HR extends beyond just hiring, enabling day to day operations, and managing the payroll. Through its rules and regulations, HR directly sets the stage for workplace culture to blossom flourish. A strong company culture is desired by many and its merits are also acknowledged. However, the steps to achieving it can seem daunting. This is especially so in companies with distributed workforces since HR cannot directly influence employees. In such cases, it is the front line managers and employees in those branch offices who can influence the culture. This article will talk about the importance of ensuring transparency, recognizing and rewarding contributions, and even encouraging basic communication to better co-working relationships. While obvious, ensuring transparency is one way to go about improving workplace culture. Giving employees the option to gain a clear and unbiased insight of the company?s past, current, and future outlook can be helpful. It not only informs, but also signals trust. This can be done through information sharing via effective communication and collaboration tools such that individuals are regularly updated. Tailor-made internal tools such as CIPHR Net, HipChat, Slack and Yammer are just a few examples. Project management tools such as Asana, Jira, and Trello are available as well. A myriad of collaborative apps are also available on-the-go, with basic features being completely free of charge. Over time, employees can experience a mental shift to embrace the sharing of successes and failures to facilitate learning, which can improve the company?s performance. Active communication can also help identify problems at an early stage to prevent crises. Companies that recognize and reward good contributions have a drastically lower turnover rate. Many erroneously think that recognition can only stem from the top. However, holistic, all-round recognition can be more effective. In fact, face-to-face, peer-to-peer words of encouragement can be a great complement to monetary rewards to create a well-rounded culture of acknowledgement to push employees to excel. This is an effective method to infuse recognition to improve co-working relationship, thereby driving employee engagement and improving your company culture. Just as how a face-to-face praise from a manager is valuable, socializing face-to-face with fellow colleagues can also be enriching. This can be done by structuring the workplace to increase collisions, which is chance encounters and unplanned interactions amongst employees. This form of internal networking prevents people from working in siloes, and allows them to co-create. If the staff are working remotely, technological advances can still easily allow people to reach out to one another. HR professionals can also develop the habit of walking around the office for staff engagement. This is an argueably more effective way than having an official meeting to find out about areas to improve on, and to at least put a face on an email or a name. The HR committee can also organize social events to allow employees to know more about each other outside of work. To encourage more exchange of ideas from management to staff, removing hierarchies can also be useful. This is especially so for companies who prioritize innovation. Have an open-door policy and make sure that leadership is not literally or figuratively behind closed doors. This way, employees can feel less intimidates and be more willing to exchange ideas. HR can aim to inspire workplace autonomy to prevent micromanagement. Allowing liberty and choice for employees to make their own decisions can generate satisfaction and even efficacy. In this regard, HR can help by ensuring that systems are in place for accountability to ensure a peace of mind for the management. On a similar note, this also means that flexibility in working hours and locations should be in place. This is especially manageable if the company has a number of offices within the city. Preventing employee burnout is increasingly important as more and more professionals are recognizing that a burnout does not mean that employees are working better and generating more profits for the company sustainably. Taking care of employees is tantamount to taking care of your profit makers. As such, it makes full economic sense to prevent burnouts. HR can play a part to reminding managers by making it a point in their meetings or trainings, or by sharing insightful articles via e-mail. This may be strikingly obvious, but a once a year feedback is simply not sufficient. Regardless of the intention, it can be perceived as not genuine, vague, or not useful. Timely feedback to reward good behavior and correct undesirable ones as they happen is important. HR can encourage leaders to give and solicit regular feedback. HR can also help to build the right environment by hiring someone of the right fit to begin with. Finding capable people who have similar core values and missions with the company is crucial. They can grow to become ambassadors and advocates for your company. Besides all the achievements on a candidate?s resume, filtering them based on traits is important. Some teams prefer driven and passionate employees to work independently, while others want sociable and energetic enthusiasts to balance out the team. HR can work closely with the departments to figure out which potential hire is most appropriate. Having a good and strong company culture will attract talents, retain good people, and improve performance. At the end of the day, company culture can be shaped and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to HR. Listen to the people, and you will be surprised by how simple it can be to create better satisfaction. Sometimes, even a simple upgrade of a coffee machine, or the existence of a vending machine in the pantry can have employees talking for weeks. Means of improving employee morale can be, and should be, explored alongside employees. With that, all employees can work hand in hand with HR towards improving the workplace culture

More...