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Corporate Culture 62009475e405d

Come for the Pay and Benefits. Stay for the Company Culture.

Feb. 7, 2022
Flexible scheduling, educational opportunities and even small gestures can improve morale.

IndustryWeek's elite panel of regular contributors.

For years, companies believed employees only wanted higher wages and better benefits, and “culture” stopped there. While being paid a competitive wage is certainly a priority, COVID-19 has taught us there are other important things, too. Employees want a work/life balance and to feel valued and appreciated.

As millennials and Gen Z entered the workforce, employers began to see a shift towards employees wanting to be a part of something bigger. The next generation is choosing companies based on how involved they are in their communities, the impact they have on the world and the flexibility they offer.

All of this ties into organizational culture. Onex was once led with a command-and-control leadership style. However, everything improved when we put a focus on caring for our personnel, ensuring they felt valued and respected.

Let’s breakdown a few areas and provide ideas on how you might improve your organizational culture.

Clean Up the Place

If you would be embarrassed to have your family visit the office or plant, clean it up! For example, we applied a fresh coat of paint and new carpet, which did not cost much but really freshened up the place. The addition of signs, plants and photographs brings life to the office, making everyone feel good. If you, the owner/leader are proud of where you work, your employees will take pride in it, too.

Ensure the common areas, such as the lunchroom and bathroom, are clean as well. Nothing shows respect more than a nice, clean restroom. Take it up a notch and put free individual-sized snacks in the lunchroom. You never know when someone will forget their lunch or just need a pick-me-up during the day.

When you are finished cleaning up the common areas, allow individuals work time to clean up their personal workspaces. I don’t know about you, but I function much better when things are neat and organized.

Flexible Schedules

At first pass, you are going to likely tell me a flexible schedule is impossible. But, is it really? In years past, it was common for everyone to arrive and leave at the same time. Today, we have more working, dual- income families. A parent may need to stay home until the bus runs or be home by the time children return from school. Some people work better early in the morning when it is quiet at the office, offering the opportunity to be creative. Some people need to sleep in as they attend night school in the evenings after work. Others are unable to work 40-hours per week for a variety of personal reasons. If you truly care about your personnel, you will do your best to meet them where they are and make reasonable accommodations.

Employees will feel valued and appreciated when they know you see them as individuals and care for them personally.

Care about People

Recognize when someone does an excellent job. Every thank you and attaboy that we receive from clients and vendors is shared with all employees at our weekly company meeting.

At Onex, we expect everyone to provide ideas on how we can make things better, whether it is improving a process or the need for new equipment. As leaders, we act quickly on the recommendations we receive, which allows personnel to know that their ideas are important.

We take pride in our work, knowing that each individual contributes to getting the job done. There are training opportunities as well as education reimbursements allowing employees the opportunity to continue learning and growing.

Our celebrations include lunches together as a team to celebrate holidays, birthdays or company milestones. A lot of times, there is Onex swag such as hats, t-shirts or sweatshirts given out so that we can wear our company gear with pride. In addition, a monthly kindness project allows us to all contribute to our community through gifts for children at Christmas, a winter hat and coat drive, supplies for the animal shelter or a race to fund cancer research.

Some of us spend more time with our work family than our own families. Finding enjoyment and fulfillment in our work should be the norm. We should be able to find more positivity than negativity, while completing meaningful work. Little things like learning about your fellow co-workers’ personal lives brings more camaraderie and support to the workplace.

Consider what you can do to make individuals feel valued and appreciated. Assuming your wage and benefit packages are in line with your industry, what can you do to make your company the employer of choice?

Ashleigh Walters is president of Onex and author of Leading with Grit and Grace.

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