“Company culture” is a lot more than the values listed on your website or blu-tacked to your wall. Absolutely, company values can be used effectively to shape culture. But when all is said and done, company culture is really the sum of the work attitudes and personalities that every single employee brings to the office.
There’s no such thing as a “right” answer. Amongst 100 companies with amazing cultures you’ll find 100 different cultures. Of course, that’s not very helpful if you’re looking for a few culture hacks you that you can do right now, so instead let’s just look to one thing.
All great cultures have a high proportion of happy employees. Studies have shown that happy employees are a whopping 12% more productive than their more frowny-faced counterparts. If that’s not a good enough reason to read on, then consider that the odds are pretty high that a lot of your employees are unhappy right now. Recent surveys have shown that on average 39% of employees are unhappy and over 70% of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work.
So, without further ado, on to the happiness hacks.
#1. Work with a Woof!
Admit it, you just smiled.
Research consistently shows that pets make people happy and less stressed. Applied to the workplace, a recent study by Michigan University found that dog friendly offices display significantly higher levels of communication and collaboration.
Of course, it may not be right for every organization, but if you decide to walk down the pooch-friendly path you’ll be in good company – including Amazon, Google and Ben & Jerry’s to name a few.
Bonus fact for cat lovers: Google’s Code of Conduct specifically addresses cats at work: “Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.”
#2. Chocolate, magical chocolate
Ever experienced a serious bout of 3:30-itis only to gobble down a piece of chocolate and suddenly feel rejuvenated? Well there’s science behind that too. A study conducted at the University of Warwick made participants take a test: they gave chocolate to half of the participants and nothing to the other half. Amazingly, the chocolate-fueled cohort performed 12% better. Other studies have shown that chocolate can improve memory, arithmetic and mood.
So whether it’s “Mint Slice Mondays”, “Tim Tam Thursdays” or just walking around the office with a big block of chocolate every now and then, make Wonka proud and your employees happy. Say “yes” to chocolate.
#3. Exercise (unfortunately, the chocolate has to go somewhere)
Everything in balance and moderation. In combination with their newly increased chocolate intake, employees should be encouraged to get out and move, whether it’s organised sports, fun runs, yoga, gym memberships or just taking a lunchtime stroll.
There are a lot of studies on this topic – but a recent paper drawing together the key research shows that, on average, workplace health initiatives reduce absenteeism by 25%, reduce workers’ compensation and disability claims by 32%, and save $5.56 for every $1 invested.
#4. No Jerks allowed
Ambition and drive is great. But not when employees are willing to boost sales by misleading or mistreating customers or stepping on their colleagues to rise to the top. It should never be the case that you’re willing to support a high achieving jerk at the expense of the happiness and productivity of all the employees around them.
One last point in favour of the “No Jerks” rule. Culture always flows from the top. By allowing jerks to rise to the top you’re setting yourself up for some serious culture cannibalism.
So, please. Install a “No Jerks” policy and stick to it.
#5. Say “thank you”
I’m sure many of you have worked in companies where regardless of how much effort you put in, it’s impossible to get a simple “thank you”. If this goes on for long enough, even the most conscientious employee will start thinking, “What’s the point?”. And that’s where it becomes a serious problem.
Fortunately, this is something we like to think we can help with. WooBoard uses social and gamification to promote meaningful employee recognition, every day.
Getting your company culture right is tricky. It’s not something that you can control or dictate in the same way as say, salaries or bonuses. And there’s no doubt that it takes time and effort to get right. Luckily, there are some quick hacks to get you moving in the right direction.
Kickstart a conversation of recognition with WooBoard. An employee recognition platform for happy and productive workplaces.