Your business’s success could depend on you knowing the answer to these 2 questions.
Why is company culture important for small businesses?
And how does culture influence success?
The answer for both is the same:
Employees don’t give 100% because you want them to; they give it because they want to
And you make them want to by creating a positive workplace that attracts the right people, nurtures talent, and rewards hard work.
In other words, you create a strong company culture. One that improves productivity and ensures you become a successful business owner.
So, what makes a successful company culture?
Sit back, and I`ll tell you.
Assess Your Current Company Culture
Assessing your current company culture means reviewing your values, attitudes, behaviors, and working environment within your business. It involves looking at your culture and identifying areas where you can make positive changes. To assess your present company culture, you need to ask yourself questions like:
- What values do we prioritize as a company?
- How do we communicate?
- Can I improve our communication?
- How do we handle conflicts and disagreements?
- What kind of work environment do I provide for my employees?
- Do my employees feel valued and supported?
- What do employees value most?
- How do we celebrate successes and milestones?
- Are there any areas where I can improve our work environment?
Your goal is to identify where your company culture is thriving, where it`s not, how your employees feel about it, and the changes you must make to create a happy work environment.
Here are some ways to assess your current company culture:
Conduct a survey
- Send out a survey to your employees for their thoughts on the current company culture. Ask them to rate how well they believe the company embodies the values and behaviors you want to promote.
Review your policies
- Review your policies and procedures to determine if they align with your desired company culture. For example, you want to promote a flexible work environment. In that case, your policies should allow for remote work or flexible schedules.
- Watch how your employees talk with each other and your customers. Are they respectful and collaborative, or is it a kill-or-be-killed environment where they don`t give a s***?
Assessing your current company culture requires an open mind and a willingness to listen to feedback from your employees. Remember, your employees are most affected by your company culture, and you must consider their opinions and experiences when assessing it.
When you identify areas you can improve, create an action plan to address them and implement positive changes that align with your business values.
Define Your Company Values
You can only create a positive company culture when you know your values. Yours should reflect what you stand for as a business, the reason you started it, and how you want your target audience to perceive it.
To define your values, consider what’s important to you, your employees, and your ideal clients. Brainstorm a list that matters for you and your business. Then, narrow down the list to a few core values representing what you stand for as a business.
Once you’ve chosen your company values, ensure everyone knows and understands them so they become part of your brand`s DNA.
Involve your employees
- Ask your employees what values are essential to your company to ensure they align with yours and buy into what you want to create.
Keep it simple
- Your company values should be easy to understand and remember. Aim for only five core values.
Brainstorm and refine
- Take the values your employees suggest and brainstorm a list of potential new ones to add to your culture. Then refine and eliminate those values that don’t align with your company’s mission or vision.
Communicate your values
- Once you have defined your company values, communicate them to your employees. Do this through employee handbooks, onboarding materials, and other internal communications.
Hire for Culture Fit
Hiring employees who fit your culture is essential because hiring someone with the right skills but the wrong attitude never ends well.
When hiring employees, look for folks who share your values and show a true passion for your business and the problems it solves for your clients, not just their skills and experience.
Design job descriptions and interview questions that assess whether candidates share your values and are a good fit for your culture. Involve your team in the hiring process and consider their input on candidates.
Here are some tips for hiring for culture fit:
Define what cultural fit means for your organization
- Define the values and behaviors that you want to see in your employees. Use this as a basis for assessing cultural fit during the hiring process.
Define your ideal candidate
- Think about the type of person you want working for your business and create a profile of your ideal candidate.
Use behavioral interview questions
- Ask behavioral interview questions that help you understand how a candidate has the values and behaviors you are looking for in the past.
Involve your team
- Have trusted employees participate in interviews to ensure the candidate will suit your existing team.
Encourage Communication and Collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration are crucial for a positive company culture. Ensure your employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and you.
Encourage teamwork and provide opportunities for them to work on projects together. Use technology tools like instant messaging and project management software to facilitate communication and collaboration.
A strong team dynamic enhances employee engagement and motivation. Effective communication and collaboration are essential for a positive company culture.
Here’s how you can foster communication and collaboration among your team:
Encourage open communication
- Make sure that your employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. Hold regular meetings where everyone can share their thoughts and ideas.
- Encourage your employees to give feedback on how things will help identify areas for improvement and address issues before they become problems.
Use technology tools
- Use technology tools like instant messaging and project management software to help facilitate communication and collaboration among team members.
Provide regular updates
- Provide regular updates on company news and progress to help keep employees informed and engaged.
Make time for meetings
- Schedule meetings with employees to discover how they feel about your company culture, listen to their concerns, provide feedback, and set goals everyone can achieve.
Recognize and Reward Achievements
Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and recognizing and rewarding your employees for their achievements is crucial for building a positive company culture.
When an employee works hard and accomplishes a difficult task, thank them and ensure everyone else knows about it. You can also offer rewards such as bonuses, time off, or other incentives for achieving specific goals.
And it`s a win-win strategy because the more you appreciate what your employees do, the harder they`ll work for you.
Here’s how you can recognize and reward your employees:
Provide timely and specific feedback
- I worked for a cringy door-to-door sales business; I was young and desperate. It was a false high-five environment, and to be honest, I hated it. However, the boss drove a Porche for a good reason; she knew it was a thankless job, so she made sure her slaves (sales team) felt good about themselves by installing a giant ships bell that you rung whenever you sold out.
Here`s the thing, it worked brilliantly because it created instant awareness throughout the business when you`d had a good day and put a smile on all our faces.
Provide verbal recognition
- Get vocal with your appreciation, say thanks, great job, in person, and if you use a group chat, post it so everyone knows who`s performing.
Create a recognition program
- Celebrate achievements and offer incentives such as bonuses or extra time off to employees who exceed expectations or meet specific goals.
- Acknowledge milestones such as work anniversaries, birthdays, or project completions to build a sense of community and show that you value your employees.
Lead by Example
The saying “do as I say, not as I do” has no place in a modern work environment. Nowadays, you must lead by example, and how you act and behave must align with your company culture if you want others to follow.
For example, if you want employees to be punctual, respectful, and responsible for their actions, be the first person at work every morning, say please and thank you, and own your mistakes.
You can also create opportunities for your employees to see you in action and to learn from your behaviors and actions.
Here’s how you lead by example:
Model the behaviors you want to see
- If you want your employees to behave in a certain way, do it yourself. As the saying goes, “Monkey sees, monkey does.” So don`t make an ape of yourself!
Hold yourself accountable
- People who blame others or shirk responsibilities are a dead weight to your business and will eventually destroy morale. Show it`s unacceptable by taking responsibility for your actions; when you make a mistake, own it.
- Encourage your employees to give you feedback on your leadership style and make changes if necessary.
Live your company values
- Live your company values every day. Show your employees that you embody the values you expect from them.
Be open and honest
- Be open and honest with your employees to build trust and foster open communication.
Embrace a “let’s all earn more money” mindset
And encourage your employees to do the same; it will help create a continuous learning and improvement culture.
The best time to create your company culture is when you start your business; that way, it`s in the DNA.
Business owners changing an existing culture need patience as it takes time and effort.
But the rewards are worth it because you`ll get the most out of your business with a positive working environment and happy employees.