6 Ways HR Can Influence Company Culture

Company culture has many different definitions. For the most part, it is simply the way organizations “do things.” Every organization has a different type of culture, and that culture is either haphazardly created by the employees or intentionally curated by the company’s leaders.

As an HR professional, you have a lot of influence over the way employees behave at work. You set the policies and facilitate the development of company values that will be promoted in the workplace. 

Use your company values to spearhead your culture initiatives. If “being a learner” is a core value, ensure you have built a learning and development program to emphasize its importance to the business. If “being your best self” is a core value, build a strong health and wellness program that reiterates your commitment to your employees’ wellbeing.

Because many employees look to you to help set the tone for the entire company, you have the unique opportunity to influence company culture in many ways. 

If you’re not sure how to do that, or need some inspiration, here are six ways to make it happen.

1. Be Fair to Employees and Treat Them Well

In order to build trust with employees, they must believe that they will be treated fairly when they come to work. When this isn’t the case, employees are much more likely to be skeptical and dissatisfied and feel isolated in the office. 

Make sure that all decisions are based on merit and company policies are consistently applied across the board. This makes you so much more trustworthy, and that trust makes it more likely that employees will be willing to collaborate with each other and share ideas.

2. Ensure Everyone Knows They Belong

Everyone wants to know that they can be their authentic selves at work and still be safe and respected at all times. HR can play a huge role in this by ensuring that anti-bias hiring policies are always in place and are clearly reflected in job descriptions. HR should also offer anti-bias and sensitivity training to all employees. 

HR professionals should ensure that they have policies in place to assist employees who have faced discrimination from others working at the company. Developing a diversity and inclusion program promotes a level of equity across the organization, ensures employees all feel valued and respected, tells employees you’re committed to a diverse workforce, and leverages the strengths different people bring to make the culture more innovative and productive.

Finally, make sure that your department is vocal about your stance on respecting every employee and that you are always responsive to any employee’s concerns on the matter. 

3. Let Positivity Be the Driving Force

HR professionals should always keep in mind that employees are a company’s greatest asset. It’s also a good idea to allow this attitude to influence employee-centric policies across the board. 

A positive work environment also contributes to increased levels of productivity, innovation, and creativity in the workplace. Although HR professionals may not realize it, being able to create positivity among employees can definitely be the key to helping the company reach its strategic goals and objectives.

4. Ensure Consistently Ethical Behavior

It’s vital that HR professionals work to set strict standards for ethical behavior. While you don’t want employees to feel as though you are monitoring their every move, it’s important that employees know you won’t tolerate unethical behavior. 

If you allow people to break the rules, it will make it appear as if HR doesn’t truly care about policy enforcement, and it can lead to even bigger issues and the development of a sense of entitlement, or feelings of resentment. 

Unethical behavior can also threaten a company’s ability to stay in compliance, which can result in penalties, legal issues, and a loss of trust. Maintaining and promoting values and ethics is what makes everyone at the company feel safe and respected.

5. Encourage Employees to Keep Learning

As a company, it’s important to find ways to continue to innovate and keep moving the mission forward. The best way to do this is to create a culture where employees want to continue learning and stay on the cutting edge of your industry. 

One way to create a culture of learning and growth is to continually provide pathways for your employees to develop their skills. 

This may come in the form of a mentorship program, where senior employees take newer ones under their wing, or it can be a series of seminars or online learning courses. Whichever way you choose to do it, remind employees that the way to achieve their own professional goals is to learn and practice new skills.

6. Encourage Risk-Taking and Creative Solutions

It’s important for leaders in a company to encourage the workforce to take risks in their day-to-day tasks and problem-solving. High-growth brands are 50% more likely to foster creative ideas, 40% more likely to encourage risk-taking, and 40% more likely to promote creative collaboration.

Deliberately ask your employees for creative solutions to a company problem. Make sure to let them know that senior management’s doors are always open for two-way communication. Additionally, create opportunities for employees to come together and share ideas for projects and improvement initiatives. If the company has a problem it’s trying to solve, get a working group together of employees from different departments, at different levels, and from different backgrounds to come up with innovative solutions. 

Company Culture Can Make or Break Your Workforce

Many HR professionals discount the impact of company culture on business performance. If you want to ensure your company reaches its strategic goals and objectives, it’s important to invest in helping employees be happy, healthy, and engaged. 

HR professionals must work diligently and deliberately to build a culture where that’s possible. When you put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded with a workforce that is ready to join you in taking the company to the next level.