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Workplace culture: Why does it matter and are your employee benefits aligned with it?

Whether managers and business owners think that the concept of culture is too nebulous or too soft to bother about, most contemporary organizations view workplace culture as a critical ingredient for success.

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Salesforce, for example, says the main reason why their company is recognized for being one of Fortune 100’s Best Companies to Work For is their Ohana culture. ‘Ohana’ is a Hawaiian concept that represents the idea that families – adopted, blood-related, or intentional – are bound together, and are responsible for one another. The Salesforce Ohana is a deep-seated support system that values collaboration and making the world a better place.

But, what exactly is organizational culture? Workplace culture is the character and personality of your organization. More specifically, it’s the sum of your organization’s values, beliefs, principles, interactions, and behaviors. Every organization, no matter how large or small, can reap the advantages of a strong workplace culture.

So, without further ado, this Pacific Prime blog article delves into the concept of workplace culture, and divulges key tips for integrating employee benefits solutions with company culture.

6 essential aspects of company culture

“Success is organizations that allow their employees to innovate and revel in both successes and failures. It is teams reaching goals and everyone bringing their best work to the table.” – O.C. Tanner

Culture and employee engagement are a popular topic in the realm of HR and benefits. Chief Human Resource Officers are increasingly becoming intentional about their company culture, recognizing that it is one of the top reasons why people choose one employer over another.

In this Huffpost article, David Sturt, the Executive Vice President of O.C. Tanner, says many people underestimate the influence of culture on our work, families, and lives. According to Sturt’s extensive research of over 10,000 organizations, there are 6 aspects of workplace culture that prospective employees look for in a great place to work:

  • Purpose: Does the employee vibe with the organization’s reason for being, or the difference it makes in the world?
  • Opportunity: Does the company give employees the opportunity to learn and develop new skills?
  • Success: Does the company give employees the chance to innovate, do meaningful work, and be a part of winning teams?
  • Appreciation: Does the company recognize employees’ outstanding work and contributions?
  • Wellbeing: Is the company paying attention and making an effort to improve its employees’ physical, financial, and mental health?
  • Leadership: Does the organization’s leadership help connect employees with the company’s purpose, empower them to do great work, and create a sense of camaraderie?

Why is workplace culture important?

Culture is important because it either strengthens or undermines your organization’s objectives. A positive organizational culture is important, especially because:

  • It attracts talent. In addition to salary and benefits, job candidates will also evaluate your organization and its general feel/ambience, and go with the place that best fits their attitude and work ethic. A clearly defined and well-communicated workplace culture attracts new hires that fit. When employees like their company’s leadership, they are less likely to find another employer.
  • It drives positive business outcomes. Sturt’s aforementioned research found that positive corporate culture marginally improved organizations’ recruiting, employee engagement, satisfaction, tenure, and other metrics such as revenue growth and expansion.
  • It increases retention. When people are committed to the company’s purpose, and feel that their contributions are valued, they are less likely to leave.
  • It drives productivity. Numerous studies have found that positive vibes from corporate culture and the employees’ physical environment contribute to higher productivity. When an employee finds that their company’s culture is positive, and provides them with opportunities to fulfil their own goals, they are more likely to be motivated and productive.

What impacts company culture?

Every facet of your organization can impact and shape its culture. Here are the most important factors that can play a massive role in developing your organization’s culture:

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Workplace practices (for example, employee benefits, training, work/life balance – e.g. number of annual leave days, workplace traditions)
  • Policies (e.g. company policy)
  • Mission, Vision, and Values
  • Work environment
  • Communication (e.g. transparency in sharing information)

How to better integrate your employee benefits with company culture

Employee benefits should be an extension and expression of your company’s culture. In unifying your benefits with company culture, you can reap the advantages of attracting and retaining talent, boosting productivity, and achieving positive business outcomes. Here are several tips to get you started:

Company benefits should support your cultural strategy

Benefits are only real when they are supported by policy. In that way, you can turn abstract values and ideas into perks and processes that your employees can actually benefit from.

Here are some examples:

Idea Policy
We value work-life balance Introduce flexible working arrangements
We want a mentally healthy workplace Invest in workplace wellness and Employee Assistance programs that focus on psychological well being
We want to create a fun working environment Organize regular team outings and events
We want our employees to develop new skills Professional development stipends

Incorporate benefits into key organizational processes, such as:

  • Policy making: Review how your company’s policies (e.g. paid leave, flexible working arrangements) strengthen – or weaken – your benefits offering. If there isn’t relevance between the two then it’s going to detract the strength of your organizational culture.
  • Hiring: Think about how your benefits set your organization apart from the competition when attracting talent. Do your benefits reflect your company culture? Convey this in essential steps of the recruiting process, such as featuring them in job descriptions.

Make the financial case for great employee benefits

There is a financial case to be made for the right employee benefits. So, say you want to create a family-friendly environment in the workplace. You can measure benefits against retention to see if you’re doing it right.

A few years ago, Google did just that. They were experiencing a problem where many new mothers weren’t coming back to work after their maternity leave. The organization decided to extend maternity leave by two more months at full pay. As a result, their retention rates increased by 50%; new moms had more time to look after their newborn, and the company was saving time and money.

Take a long term view

Designing an employee benefits platform that best reflects your organizational culture is not something that happens overnight. The key here is not to be short-sighted by being stingy about your employee benefits, as creating a positive workplace environment and culture makes for healthier, motivated staff and a more sustainable business.

Getting support for all your company culture goals with the right employee benefits

As each organization is different – and their workplace culture goals are too – the best way to ensure you’re on the right track when it comes to making changes in your employee benefits and compensation strategy is to get help from an expert broker like Pacific Prime.

Whether you’d like to create a fun and collaborative working environment, or encourage your employees to further their professional development, Pacific Prime is the best choice to help you integrate your benefits strategy with your company culture. Contact us for a no-obligation market review and impartial advice today!

Content Strategist at Pacific Prime
Jessica Lindeman is a Content Strategist at Pacific Prime. She comes to work every day living and breathing the motto of "simplifying insurance", and injects her unbridled enthusiasm for health and insurance related topics into every article and piece of content she creates for Pacific Prime.

When she's not typing away on her keyboard, she's reading poetry, fueling her insatiable wanderlust, getting her coffee fix, and perpetually browsing animal Instagram accounts.