How to build a rocking company culture

Weekly excursions for frozen yogurt, regular chats with co-workers and small gifts for a job well done can go a long way to make employees feel valued.

Having an exceptional corporate culture is critical, and most people don’t realize this until they do—or don’t—have one.

Why is it so important to have an awesome culture?

Happy employees equal productive employees who want to work hard for you. Here are a few tips to create such a culture:

1. Show your employees you care.

Show your employees you care through the way you treat them—as individuals who are important to the company’s success.

Check in with your employees regularly. It is so easy to stare at a computer screen all day and not know what’s going on with the people sitting a few feet away from us. Take time to ask how they’re doing. A one-minute chat can go a long way in employee satisfaction.

Once you promote this type of philosophy, a ripple effect will go through the company and influence everyone—even the interns—to behave the same way.

My company started me thinking about the importance of a positive corporate culture. I was on disability leave for more than a year while going through cancer treatments. Throughout my fight, I knew my company was supporting me. My co-workers sent me video updates each week to keep me up to date on office happenings, and ran a 5K to raise money for cancer research in my name.

2. Give kudos.

Many companies promote colleagues’ work every so often, but what about instituting a system for regularly acknowledging and celebrating both team and individual successes? This way peers support peers, and employees get recognition from their superiors that the entire company sees.

You can even offer small gifts, like a business card case or earphones, at random once a month. It feels so good to be acknowledged for hard work, and it will make your employees want to work even harder.

3. Take a break!

Even if you don’t have the financial means to go on an annual retreat, you can still take time to get your employees away from the office, let loose and remember we are all just people.

For example, put weekly excursions on the calendar to get your employees away from their desks for a few minutes. You don’t have to do anything big. You could walk down the street for frozen yogurt or hang out in a park near the office.

One of our clients, Innovid, hosts a Wine Wednesday bi-monthly meeting so employees can sample wines from all over the world—and relax a bit, too. Sometimes Innovid posts pictures to the company Instagram account with the hashtag #WineWednesday to let followers see a bit of the company’s culture.

Companies are increasingly hiring remote employees, but there’s a solution for them, as well. Create a weekly email where remote folks can tell their co-workers about a fun activity they did, an interesting article they read or their plans for the weekend. Encourage photos, as well. This allows all employees to feel part of each other’s lives, even if they don’t get to speak to or see everyone every day.

Let me know what your company does to create an inviting corporate culture. I would love to hear other tips and ideas.

Stephanie Waxman is an account executive for Vantage PR, a boutique technology public relations agency. A version of this article originally appeared on Vantage PR’s blog.

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