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Ten Ways to Optimize Your People & Culture Efforts

May 16, 2019 9:25:25 AM
By Andrea Duke


A strong and vibrant company culture is integral to the success of any organization. Your HR team plays an influential role in the creation and maintenance of this culture, in addition to fostering employee engagement and happiness, and ensuring the smooth running of day to day operations. And for businesses with a smaller People & Culture team, it can feel like there are simply not enough hours in the workday to achieve all of this!

Fortunately, there are a number of tools and scalable solutions available to optimize your People & Culture efforts. Not only can these methods help streamline your existing processes and procedures, which saves a significant amount of time, they can also help your organization move towards a stronger and more defined company culture. Let’s take a look at ten of the top tools for enhancing your company’s HR efforts:

1. Take Advantage of Technology

There are a number of great HR technology apps and tools designed to support recruitment, employee records, onboarding, performance management, learning management, and more. Many tech tools feature manager and employee self-service options, which means you can spend less time entering data on employees’ behalf.

At TPD, we have a few HR tech solutions that we actively work with, and we would be pleased to recommend more options for your business.

Although there is a variety of HR-specific technology available, these tasks don’t necessarily need tools exclusively designed for HR. Consider utilizing technology that is already being used by other departments in your organization. For example, proposal software can be used for employee documents. Other systems such as Google Suite and Trello can also be used to streamline a number of HR processes.

2. Write Your Culture and Values Down

It’s important to get things in writing. According to a Deloitte study, “Companies that proactively manage culture demonstrate revenue growth over a 10-year period that is, on average, 516% higher than those who do not.” Documenting your company’s culture and values helps to create clarity around how employees can work together, contribute, make good decisions for the company, and get recognized. This documentation can be in the form of an employee handbook, a culture brochure, or a deck the way Netflix has done.

3. Have an Employee Handbook

An employee handbook of company policies clarifies expectations around your company’s HR practices. A well-organized and well-written handbook often reduces the number of questions from managers and employees by providing clear guidelines to follow. Company policies should be general enough so that they can apply to a wide variety of situations, yet specific enough to address the most commonly-asked employee questions. Employee handbooks can be hosted online, making it easier to share revisions. For more information, see our downloadable guide on employee handbooks.

4. Establish an Employee Communications Schedule

Meetings often have a reputation as time-wasters within an organization. However, well structured, recurring meetings can actually help save time, because they create a rhythm and process to share announcements, challenges, and successes. At TPD, we’ve implemented Traction to help us keep on top of our actions and communications. These scheduled meetings make it easy for us to share cascading messages to different teams, schedule “just in time” training, announce good news, recognize employees, and keep our team members informed about developments in our fast-moving business.

5. Use an Internal Social Media/Communications Platform

An internal social media channel offers every employee a voice within your organization, and does not limit the origin of company communication to one department or person. Each team member can share stories, announcements, photos, recognitions, and inspiring messages. Before you establish these types of channels, we recommend developing some internal social media guidelines so that all communications are respectful and relevant. At TPD, we have been using Slack and Trello for internal communication.

6. Build Your Employer Brand

Establishing and promoting a strong employer brand is essential to attracting the right candidates during the recruitment process. It’s a good idea to share your values, culture, and why employees should want to work for you on your website, social media channels, and in job postings. Not only will you attract the attention of employees that would be a good fit, you’ll have an interested pool of candidates waiting to hear about future job openings.

To save even more recruiting time, you can enlist the help of your employees with a referral program. For more tips on how to build your employer brand, download the “Employer Branding 101” ebook on our HR tools page.

7. Invest in Onboarding

The first 90 days at a new job is an exciting time for any employee. Your new hire will be picking up cues from everywhere and everyone on how to adapt to the workplace, which means that small actions can have a big impact. According to a report by the SHRM Foundation, one organization discovered that "...new employees who attended a well-structured onboarding program were 69 percent more likely to remain at the company up to three years." Having a defined onboarding program (which can include items such as a culture book, an employee handbook, company training, social events, meetings with leadership, feedback meetings with managers, and clear performance expectations) means that your new hires will quickly learn and integrate into your culture. Check out the onboarding resources on our HR tools page and webinar for more tips.

8. Keep on Coaching

Developing a coaching culture can offer a number of benefits to an organization, such as higher employee engagement and more opportunities for on-the-job learning. It can also help reduce the number of potential challenges for your HR team, since managers can be coached to prepare for many people-related hurdles, including interpreting HR policies, managing conflict, and employee recognition. An article by the New York Times showed that, after an in-depth analysis to determine what makes a great boss, Google discovered that what employees value most is “...even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.”

Though it sounds simple, a Gallup study showed that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement, which means that small steps towards adopting a coaching mindset can have a big impact on employee engagement and performance.

9. Never Stop Learning

Training doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, your organization may already have resources that can be utilized for further learning opportunities. Some of your employees may be natural teachers who are able to share lessons on how to be successful within your company’s context. In addition, the opportunity to teach others can help instructors learn the material better. Guidelines show that 90% of employee training comes from on the job learning (via a combination of challenging assignments and mentoring relationships), so having instructors within the company can create more organic opportunities for employees to apply their newly learned lessons on the job. There are many other low-cost ways to encourage training within your company as well, including lunch and learns, book clubs, discussions about TED talks, and Toastmaster clubs.

10. Establish Committees

Social committees, employee engagement committees, and culture committees are all great platforms for employee-driven initiatives to help build and support your company culture. When forming a committee, it’s important to include engaged employees who are good at getting broad input from other team members, who enjoy coming up with ideas, and who bring energy to culture building activities.

It’s clear that effective People & Culture efforts can go a long way towards ensuring employee satisfaction, retention, and engagement. By adopting and strategically implementing the methods described above, even a very small HR team will have the requisite tools to create impactful processes and procedures that help support your organization’s goals and culture. If you’d like assistance in creating a streamlined People & Culture strategy, feel free to contact TPD to speak with one of our representatives.


Andrea_Headshot_300pxAndrea Duke, HR Consultant

Andrea has over 7 years’ experience in human resources across multiple industries (mining, manufacturing, property development, construction, retirement care, retail, and government) in the provinces of B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, and country of Brazil.

She has specialized in recruitment, human resources information systems and process improvement. Andrea has also worked as an HR Generalist covering areas such as HR compliance, employee relations, training design, training facilitation, leadership development, succession planning, performance management, organizational culture, compensation, benefits, and health and safety.

A relationship builder with an analytical mind, Andrea looks for opportunities to improve organizational effectiveness and strengthen employee engagement by aligning people, processes and systems with organizational strategy.

Andrea is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources. She has an MBA from the UBC Sauder School of Business and a certificate in Human Resources Management from Seneca College.

In her spare time, Andrea lends her expertise to various non-profits engaged with Social Venture Partners and to the Chartered Professional of Human Resources Association’s Awards Committee.

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