Among the issues that plagued the workforce over the past year, building and maintaining employee engagement has stuck out as a key concern across industries. Employee engagement is the emotional commitment employees have toward their organization and its goals, and it can affect business productivity and profit.
Many studies show that the total cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2X annual salary, so it’s in the interest of executives to prioritize keeping workers’ spirits high and investing in culture. This is where crowdsourcing a company culture comes into play.
While some companies today lean on flashy benefits such as gym memberships or an abundance of free snacks, companies need to go beyond that to secure the loyalty of employees. By crowdsourcing a company culture, employees feel like they play a significant role in their organization—not just in the work they do, but also in the environment that they work in.
On average, a worker spends 40 hours per week at their place of employment—it stands to reason that they’d want the work culture to be reflective of their personality or wants.
You Can Crowdsource Your Company's Culture Starting With Employee Input
Crowdsourcing a company’s culture is a bottoms-up process. It starts with the junior staff and works its way up to the top of the organization. The CEO might define the company’s mission statement, but the company’s internal environment is shaped by the people who make up the organization.
The executives can lead the charge, but employees won’t be happy if they don’t feel like their voices are being heard. By allowing the wider community of employees (rather than just the executives) to define the culture, companies will notice a higher buy-in rate, resulting in higher rates of engagement.
So how exactly can you execute the crowdsourcing of your culture? The process can take a variety of forms—from company-wide surveys and face-to-face meetings to informal group discussions, companies can collect input from employees on what they want in the company culture.
6 Ways to Crowdsource Your Culture
Here are six ways companies can crowdsource company culture and the pitfalls to avoid.
1. Don’t force it: Developing positive company culture is not always easy to come by and one way to slow down the process, even more, is to force it on employees. It’s important to keep in mind that if you have great people who are the right cultural fit, great things and a wonderful culture will happen naturally.
2. Get leadership buy-in: The leadership team should act as enablers for crowdsourcing culture. When management and executives show investment in the company culture, it shows they’re also invested in their people.
3. Create a committee: Establishing a committee that engages with all team members will not only provide the organization needed to run smoothly and efficiently but also act as a liaison to communicate ideas to all in the company. Form these committees through a democratic process and make all voices heard by asking questions to get team insight and learn what is important to them.
An Employee Engagement Committee can drive all of a company’s initiatives around employee wellness, diversity, and inclusion, community giving, and company spirit. This not only results in finding ways for employees to have some fun at work but ensures engagement activities reflect what is important to employees. For many, feeling heard is what makes people feel happy and satisfied at work.
4. Don’t let the budget get in the way: Money constraints shouldn’t get in the way of fostering culture, in fact, tight budgets may bring to light ideas you wouldn’t expect. If budget negotiations become a roadblock—or even if a company has unlimited funds—crowdsourcing is the perfect opportunity to get creative. Lean on the ideas and the talents of teams, and always remember that simple does not necessarily equal boring.
5. Embrace the uniqueness of your team: Companies that recognize and celebrate their team’s diversity perform better and problem solve faster. When it comes to company culture, this is the same philosophy. You can tap your team’s uniqueness and experiences from their different walks of life as a crowdsourcing opportunity, as well as an opportunity to educate.
One idea is to celebrate a culture within the company if employees are willing to plan and educate teams. That way, employees can equate a personal connection to their work life.
6. Stay committed: Of course, values are of little importance unless they are enshrined in a company’s practices. If an organization professes, “people are our greatest asset,” the organization should also invest in people in visible ways.
Wegman’s, for example, promotes values like “caring” and “respect,” promising prospects “a job [they’ll] love.” And it follows through in its company practices; it is ranked by "Fortune" as the fifth best company at which to work.
Over the past few years, culture has become one of the most talked about buzzwords—and for good reason. Cultivating a strong and positive company culture not only creates an environment where people want to work, but can also become the underlying reasons for success for an organization in the long run.
The benefits are clear, including strong employee retention and engagement. So companies need to realize that the key to creating a distinct, employee and customer supported workplace culture is to crowdsource your company culture and implement your employees’ best ideas.
Sharon Marnien is an accomplished and energetic leader with over 20 years Human Resources experience in both large and small companies in the Technology and Financial Services industries.