1029092_60505754The start of a new year is a great time for companies to assess their corporate environment. Consider it your corporate culture resolutions list. Here are six steps to get you started in the right direction.

  1. Be the leader. A winning corporate culture starts at the top. Sincere leaders who are transparent about their decisions, upbeat but honest about the company’s future, and show a genuine interest in their workers create an environment that fosters loyalty, creativity and productivity.
  2. Establish trust. Employees are happier when they have control over their work and are not micromanaged. A 2012 survey by human resource firm LRN Corporation found that bosses who genuinely trusted their workers and gave them more autonomy saw these benefits: less misconduct and absenteeism, as well as greater engagement, innovation, customer service and financial growth.
  3. Poll the ranks. A survey of employees’ concerns or gripes can provide great insight into what management can do to improve its corporate culture. You might be surprised at the simple things people request: new office furniture, a different spot in the office, more flex time, or a new snack room. Attending to these needs can make your office somewhere people want to come every day.
  4. Plan for fun. During the recession most businesses had to cut costs, and employee events or perks were probably the first to go. However, work events go a long way to create an emotional bond between a business and its workers. Consider funding a happy hour once a month where employees can relax or a family pizza night over the weekend. Think outside the box. Start a walking group to promote health, or a bowling night. Or give each department a budget and let them pick what they would like to do.
  5. Calling all mentors. Mentoring is a great way to grow your employees and keep them engaged. Avoid thinking only of traditional mentoring programs. Instead of one-on-one mentoring, appoint experts in the office where people can ask for help depending on the issue. For instance, Mary is the expert for customer service problems, or Jose is the guy for technology issues. Also, if you do pair people, match those with different strengths so they will challenge each other. Plus, upper management can benefit from mentoring. Consider bringing in a consultant to add a fresh perspective.
  6. Communicate. People are happier if they know what to expect. If you don’t have a vision statement, make one and promote it. When transitioning, keep people updated with timelines and key decisions. Don’t leave room for confusion, which can lead to unnecessary grudges or worry.