How to Create a Healthy Company Culture

Company culture extends well beyond a mission statement. It exists in the day-to-day experience and interactions among all employees. With the ongoing trend of calling out “toxic” workplaces on social media and employees quiet quitting, it’s more important than ever to ensure your company culture is healthy.

For years, the go-to solution to improve a company’s culture was creating a “fun” environment. From ping-pong tables to free beer and meals. But just as the furnishings of your home doesn’t determine your family’s dynamics, fun perks do not define a work culture.

What is Company Culture?

Your company culture is the values, expectations, and behaviors that make up your daily work environment. Because it exists in every colleague interaction and management decision, it impacts in-person, hybrid, and remote team members.

Company culture is defined by leadership, modeled by managers, and experienced by employees. And, in some cases, extends to customers as well.

In other words, company culture is how your organization operates day-to-day. Mission statements are why your organization exists. These can be two entirely differently approaches.

Unsure how to explain your company’s culture? Ask yourself: What is it like to be an employee here? What will a new hire experience their first week? First year?

Company Culture Examples

Company A focuses on profit.

Employees are competitive and brag about how many hours they work at night and during their vacation. The CEO will yell and pound his fist on the table. Managers fear his angry reaction, so they will blame lower-level employees when sales goals are missed. And if someone is meeting with HR, you know they’re getting fired. Or quitting.

Company B has no focus.

Employee satisfaction and experience differ depending on which team they’re on. Some managers encourage their team to work from home and support work-life flexibility. Other managers insist their team be in the office and reward those who stay late. This results in it feeling like two different companies but leadership doesn’t do anything about it.

Company C focuses on employee wellbeing.

Company-wide communication encourages employees to work only during their set hours. PTO means the person is fully offline and unavailable. Leadership and managers regularly meet with their team members to check in on their mental health and workload. And to ensure they have the resources they need to be successful. Employees are trusted to get their work done. Managers regularly receive training on empathy and how to prevent burnout from their EAP.

Would you rather work at Company A? B? Or Company C?

How to Create a Healthy Company Culture

A healthy company culture prioritizes employees’ wellbeing. As a CHRO or member of the leadership team, here are 3 areas to focus on. As well as things you can say to proactively support your employees in prevention and intervention.

Mental Health Support

  • Your mental health matters.
  • Work should never take priority over your health.
  • I support taking time off for your mental health.
  • If you’re struggling with something, my door is always open to talk.
  • Here’s how to access our EAP mental health benefits. (Provides materials or warm-transfer.)

Work-Life Flexibility

  • I respect the boundaries of your set work hours.
  • In what workspace are you most productive?
  • Feel free to flex your hours to accommodate your kids’ schedules, doctors’ appointments, etc.
  • Your PTO is there for you to use fully.
  • Take care of your rest and recovery.

Trust & Empowerment

  • You have my full confidence and I trust you.
  • Based on your past work experience, what are your thoughts on “…”?
  • What is getting in the way of you doing your job effectively?
  • How can we best support you?

Studies continue to show that employees who feel valued, trusted, and heard are more productive, less likely to leave, and have much higher levels of engagement. It’s a win-win for employees and employers. And it all starts with creating—and maintaining—a healthy company culture.