The concept of company culture comes up often in job interviews and HR blog posts, but what does it mean exactly? In a nutshell, a company’s culture reflects its personality. Their behaviors, practices, values, and expectations influence how employees interact with each other, as well as with people outside of the company.

LinkedIn, for example, gives its employees a monthly personal day, dubbed “Investment Day,” or “InDay” for short. The company uses different monthly themes for its InDay initiative, from giving to philanthropies to personal wellness and play, but the purpose remains the same: give employees dedicated time to invest in their passions.

While promoting employee wellness improves team morale, InDay comprises one part of LinkedIn’s wider mission to create a positive and productive workplace culture. The initiative shows both current and prospective employees LinkedIn’s commitment to helping people find fulfillment in their work and engage in the company’s mission.

Why workplace culture is important for business success

Culture matters because a happy team is a productive team. And a more productive business innovates faster to get a leg up on the competition. Overall, companies with rich workplace cultures report higher employee satisfaction, lower turnover, and perform twice as well as competitors.

Workplace culture can also make a business more attractive to potential job candidates. The average person spends 13 years and two months of their life at work, and today’s professionals pay close attention to how and where they spend that time. According to a Glassdoor survey, over 50% of respondents consider workplace culture more important than salary when it comes to employee satisfaction, and 77% said they consider a company’s culture before applying for a job. 

Many companies recognize this trend, too. In a PwC survey, 41% of CEOs say workplace culture has the greatest impact on attracting the right employees. In other words, if organizations want to be the top choice of customers and candidates alike, they need to invest in their workplace culture. 

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Demographic, cultural, and technological shifts will directly impact how organizations build and foster their company culture in the years to come.   

Here are our top predictions for what the future of workplace culture will look like:

1. Purpose will drive employee engagement

Today’s employees want more than just a paycheck—they want jobs that offer personal fulfillment. Employees who feel that their passions align with their organization are not only more engaged at work, but also more loyal as well. Studies show that employees who feel their employers make a positive impact on the world are 11 times more likely to stay committed to the company.

When most people think of purpose, they think of societal purpose—the feeling of doing something that contributes to the good of society, like working for a nonprofit or a maker of environmentally friendly products. 

People can find purpose in their work in other ways, however. Some derive satisfaction from doing work that they love, trying out new things, and expressing themselves. Others find motivation in a sense of social purpose, such as feeling like a vital part of a team or delivering excellent customer experiences.

Social responsibility programs and philanthropic endeavors help employees make a positive impact on the world, although other ways exist that don’t require corporate-wide initiatives. For example, organizations can use a team messaging solution to create a dedicated channel where employees can share their “why” stories. Encouraging employees to share their passions and why they believe the organization fulfills those passions reminds them of their purpose and even inspires others to join.

2. Organizations will be more diverse and inclusive

Many companies look globally to find the right job candidates. While increased workplace diversity comes with a host of benefits (increased revenue, better decision making, higher job acceptance rates) companies also need to establish diversity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives to make sure that all of their employees feel safe and secure.

Employees from different backgrounds, cultures, and locations will likely have different communication and collaboration preferences, but technology can bring diverse teams closer together. For example, team messaging and video conferencing solutions can help colleagues collaborate across time zones and even connect in real time.

Organizations can also leverage these tools to connect employees across functions and locations, such as through virtual coffee chats or dedicated support chat channels for different types of employees, such as LGBTQ professionals, working parents, or people of color. 

These virtual spaces bring people together in a shared experience that wouldn’t have otherwise existed, which can help marginalized employees foster powerful social bonds and feel a deeper sense of belonging.  

3. Organizations will become more transparent

Employees appreciate open communication with managers and leaders. According to research, employees who feel their voices are heard at work are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.

Social media company Buffer has led the way when it comes to corporate transparency for years. As a fully remote company, Buffer views transparency as “a tool to help others” and “establish a culture of trust.” The company’s salaries, diversity and inclusion data, code, and product roadmap are all easily accessible on the Buffer website

Organizations in the early stages of adopting a more transparent and open company culture can start by holding weekly virtual town halls or all-hands meetings. Allow employees to ask any questions they’d like and distribute notes to everybody in the company after the meeting. Teams spread out across different regions or countries can rotate the town hall meeting through different time zones so nobody feels left out of the loop.

4. Offices will be more health conscious

Part of an organization’s culture stems from its commitment to employee health and wellness. Healthy employees feel more engaged, and companies with highly engaged employees outperform competitors by up to 147%. Other studies show that wellness programs improve morale, increase productivity, and help cut down on sick days and absenteeism. 

Employee wellness efforts can take on many forms. In traditional offices, we’d likely see more activities and incentives, like fitness classes, nap pods, meditation programs, and mindfulness classes. For remote teams, physical challenges where employees can record their progress online in a dedicated messaging channel are a great way to get employees moving. Employers might also encourage their remote employees to participate in walking meetings or take calls while standing, walking on a treadmill, or riding a stationary bike.

5. Businesses will invest more in nurturing employees 

As technology automates many daily repetitive tasks, employers need to offer opportunities for employees to upskill and reskill to ensure they keep up with technological advancements. 

Investing in training also increases your team’s productivity and improves your bottom line. According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. 

Robust employee development initiatives also help companies attract and retain talent. Offering access to online courses, continuing education, and conferences attracts employees looking to better themselves—an important quality in a potential hire.

In addition, knowing that an employer will invest in their employees’ personal development makes those employees feel valued and more likely to remain loyal to the company.

Preparing for the future of workplace culture

Every workplace culture consists of a variety of components, each requiring its own approach and strategy. Whether a business decides to focus on social purpose, diversity and inclusion, transparency, employee wellness, training and development, or all of the above, one fact remains true: an investment in culture will lead to big returns for employees and employers alike. 

Organizations with the right communications technology can support the transparency and openness of tomorrow’s workplace. With distributed teams on the rise, employees need a unified communications solution that combines team messaging, video conferencing, and cloud phone in a single app to easily reach colleagues wherever they’re located. The RingCentral app allows teams to communicate and collaborate on any device regardless of time zones, as well as switch between different modes of communication with a single click.

With a unified communications solution, organizations will be one step closer to achieving a culture that welcomes tomorrow’s challenges and continues to deliver positive business outcomes.