Happy employees make for a happy company.  The importance of a positive, collaborative, and productive company culture can’t be understated.  The average employee turnover rate in the United States over the past 12 months was 37.2%.  It’s a well-documented and well known issue for employers.

The cost of turning over a single employee can be anywhere from 30% to upwards of 150% of their annual salary depending on the type of position and the source of data, but most agree the number is normally greater than 50%.  You have to take into account the cost of lost time, training, and lack of productivity. You can expect unemployment insurance, interim costs of covering the employee’s job duties until another employee can be hired and trained, as well as the replacement cost of searching for, interviewing, background screening and hiring and training that replacement employee.

So what can you do to curb the turnover in YOUR company?

Define and Communicate your Core Values

Start with the corporate culture. What are your company’s core values? By looking at your core values and defining what you want to do as a cohesive team, you can begin laying the foundation for (re)building a solid corporate culture employees will want to be a part of. Everyone is familiar with Zappos.com and how amazing their corporate culture is.  Zappos has become so “good at” defining the epitome of a perfect corporate culture, that they created Zappos Insights, “a department within the Zappos Family of Companies created simply to help share the Zappos Culture with the world.” Zappos Insights offer tours of Zappos Headquarters, Q&A sessions with Zappos management, and even a Boot-Camp training course that teaches you how to lead in the same manner.

Here are Zappos’ 10 Core Values. Committing time to the exercise of defining your organization’s core values will give you an invaluable leg up when it comes to building your corporate culture from the ground up.

Examine your Existing Culture

Start by asking if your employees are aware of the goals of the company.  Has management communicated those goals down throughout the staff? Is everyone committed to working toward the same goals? If so, are the employees actively engaged and passionate about their duties? No one, at any level, wants to wake up, go to work and do the same thing day in, day out with no goal to work toward, no incentive to get there, and no team to work with. Signs of a great healthy company culture are employees committed to new ideas, creative changes to processes and solutions to problems, and the comfort level to communicate their thoughts to the rest of the company. A stagnant and or non-existent culture shows just the opposite and is the exact reason turnover rates are so high.

‘Live by’ your Corporate Culture Everyday

A positive culture is one that knows its strength. A good corporate culture is not easy to come by, and certainly not easy to build from scratch. But once in place, it is certainly easy to manage.  A positive culture will build upon itself and get better with time.  Employees will strive to protect the positive energy and work as a team to ensure the workplace is somewhere they want to come daily and continue to work.

When companies with such a culture are growing, this should be taken into consideration throughout the recruiting process. Don’t look only at a candidate’s skills, but really take the time to assess whether or not they will be a fit in your company and want to work there.

If you take the time to build your culture out internally, and reward your employees; keep them happy and motivated; and encourage them to be creative and contribute to the company, you will see your turnover rate rapidly drop. In turn, you will produce at a higher rate, and save a ton of cash. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

How do you encourage positive culture in your workplace? What other companies do you know of that exemplify great culture? Let us know in the comments below.

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