Is there a Trick to building a strong company culture? There are a few. And the Treat is having a great place to work and a thriving business. Building your company culture does take some effort. Like any investment, this one will pay for itself for many years to come.
First, let me define what company culture is and why it matters. A simple description would be “how we do things around here.” Culture is unique to each organization since it derives from the vision and goals of the organization. A strong culture aligns the mission of the organization with how the work gets done, how employees interact with each other, and how they interact with customers.
Leaders who have built a strong culture understand one thing: the heart of any business is the people. Yes, great products and service, innovation and strategy are all important to a business. However, none of those have an impact without people who are actively engaged and moving the business forward.
A great company culture is one that is positive, supportive, and inclusive. Each employee should feel like they belong. They need to clearly understand what to do, how to do it, and how their role fits into the overall organization.
Every person should understand the value that they bring to the organization – not just their skillset but also their personality and perspectives. An important way to achieve this is to have safe, open, and honest conversations. Recognition lets people know that they and their contributions are valued.
The Tricks to Build Your Culture
Provide the Framework
As the leader of the organization, you need to clearly communicate your vision, mission, and goals. You are the example of the values and culture for the company, so live and behave as you expect your team members to live and behave. Employees should feel like their work has a reason. They can get behind a clear mission and purpose.
Pay attention to the people as individuals. While it is not feasible to have policies for each person, it is feasible to recognize each person’s contributions and to acknowledge their needs, accommodating them as best as you can. This might mean flexible scheduling, hybrid or remote work. Be sure to encourage time off. People need time away from work to rest, reset, and recharge. Hopefully by now everyone knows to stay home when they are sick, but a gentle reminder is due as we approach cold and flu season.
Employees are looking for a healthy work-life balance as much as you are. Having adequate staff allows each person to contribute effectively without feeling burdened or burned-out.
Everyone in the organization should expect to be fairly compensated for their work. When it is financially feasible, offer good benefits. Today’s talent is looking for health insurance, retirement savings plans, and paid time off including holidays.
Offer opportunities for growth and development. Training and development programs to develop skills will tell your employees that they are valued and gives you a higher-skilled team. Knowing that there are opportunities for advancement is highly motivating for people.
Develop opportunities for collaboration and encourage teamwork. Fostering a collaborative environment supports the employee and is often the source of innovation. This gives each employee a sense of belonging to the organization and team. It also allows them to support each member of their team.
Another important factor to building a great culture is making recognition and appreciation a regular part of each day. You want your employees to feel appreciated for their work. Make the effort to recognize and reward employees for their contributions. Train your people to recognize and thank each other. A small act of appreciation goes a very long way towards creating motivated and engaged employees.
Don’t forget to have some fun! Give employees the opportunity to socialize and have fun with their colleagues. Encourage them to get to know people outside of their department. Have a friendly competition or an ice cream social. Events and activities allow you to focus on the people, not just the work.
Enjoy the Treats (i.e. Results)
When employees understand the purpose and values of the organization, they become loyal team members who drive results. When a clear purpose or culture does not exist, it can feel like the only reason work is done is to make money. This attitude results in poor employee engagement, low morale and poor performance.
A great place to work has a deliberate culture where each employee feels that they are valued, respected, and supported. While it may seem tricky to do, creating a people-focused culture where employees feel like they can do their best work and make meaningful contributions is a treat for them, for you and for the company.
Not sure how to get started? Let’s talk.
Author: Sandy Merritt, Business Coach in Louisville, KY