Company culture is the personality of your organization. It takes into account its values, behaviors, attitudes and interactions. It’s more than just promoting a fun atmosphere.

One study found that 50 percent of corporate executives said company culture drives productivity and creativity in employees, leading to increased profitability, firm value and growth rates. Further, a negative workplace culture can prevent a company’s ability to recruit and retain top talent.

In fact, 86 percent of potential employees said they would not apply or continue to work for a company that has a bad reputation when it comes to company culture. Workplace culture always exists, whether you are trying to cultivate it or not. So, why not develop a company culture that yields a highly motivated workforce? Here are three steps to help you do that.

Develop Your Company’s Values

The first step in developing a positive workplace culture is for company leaders to identify the values they want to be known by, and form those into an employee value proposition (EVP). Value statements should be broad, so that they resonate with employees at all levels of the organization. Keep it simple, concise and understandable.

Where do you start? Your current employees are your best resource. Find out what they love about the company. You might get some negative feedback, so focus on the positive and file the negative away for another discussion (maybe on “steps to improve employee morale”).

For example, if you get negative feedback about the CEO’s accessibility, but employees rave about their autonomy, your EVP could focus on how employees are empowered to make decisions and that creativity is rewarded. Here are few examples of our top EVP’s. 

  • Yelp: “We work hard, throw Nerf darts even harder, and have a whole lot of fun.”
  • Google: “Do cool things that matter.”
  • HubSpot: “We’re building a company people love. A company that will stand the test of time, so we invest in our people and optimize for your long-term happiness.”

Initiate Conversations

Think beyond annual performance reviews. Optimism about the future is a major catalyst to motivation. Instead of backwards looking annual performance reviews, initiate forward-looking, constructive conversations that focus on career development.

Help employees to see how their personal goals are directly tied to the company’s business objectives.

Moving from a “performance review” to a “performance development” plan changes the tone of the conversation from one that makes the employee feel micromanaged to one that motivates them to get to the next level of their career.

That motivation leads to increased employee performance and overall productivity. That’s not to say that managers can’t provide constructive feedback. In fact, 65 percent of employees say they want more feedback.

The key is engaging employees is creating conversations. Forty-three percent of highly engaged employees get feedback at least once a week, and employees whose managers communicate regularly are three times more engaged.

Increased engagement results in increased motivation, which results in higher productivity and profitability. 

Connect Purpose with Company Values

According to a report from PwC, today’s millennial workforce “wants their work to have a purpose, to contribute something to the world, and they want to be proud of their employer.”

Employees want to work for a company that has a social purpose, and they want to contribute to those social responsibilities. It’s true that not every company is saving the world, but doesn’t mean you can’t be socially responsible.

Develop Social Impact Initiatives

Social responsibility is the ethical framework that shows that a company acts in a way that benefits society-at-large. It’s more than just charitable work. It means your economic and social goals are woven together.

For example, the same social responsibility that motivates companies to dispose of chemicals properly also motivates them to allow for flexible schedules or to start wellness programs. Their concern for employee and community well-being never trump profits.

How do you define your social responsibility? Get your employees involved. People support initiatives they help create. Millennials especially want to share their goals and values, as well as contribute ideas and solutions.

Select a cross-section of employees to head-up your social responsibility team. This method will ensure that social responsibility is authentically woven into the fabric of your company culture. Build a culture that lives up to its social responsibility.

The result will be engaged, enthusiastic and invested employees that have a purpose. Even if their individual job doesn’t involve saving the planet, they will feel like an integral part of the greater good. Understanding that the success of the company directly contributes to the good of the community motivates employees to work harder.

Fifty-one percent of employees in the U.S. report not being engaged. Low engagement results in increased absenteeism, high turnover and low productivity. Take action to develop a company culture that reverses these trends by creating a team of highly motivated employees.