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Across industries, only 52% of employees say that their employers create a positive employee culture. But a healthy company culture can be the key to minimizing staff shortages and retaining employees—and following the pandemic-era Great Resignation, that’s vital. 

With budget restraints, investing in workplace culture might sound daunting. But creating a positive environment isn’t all about spending money. Often, company culture comes down to other things, like making employees feel valued, protecting work-life balance, and building community. 

The best ways to improve your company culture don’t have to be expensive. Read on for ten free or inexpensive ways to improve company culture and create a great place to work for all.

1. Promote From Within

Internal promotions can motivate employees and increase their sense of commitment to the company. This way, they know you value their hard work. Demonstrate that you appreciate your employees at all positions and levels in your professional hierarchy.

In addition to improving your workplace culture, promoting from within can prevent turnover. Workers who miss out on promotions are more likely to quit their jobs than workers who are promoted. 48% of employees believe their businesses should improve their compensation, making promotions even more important. 

2. Track Career Goals 

Tracking your employee’s career goals can also be a great no-cost way to improve your company culture. It’s also necessary if you plan to promote from within. Employees will notice and appreciate that you’re interested in their long-term growth. 

At the same time, it’s important to understand that not all career goals are oriented around specific roles. Your employees may have learning goals, performance goals, and work-life balance goals. Supporting them all can help improve culture from within. 

3. Coordinate Mentorships and Skill Sharing

For many workers, a sense of growth is vital to job satisfaction. Employees can feel like they’re stagnating even while holding a high-pressure role. Feeling simultaneously stuck in place and extremely busy is a recipe for burnout

Educational opportunities can help workers feel satisfied, fulfilled, and set them up to grow. A valuable way to support your employees in their goals is to offer mentorship. In-house training can also help employees move towards their objectives. While offering in-house certifications may come with costs, mentorship and skill sharing don’t have to break the bank. Peer training can also strengthen a sense of community. When employees feel satisfied in their positions, you’ll improve your company culture overall. 

4. Recognize Success

One of the simplest but most effective ways to improve your company culture is to recognize your workers’ success. This will help your employees feel valued and seen and can especially help for roles with high turnover, such as CNAs. In a healthcare setting, certain roles are more visibly celebrated than others. Make sure you’re recognizing “behind the scenes” talent and giving kudos both in one-on-one and public forums. 

5. Improve Your Workplace Culture by Prioritizing Onboarding 

Onboarding is crucial when it comes to preparing workers for their roles. A comprehensive and smooth onboarding process can help employees understand their responsibilities. It can also make them feel prepared to take on challenges.

Onboarding gives new hires their first insight into what it will be like to work at your business.. It’s your chance to set the tone, offer support, and help them feel confident about their new role. To learn more about best onboarding practices, check out our free onboarding ebook. 

6. Foster Two-Way Communication 

A lack of communication is the #1 reason that caregivers quit. Communication shouldn’t just flow in one direction. Giving employees multiple options to provide their own feedback is an easy way to improve your company culture. When employees have channels to suggest improvements or flag concerns, they’ll feel more ownership over their workplace—and you’ll know in advance if they’re having issues.  

Anonymous options on surveys can be a great way for employees to raise concerns without fear of blowback. Your goal should be to build a culture where questions and concerns are welcome and taken seriously. Even if employees raise a concern beyond your control, try to explain the situation without being dismissive. 

7. Cut Down on Email

In one survey, 38% of office workers stated that they’d be likely to quit their jobs due to email fatigue. It’s not that companies aren’t communicating, it’s that they aren’t communicating in the best way for their employees. 

Work management tools like Asana can help cut down on email back and forth. Slack can also be used for more organic communication. And of course, face-to-face meetings can help with communication, especially in a larger facility. Another low-cost option is to train employees on email best practices (such as including all information in the first email to prevent unnecessary back-and-forth). 

8. Improve Recruiting

One way to improve your company culture is to optimize your recruiting process. Better recruiting leads to stronger staffing, which can decrease overall employee stress. 

Improving recruiting may involve some upfront costs, but it also pays for itself. Learn how to use SEO, identify the best candidate sources, communicate more rapidly, and write better job descriptions. Alternatively, optimize recruiting with Apploi.

9. Tie Daily Work to Your Mission

It’s important to have a strong set of values that you communicate with your employees. 70% of people say that work is a part of how they define their sense of purpose. Especially in healthcare, it can be beneficial to tap into that sense of purpose. 

Company values can help employees feel like they’re contributing to a mission—and they are! Having a strong set of ideals can even help your bottom line. Research shows that purpose-driven organizations are preferred by customers

10. Encourage Social Bonds

Finally, encouraging social bonds is an amazing way to improve your company culture. 70% of workers say that work friends are the most important factor when determining their happiness at work. People with no or few work friends are likely to report feeling lonely and disengaged

Worried about supporting work friendships without encouraging distraction during the workday? Encourage specific team hangouts, team lunches, and schedule team-building sessions. Use surveys or informal check-ins to ask your team what kind of team-building works for them. Listening to their feedback can help you increase participation and decrease the chance of awkwardness.  

Better Hiring With Apploi

Workplace culture starts from the moment your candidates first hear of your company. Apploi can help you optimize your recruiting and retention efforts from that very first touchpoint. 

​Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end talent management solution.

Pritma Chattha, DNP MHA RN

Pritma is a Yale-educated nurse executive with 18 years of experience advocating for patients at the bedside and in the boardroom. She currently serves as the Head of Healthcare Innovation at Apploi—healthcare's leading recruitment and credentialing platform. Over the last decade, Pritma has honed her expertise as a health informaticist, building and improving electronic health records and credentialing platforms. She is the immediate former Executive Director of Electronic Quality and Safety for Alberta Health Services, the largest health system in Canada. Pritma enjoys rethinking healthcare processes to provide safer, better, and more accessible healthcare.