Earlier this spring, we asked you to share your experiences with employee benefits and company culture. From parental leave and retirement benefits to job satisfaction and core values, we want to know it all. Over 400 of you responded, and here’s a taste of what we learned about the top HR policies and culture changes people want most from their companies.
What is one policy or culture change your company needs most?
- Flexibility to work from home, work variable hours or allow seasonal hours
- Communication and transparency from leadership about performance, policies and the company’s direction
- Support for working parents like maternity and paternity leave, a mother’s room or on-site child care
- Help employees feel valued by focusing time and resources on employee development in addition to customer experience
- Improve general team attitude through enhanced trust, support and respect
- Retreats and outside-the-office activities to build camaraderie and team spirit
- Willingness to change with new technology, a younger workforce and creative problem solving
- Consistency in expectations and values across departments and management levels
- Hiring the right number of the right people in the right positions
- Continuing education opportunities to learn a new skill or sharpen your craft
- Inclusivity across genders, ages and leadership levels
Flexibility comes first.
Today’s workforce is pushing the boundaries of the traditional 9-to-5 workday. Employees crave the trust and flexibility to work whenever and wherever they can get their work done, whether it’s their homes, the office or the coffee house down the street.
“There isn’t enough trust from the leadership team to allow employees to work from home occasionally.” — Respondent
If you can’t go all in on remote work, start by letting your team begin the day early, finish late, work through lunch or switch their days off. Of course, some of your potential for flexibility depends on the role and type of work, but there’s always room to do more.
At Lemonly, for instance, anyone can work remotely any time they want. We also let our team take off two hours early on Fridays during the summer — without sacrificing productivity. Flexibility doesn’t have to compromise business if it’s built into your culture.
Why I Let My Employees Leave Early
Today marks the third year we’ve implemented summer hours at Lemonly. Summer hours simply means we shorten our work day…
Company culture is free — for the most part.
Six of the top eight things respondents identified as policies their companies need don’t cost a dime. True, if you want to offer parental leave or take your team on a company retreat, you’ll need room in your budget. But everything else — the things that make your team feel trusted, valued and invested — is cost-free.
That’s not to say the free things are necessarily easy to do, because changing a culture takes time and hard work. But even when things do cost a bit, investing in your company culture is among the best investments you’ll make. Put your people first and reap the rewards.
You don’t have to drown in paperwork.
Only a couple of the top-needed culture changes actually require crafting a policy. If you want to double down on flexibility, build it into your company’s structure. Set parameters to establish a telecommuting-friendly workflow. If you want to allow parental leave, investigate what level of benefits your company can accommodate. Start small if that’s all your company can handle at the time, but make clear goals to expand the policy or benefit as your company grows. Two weeks of paid parental leave can someday become four. Building culture is a process of continuous improvement as long as you start somewhere.
Attitude is everything.
The soft stuff — things like trust, communication and consistency — are some of our biggest barriers, but they can help everything else run more smoothly.
“We need to be able to make critical evaluations, enact changes that bring about positive progress and have more direct conversations.” — Respondent
When it comes to changing people’s values and behaviors, practice giving away what you want. If you want your employees to trust you, show them you trust them in return. If you want more open communication with your team, work to become more transparent and accessible. Change doesn’t have to come from the top down, but leaders often set the standard for your culture. Walk the walk and others will follow.
Are these results surprising? What can companies do to provide these changes? If your company is already doing these things, share your best practices.
Need a little help working out the kinks? Building people-first teams is our specialty. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for inspiration, guidance or policies from the team behind Humans and Resources.
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