In an economy where raises and promotions may not always be financially feasible, what can employers do to improve employee retention? Though many companies may be tempted to overlook corporate culture as a means of improving their bottom line, some companies have found that effectively building and maintaining a positive corporate culture helps to improve productivity. Ultimately, corporate culture is developed and impacted by society and other cultural aspects; however, it is largely formed by the attitudes of the employees within a company and the procedures enforced by that organization. It is something unique to each and every organization.

Find Flexibility
Do you find that your employees are constantly clock watching, waiting for five p.m. to roll around so they can bolt out the door? Although it may seem counterintuitive, some companies have found that allowing for flexible work schedules has increased worker productivity instead of decreasing it. Workers find that they feel trusted by their employers when they aren't being constantly policed, allowing them to get their work done as they see fit so long as the job is done on time. This also allows workers to find a greater work/life balance, leading to a happier, healthier workforce.

Promote Creativity
Creativity should be promoted within the workplace. Many organizations have fostered creativity by creating open-concept workspaces that allow for teamwork and a certain amount of freedom. This allows employees to collaborate and work effectively, creating a sense of community within the office. This in turn promotes employee innovation and creativity in their approach to work, often allowing employees to quickly identify successful solutions in dealing with workplace issues.

Time for Fun
Though it may be often said, it is probably true that we typically spend more time with our coworkers than we spend with our families. For this reason, finding ways to make work fun can dramatically improve morale in the workplace. Things such as company events or friendly competitions can improve both loyalty and performance.

Approachable Leaders
A lousy manager is a common reason for leaving a job. An excellent boss, however, can have the opposite effect. Employees look for supervisors and managers who are clear communicators and don't micromanage. This allows employees to feel supported and free to ask questions without fear of retribution, helping to improve the overall communication within the office.

United We Stand
Creating a strong and respectful team dynamic ensures that your employees will look out for one another and work together to succeed. Organizations that place a high level of importance on creating a unified team will often seek new employees who are a proper fit for their company's corporate culture instead of simply hiring the most qualified person, only to find that they don't match with the organization's ideals. In turn, employees feel compelled to work together to achieve the greatest results.

Recognizing Excellence
Companies that recognize outstanding performers often enjoy a greater level of loyalty from their employees. Recognition can come in many forms, including promotions, performance bonuses and other incentives or rewards; however, recognition does not always need to be formal or tied to compensation. In fact, a simple pat on the back or a thank you for a job well done can do wonders to encourage employees to keep giving it their all.

Accountability and Loyalty
Greater accountability and employee loyalty are some of the main perks that come from a less-structured, more-supportive work environment. In fact, employees who feel like they play an important role in the success of the organization generally strive to do the best job they can, often performing at a higher level than those who are closely monitored or policed in the workplace.

Solid Service = Limitless Growth
Making customer service job one ultimately leads to a company that can grow and flourish. Each department should clearly understand who its customer is. Some departments serve clients or customers within the company, while others serve external clients outside the organization. If a company focuses on providing the very best service possible, however, the company's customers will probably be happy, coming back for repeat business and sharing their positive experience with friends, family and business associates.

Contagiously Positive
It's a simple fact that a smile can be contagious. Happy employees talk positively about their employers. This in turn can shed a positive light on your organization, leading to increased awareness about your company and translating to improved sales.

The Bottom Line
Every company that moves toward creating a unique corporate culture goes through growing pains, and not all strategies will work equally well for all companies. It really depends on finding the right mix of freedom and creativity that will work for your industry and for your employees. There is, however, no denying that happy employees are typically much more eager to come into work and give an honest day's work - which will hopefully translate to greater sales volume and employee retention. Bear in mind that each and every time an employee leaves your company, there is lost productivity, as a replacement worker must be recruited and trained. It is often a lot easier and more beneficial for an organization to keep its experienced and outstanding staff happy and productive.

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