Company culture is often overlooked when business owners are first starting out, but it can make or break your business if you aren’t careful. The beliefs and values of your employees will greatly impact how they act, what they do, and whether they have the drive to help you succeed in the long run. It may seem like an unimportant detail right now, but company culture will play a crucial role in determining your success as a business owner. Here’s why company culture matters so much and how you can help to foster it within your organization.
Recognize your team members
After all, you have to have strong people in place if you want your business to succeed. If you’re just starting out, though, it can be hard to tell which of your team members are going to make it and which ones might not be cut out for long-term success. Part of company culture is recognizing when new hires are adding value and making them feel good about working for your company. By putting a structure in place from day one that helps keep employees motivated and engaged, you'll boost productivity and feel more confident about how your team will evolve as time goes on.
Ask about their lives outside work
Asking about your employees’ lives outside of work is a great way to get to know them as people. It also shows that you care about their wellbeing, which boosts morale. Even if they hate their personal lives, it’s important to bring up any red flags, like drug or alcohol abuse. Letting such problems go unaddressed will quickly drag down productivity and employee satisfaction in your workplace. The conversation might not always be easy—especially if you have reason to suspect someone is struggling with addiction—but it could make all the difference for your employees and ultimately for your business.
Be kind and supportive
The best culture is one that supports employees, no matter where they’re at in their career. If you’re not hiring for a management position, it’s easy to forget about company culture; however, it is important to make an effort to be considerate of your team members and supportive of your team as a whole. Even if someone isn’t your direct report or you don’t get along with them personally, it doesn’t matter—all that matters is that they are on your team and part of your company.
Lead by example
While it may seem trite to say, creating a great company culture starts with you. Not only does your company culture begin with you and your actions, but ultimately it will end there as well. No matter how much funding you have or what people tell you about how to make it in business, if people aren't following your lead or they don't trust your motives, you won't be able to achieve anything lasting. So always look at things from your team's perspective; ask yourself if that action is something that someone would want their boss to do? If not, don't do it. If so, go for it!
Provide opportunities for growth
If you value your employees, they’ll feel like they matter. And when they feel like they matter, you can be sure that they’ll give their all in return. Set up opportunities for them to advance and succeed within your company—and help remove roadblocks from their paths to growth. Not only will employee satisfaction increase (and turnover decrease), but so will employee performance and productivity. Take a moment to step back and look at your company as a whole: Are there steps you can take to create more pathways for success? If not, what is holding you back? Is it budget? Resources? Think about it, map out an action plan, and take action! Your business will thank you for it.
The best way to maintain a high-functioning company culture is to keep your employees happy. One of the most effective ways to do that is by encouraging socialization within your office space. Even if you work remotely, it’s vital that employees find common ground and get to know each other. Use group activities as a way to foster an employee community that bonds through shared experiences and interests (like casual game nights, after-work activities or a company book club). The more comfortable your team feels in their workspace, the more productive they’ll be. Not only will you help them strengthen their professional relationship with each other, but you’ll also increase employee morale and contribute to building stronger company culture!
Keep communication open
During busy periods, it’s often tempting to go silent with your team—especially if you feel you have nothing new to share. The problem is, however, that lack of communication breeds uncertainty and anxiety in employees, who may begin to wonder what they should be working on next. Rather than leaving your team in limbo (and adding unnecessary stress), make an effort to keep everyone informed about upcoming initiatives and progress. Not only will your employees appreciate knowing their work is appreciated, but they'll also be able to understand how their work fits into a broader framework at a higher level of organization.
A strong company culture attracts and retains talent. Positive team morale and effective business practices lead to a more productive workplace and better bottom line. Successful companies build strong company cultures that they can be proud of, which positively impacts their organization as a whole. If you’re looking for quality candidates, remember that it’s not just about salary – compensation is important, but so is something intangible: company culture. So make sure you create a culture where people are happy to come to work each day!