YapStone Blog

“5 Company Culture Resolutions That Should Be on the Top of Your List” written by Debra Tenenbaum, Chief People Officer, YapStone.

If you’ve been around long enough, you probably understand that achieving greatness is an ongoing process. Getting to and staying at the top of your business game is all about setting attainable goals, accomplishing them, making new assessments, and then starting the cycle all over again.

New Years is a beloved holiday amongst business professionals all over the world because of its focus on starting a new and doing it better.  During the month of December, you may have set some lofty business goals for the new year and now that 2017 has arrived, you are primed to make good on your promise. Perhaps your list of resolutions included things like “grow subscribers by 12 percent in the first two quarters” or “generate X number of sales by June.” But in all of your planning, did you stop to consider making some great updates not just to what your business is going to do, but how it is going to do it? Do you have goals set to raise the game on your company’s culture?

If not, you may want to revise your list.

Setting company-wide goals isn’t enough if your company culture is lacking. In order to really achieve your resolutions, you need to make sure that each of your team members are fully engaged, completely understands what’s expected of them, and feel that the work they are doing matters. And here’s why:

Having a positively thriving company culture leads to a higher employee engagement rate; a higher engagement rate leads to increased productivity.  In fact, a recent poll by The Muse found that engaged employees achieve 2x the annual net income than those who aren’t engaged. On the unfortunate other side of the coin, a study by the Gallup Organization found that disengaged workers had

  • 37 percent higher absenteeism
  • 49 percent more accidents
  • 60 percent more errors and defects
  • 18 percent lower productivity
  • 16 percent lower profitability
  • 37 percent lower job growth
  • 65 percent lower share price over time


All of these are obviously exceptionally compelling reasons to put company culture optimization on the top of your resolution list. If you’re looking to reform, but don’t know how to start, here are five simple fixes that will set you on the right track:

1. Open the Gates of Communication

Getting better at communicating with your team should be your priority for 2017. Make sure that your company messages are understood by all. Hold 1:1 meetings with individuals when needed. Aligning goals between your business and employees will have direct impact on company productivity – for the better. So, open the gates of communication in the coming year.

Be transparent and create an environment of trust, where your employees feel free to come to you. Don’t spin messages or avoid having tough conversations with your employees. Employees are adults who want their leaders to treat them with respect and to be sincere.

Being open and respectful will create loyalty. Employees will stand firm in times of business turbulence, and feel committed to do their best. Open, transparent and frequent communication builds trust among employees and between employees and leaders. What does higher trust mean? Greater commitment to the company and a stronger team driving your business forward.

2. Look for Moments to Give Feedback

Feedback is a process, not an event. It’s not something that you should plan as a one-off annual appraisal. Feedback should be continuous, especially in an explorative startup that’s still defining job roles. Encourage your employees to contribute new ideas and let them know when their work falls short or when they are right on track.

Feedback is a powerful tool and should be given daily, to guide an employee to higher productivity or skill development. There’ nothing worse than leaving an email unanswered or a proposal unread.

According to a recent Gallup poll, millennials especially want regular feedback of work done well or areas of improvement. Just think about social media. Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram — if their post doesn’t get a like or comment immediately, it’s seen as a failure. The same is true for feedback in the workplace. There are opportunities every day to provide feedback. So, make sure you use them. Give credit where it’s due and guidance where you feel necessary.

3. Reevaluate How You Spend Your Time

Businesses can evolve at the speed of light. If you’re used to spending your time getting involved in every last detail of the day-to-day, think about some reevaluation. Perhaps you hired some people this year or promoted employees within your team. Great! Have you taken the time to redefine your role?

Have you learned to delegate any tasks? If you have managers that report to you, are you still attending the same meetings as them? At the end of the year, it’s crucial to reevaluate how you spend your time and look for areas of improvement. By getting better at managing your calendar, you can provide opportunities for others to develop within their jobs.

4. Embrace the Power of Thank You

If you’ve heard the mantras of some of the world’s most successful people, you’ll know that gratitude is fundamental.  The power of thank-you should never be underestimated. It’s not easy finding the right employees. Especially when you’re running a startup and need hard workers, happy to muck in and take on any task.

Once you do have the right team together, make it top of your list next year to treat them well. Showing appreciation for employees’ work isn’t just about monetary compensation. We all need to feel appreciated, whether it’s praise for closing a large client or acknowledgment for small contributions. Speaking up in a team meeting, offering extra hours — showing appreciation for an employee’s work can fuel them to go the extra mile.

5.  Ensure Employee’s Passions Are Unleashed

How well do you know your employees? Are they working on projects that excite them? Are their skills being put to best use? Even mundane tasks approached in new ways can help employees feel more passionate about their work. Letting them know how important the task they’re doing can help instill pride in their work.

Always make your employees feel like there is room for growth in their position and company. Career mobility is important. Rather than moving them out of their roles, take the time to show them how they can develop within their current positions.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to be able to talk to your employees. So, ask them what motivates them and what they’d really like to be doing.

Your job as manager is to make sure that your employees’ passions are ignited. That they feel motivated about what they do and will be an asset to the company. Just as business goals and employee goal alignment is important — passion for work creates greater employee satisfaction. This leads to a better service and overall improved customer satisfaction.

Perhaps not all of these resolutions will apply to you, or maybe you’ve already added a couple to your list. Whatever your situation may be, make it priority to dedicate some time to your company culture in 2017. This time next year, you’ll be glad you did.