Building company culture

By: David Dafoe, CEO, Founder, Flavorman

It’s been two years since the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic and its bilateral impact on the workforce, or rather, those in the workforce. Seemingly overnight, a massive strain was placed on employees, their overall well-being, and mental health. Workers across all fields were wearing many hats. At the same time, some performed simultaneously as employees, teachers, and caregivers, among many other roles they never dreamed they’d juggle for an extended period. So, it’s no surprise that as the pandemic surges increased, employee burnout also increased. As industry leaders, how do we overcome the barrier to retaining employees and attracting talent in overtired and overworked industries?

Investing in What Matters

Overall, we’re seeing companies create incentives hoping employees will remain at or join a company. This may work for a short time, but if the company culture is not conducive to overall employee well-being above company success, these efforts will be short-lived. To master retention, companies must focus on the comprehensive revitalization and maintenance of culture. “Culture” is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but in today’s day in age, it means providing a place for employees to achieve a “life-work” balance rather than the ages-old work-life balance. Since COVID-19, worker priorities have shifted, and employees are reevaluating where work now fits into their lives.

Getting the Flavor Back

According to ADP’s 2022 Global Workforce View, priorities have shifted since the days of corner offices and yearly 2% salary increases. Employees are seeking real change through overall satisfaction, which includes increased benefits, flexible workdays, and an environment where mental health is honored and respected. To achieve all three, overall, culture must be assessed and revamped.

While important, desiring better benefits doesn’t always mean a pay increase. Benefits can include bonus programs based on performance, paid continuing education courses, and rewarding opportunities both in and out of work to promote employee engagement. An example unique to Flavorman is that team members get together to celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays once a month. Those celebrating an anniversary or a birthday get a chance to spin a prize wheel with prizes ranging from $50 to their favorite restaurant or two free plane tickets anywhere Delta flies throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Designating these special company events inspires employee pride and incentivizes loyalty.

Building company culture

According to ADP’s 2022 annual study of workers, more than half of the assessed U.S. employees would take a pay cut if that meant they could improve their relationship with their jobs through increased flexibility and working in an environment where their interests are considered. This could include summer hours, remote work, or hours dedicated to employee interests, such as volunteer work that would still count as time spent on the clock. An example we use at Flavorman is that we allow extra time off for charitable and volunteer work. We also believe in giving back to our community and conducting fundraising opportunities for our employees to contribute to the efforts they care about.

When employers care about their employees’ best interests, mental wellness will naturally benefit; however, for employees who prefer their employers to have extra components within their wellness benefits, leadership could consider things like added time off, an on-site gym, and perhaps an office pet for added camaraderie and comfort. Our distillery dog, Camden, is a hit with both our employees and guests and regularly makes appearances during workshops and education sessions. These small steps go a long way in ensuring employees feel comforted and cared for throughout the day.

Combating employee burnout from the pandemic requires either a complete transformation or revitalization of culture, and that change begins at the c-suite level. In a rapidly changing workforce, company leadership should focus on understanding the drivers of employee satisfaction and take steps to bring these to fruition to establish a long-standing and robust business. When this starts happening, we can expect The Great Resignation to be a topic of the past.

Written on June 7, 2022.