Company culture is one of those things that everyone assumes is just there. It’s always this kind of phenomenon – no one knows where it originates. Well, it originates with you: the management team!
The culture that you create within your company is really setting the foundation for the future. Since most people don’t consider where it comes from – it’s crucial to set the foundation that will flourish. Ensuring that your culture is strong and well known is pivotal to your success as a company. A common misconception is that your success is solely determined by the amount of sales you make, or the amount of money you bring in. The real truth is that your success starts at home and is really built by your employees – so, keeping them happy is important. It’s obvious (or at least we think so) that happy employees make for a better workplace, and the key to that happiness is a solid company culture. In addition to happiness, it drives employees to know what they’re working toward, and often reduces stress – which can have a profoundly negative affect on your people and your business. Good culture sustains employee engagement, and ultimately means lower turnover and higher company performance.
You are likely asking yourself: what makes a good, solid, company culture? Here are 4 elements that we think you should consider when building your company culture:
- Hire People Who Fit the Culture
This doesn’t necessarily mean “don’t hire jerks” (which seems a little obvious). A piece written by Eric Sinoway for Harvard Business Review outlines the different types of employees. Sinoway notes that you should avoid ‘vampires’ like the plague – These employees perform well, but have a terrible attitude and an ability to gain power over others and infect them with their negative views. Seems harsh, but these are the employees who will suck the life out of your company. It’s important to consider the person as a whole – in a society where our careers are becoming fluid, and the ‘9-5’ is no longer the norm. The individual you choose to hire will represent your company inside and outside of work hours – so consider that when making your decision. On the flip side – if you have a vampire in your midst currently – terminating them will ultimately show how serious you are about the company values and culture.
- Ensure your Employees Know the Values and Mission of Your Company
If your employees know your values, they are likely to work toward them. As noted, when your employees are on the same page as the overall goals it drives engagement and enthusiasm for the company and/or the product. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook says in a video:
“The reason why we’ve built a company is because I think a company is by far the best way to get the best people together and align their incentives around doing something great”
I think that about sums it up – ensure your employees are aware of the core values of your company, and ensuring they are on board with them will guide your culture on the path to success.
- Embracing that Decisions Can Come from Anywhere
A good leader knows that no one has all the answers – and a manager who exudes this is likely to keep good team players. It’s commonplace for companies to limit employee freedom as they grow. The urge to hold tighter is natural – but could be detrimental to your success. We don’t mean that you need to allow everyone to do everything, but incorporating an open door policy in your company and encouraging freedom of expression is absolutely key. The best and brightest employees do not go to work to follow a specific set of directions and go home – they flourish under the umbrella of creativity and expression, isn’t that why we hire them after all? Don’t make the mistake of squashing that, or the best employees will move on to something shiny and new. Not every success will come out of a management meeting – it might be a new employee – being open to these ideas and suggestions will make your culture stronger.
- There is No ‘I’ in Team
This is an extension of point 3. It’s pivotal for you to appreciate that you are a comprehensive team and not merely a set of individuals. Management who refer to their employees as a team rather than a group of employees is fostering the positive culture that points 1 – 3 build. A ‘team’ will naturally help one another and see’s the goal as attainable only if everyone makes it to the finish line. A group of employees, or individuals, will inevitably battle their way to the end, and people will end up defeated along the way. This will be detrimental to the growth and success of the business. Teams are the best, and most effective, way to get the job done.
Now that we know the 4 key elements of great company culture – how can you put that into practice? Well, for starters, team building events are crucial to get people engaged and align everyone towards the same goals. It doesn’t have to be dramatic or expensive, something as simple as a monthly team lunch on the company; or a quarterly day where you get together and do team building activities, share successes, and listen to concerns. These are simple ways to show your employees that you care, and that you are listening – it will absolutely increase engagement, build the comradery in your company, and decrease stress. These events will positively affect both growth and success for your business.