How to Engage Employees Based on Culture

Cultural fit is one of the main building blocks of employee happiness. Not even an above-average salary, free lunches, or other perks can make up for a poor fit between an employee’s values and your company culture. In fact, when it comes to attracting and keeping the right people in the long-term, money alone is rarely the main factor.

The first step to ensure a good cultural fit is obviously to hire people whose values match your company’s cultural values. However, you also need to make sure that once these people join your team, they experience and live this culture every single day. Here are four tips on how you can engage your current employees based on your culture.

1) Live Your Culture

To make sure that your employees live your culture, the first thing you need to do as the team leader, manager, or HR executive is to live it yourself. If your actions and behavior don’t reflect the cultural values, you cannot expect your employees to take the cultural values very seriously. For example, if making data-driven decisions is one of your values, then you cannot take decisions that are purely based on a gut feeling without any supporting data. Also, when designing the company policies, you need to make sure that those align with the cultural values. A great example is trivago. One of the company’s values is entrepreneurial spirit, and they courage their employees to start their own businesses and work on their personal projects on the side.

2) Reward Employees Who Reflect Your Values

Once you can say, hands down, that you are living the company culture yourself, you can start expecting the same from your employees. Set up a small game or competition in order to reward the employees who reflect your values in their behavior especially well. For example, start choosing “The Employee of the Month” and give them a small prize or other recognition. Allow everyone in the organization to vote for or recommend another employee and then choose the winner based on the number of votes or the explanations that the recommenders give.

3) Encourage Employees to Endorse Each Other Based on Values

In addition to giving prizes or other recognitions to your employees for reflecting the values in their behavior, you can give them the chance to freely endorse each other based on cultural values. This can be done electronically for example on your internal communication platform. Alternatively, you can provide the employees with stickers or other physical badges that they can give to their coworkers when they think that a teammate showed a particular value in a meeting, during a stressful project, or any other situation at work.

4) Include Cultural Values in the Employee Evaluations

Finally, your cultural values should be part of your regular employee evaluations. If you really want to maintain and nurture your company culture, the cultural fit should be just as important as the technical skills required for a specific job. In order to get objective and well-rounded results on cultural fit, you may want to consider implementing 360 evaluations. The 360 evaluation form consists of gathering feedback on a specific employee not only from their direct supervisor but also from other people that the employee works with regularly. And what if you find out that an employee’s values don’t match your company’s cultural values? Well, you should evaluate each situation carefully but if there is a total disconnect in the values, continuing together is probably not the right choice for your company or the employee.

Engaging your employees based on cultural values will help you to keep the right people. Do you use any other strategies to make sure that your employees’ values fit your culture? Share in the comment section below or drop us a line through the contact form!

unsplash-logoAdam Jang

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