10 ways to take care of your employee engagement and company culture

10 guaranteed, foolproof, effortless ways to take care of your employee engagement and company culture once and for all. Or not.

Giving purpose to your employee experience and building a healthy, thriving corporate culture is hard work, man. Who has time for that? Soft work is usually plenty hard enough. What you need are some shortcuts. As a public service, we’ve compiled a list of methods to…to…well, to just get out of the way of your employee engagement and culture challenges and let them sort themselves out. Into wonderful programs. Which could happen. Maybe.

Here we go.

(April fool’s! These are 10 ways to make sure you completely screw up your employee experience and company culture, but let’s proceed anyway.)

1. Culture doesn’t need your help

First things first: Company culture is like kudzu. It’ll build itself. It surely will, without any fussy meddling from HR or executives. Nobody wants a company full of robotic Stepford wives. Leave the troops to figure out their own system of how they’d like to do things. Call it culture by crowdsourcing. Worked fine in Lord of the Flies, didn’t it?

2. Understand the true purpose of a mission statement

Mission statements have one true purpose: making you look serious and important on your website. They’re most assuredly not for giving employees a permanent touchstone of what your business is supposed to be all about. So create a huge committee, allow everyone to include their favorite business-speak buzzword and keep at it until the thing sounds like how IBM execs talk at their board meetings.

3. Hire the same person, 500 times

If culture is “the way things work here,” it’ll be easy to identify the sort of people who’ll fit right in with the way things work here. Hire them. Hire only them! Then you’ll never have to worry about your culture becoming something other than what it is now, whether you need it to or not. It’ll serve as a perfect, monolithic fortress, not to be breached by vandal hordes or armies of well-meaning consultants. Culture? Check!

4.  Survey about once a year, if you must

Nobody likes surveys, right? That’s why people usually have to be bribed to take them. Work should be the one place you go in life where nobody asks you to take surveys. If you feel compelled to put your employees through it anyway, once a year ought to cover it. No need to get obsessive about it. Besides, half the people you survey probably won’t even be around for the next one.

5. The feedback trap

Here’s the other thing with surveys: If you ask employees for feedback, they’ll assume you have a reason. That means they’ll expect change. But whoa--change is hard. There are always a lot of other things requiring time and effort; many of them not hard. Consider them before you go all willy-nilly, turning the company upside down because of some pulse check whatever. Hmmmm. Might want to just stay away from this feedback thing.

6. Purpose and meaning stop at the front door

Finding fulfillment at work? Please. This isn’t a glee club, sonny. It’s work. You come here, you do stuff, and if things go well they give you money for it. That’s all the meaning our great-grandfathers ever needed, and what was good enough in 1957 is good enough now. No one looks for “purpose” and “meaning” at work except Millennials, and fortunately there aren’t very many of those around.

7. Don’t get crazy on the values stuff

If you align recognition with a particular set of company values, employees may end up actually living out those values. Which sounds nice, but it might lessen their focus on other important things, like working 60 hours a week and selling more widgets. If you’ve been mandated to increase levels of teamwork and collaboration, tell your people to work out a calendar for who brings the doughnuts every Friday. That ought to do it.

8. Mom and dad still rule the world

When you were given an allowance as a child, who gave it to you: mom and dad, or your brothers and sisters? Well, the workplace isn’t any different. What’s the point of peer-to-peer recognition, when it’s managers who decide promotions and raises? What Bud and Sissy think about you doesn’t count; everyone knows siblings never get along. Manager-to-employee recognition is the only game in town.

9. Recognition is just as good reheated

If managers aren’t careful, they may notice their employees going above and beyond all the time. But managers have important roles. They can’t be taking time from their busy day to constantly appreciate and encourage their employees. What else would get done? Better to wait until the annual performance review seven months from now, when they can get all their recognizing out of the way at a single sitting.

10. Just having a program is enough

If you measure something and the results are good, you’ll only be expected to repeat them. Who needs that sort of pressure? Culture and employee engagement are good things to do because they’re good things to do. It shows you really care. No reason to glob it all up by attaching anchors like productivity or retention to them, or heaven forbid, ROI. It just is what it is.

Then again

OK, all jokes aside, we know you want to do things the right way. The above was correct about one thing, though: improving your employee experience and invigorating your company culture is hard work. And you only have to do it once: that is, continually.

So we’re here to help you with that. Questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you.