when in service. To build an inclusive, positive and confident workforce, I believe in having employees of all levels contribute to their company’s success with their ideas, plans and goals—having the employees be a part of our decisions and mission. – Alexis Schuman, Sexy Fish

16. Conduct Exit Interviews

Employees can easily discern between a good and bad work environment and culture—they’ll always leave the bad for the good. If employers are having trouble retaining workers, they should conduct exit interviews to find out how their competitors are attracting them. Once they implement changes that address the problems, they can determine the ROI based on the improvement in retention numbers. – John Feldmann, Insperity