Startups are known for having unique company cultures, from a casual work environment to Friday happy hour, small businesses seem to strike the perfect balance of work and play.
There’s a lot of talk about creating the right “company culture” in today’s workplace. But how do you install an intangible aspect that has no software, check list, or set process?
Building and reinforcing a strong corporate culture that nurtures employees and lays a blanket of equality over your workforce is the path to retention, productivity and profitability. Here’s how to get started.
- Passion - Hire passionate people. Look for people who share your values in and out of work. You can provide training and restructure your company, but passion is something you can’t teach. You either have or you don’t.
- Communication - Work with your office door open, share the company’s financial picture, and provide lots of feedback. Don’t wait for an employee’s review to set goals, celebrate their success or solve challenges.
- Build relationships - People like working for people they respect and admire. Get to know your staff, laugh together, and encourage them to pursue their passions outside of work.
- Paid time off Everyone needs a break. Recognize when your employees are feeling burnt out and have staff in place to cover them while they are out. Vacation gives employees time to refresh and gain new perspective to apply on the job.
- Give employees a voice - Check your ego at the door and be willing to learn from your entry-level talent as much as they learn from your years of experience. Giving your employees a voice will make them feel valued and in turn, make them want to work harder.
- Team building - Working with different personalities can be a challenge within itself. Hold weekly meetings and have each employee lead a team building exercise. This will encourage the interaction and improve working relationships.
- Fieldtrips - Company outings are good for productivity and morale. In a fast-paced work environment it pays to have fun on the job. It can be something as simple as going on a hike or to a baseball game.
- Professional development - Sending your employees to conferences, continuing education courses, and training is a win-win for all parties involved. It increases their knowledge and builds confidence. It also encourages them to apply current, more modern practices to their work.
- Use rewards - Pay close attention to your employees’ hard work and reward them when they least expect it – stock the fridge with refreshments, bring in a massage therapist, or give a surprise gift card to show your appreciation.
- Celebrate - You want to earn the reputation as the best place to work. You have to know when and how to celebrate your employees’ success as well as your company’s. Ring a bell when a project launches, host holiday parties, and take a front row seat at award ceremonies.
Creating an inspiring company culture is hard but invaluable. It can determine whether a company succeeds or fails. You have to decide what type of culture you want and create it.