The culture of any company has always been important to everyone involved, from owners and the workforce to the clients and customers. However, it was never really named or discussed until fairly recently. While some people may dismiss the concept as simply a buzzword, since it’s such a hot topic and probably over-discussed, we would argue that it is actually an extremely powerful concept that has always affected people in business, and that it is becoming even more important as the modern workplace continues to evolve.
The benefits of a strong, unified company culture are clear. It contributes to the identity and values of your company (think Disney or Tom’s) and will attract and retain top talent as it has for companies like Google or Starbucks. Strong company culture will save a business owner money that would otherwise be spent on recruiting, hiring, and training– and every business owner knows (or should know) that happy, content workers are far more productive. Your corporate culture also adds to your brand identity; when your clients see you as a fun-loving, generous brand, it creates brand loyalty.
So, let’s be real. Is your company culture crap? Do you often dread walking in the door of your own organization because of the atmosphere? Is your staff uncomfortable, unpleasant, and stiff with one another? Take an honest, hard look at your workforce: how many of them have been with you for more than a year or two? Do they seem content and committed? Are they kind to one another, or do they spend too much time snarking and backbiting? Do you find yourself short staff members at crucial times due to call-outs, no-shows, or illness?
The honest answers to these questions will give you a pretty good idea of the condition of your company culture. If you think that culture needs to be improved upon, you are probably asking yourself where to start.
Here are a few ideas that might help to get you going in the right direction.
- Research. Study the companies that are continually listed as the “best companies in the world to work for”. What are some of their hallmarks and commitments? It’s not always about money and benefits. Sometimes it’s about appreciation and celebration.
- Poll. Conduct a poll of your workforce. Allow answers to be given anonymously, and ensure that they know there will be no retaliation (that’s illegal, anyway). Study their responses, and take them to heart. Make changes where you can, and as soon as you can. When they see that you hear them and you care, the payoff will be tremendous.
- Protection. Do you have a strong, viable bullying policy? If not, it may be time to create one, and you can use the philosophies of other companies that are known for their awesome company culture as a guide. Most employee policy handbooks for large companies are available online, so this information will be pretty easy to find. If you have a bullying policy, it is vital that you enforce it. Nothing destroys a company from within like a bully (or two).
- Benefits. These can be costly, we know. But an employee who gets paid holiday on their birthday will feel so special! Or maybe a company potluck for special celebration days, which is not so expensive. People who feel special do special things, and your company will benefit.
- Awards. Is work done well rewarded in your company? If not, you know you could do better. Lunch on the boss, an early release on Fridays, a special pin, a merit raise – there are so many things you can do to let your employees know that you appreciate their hard work.
- Fun. Incorporate fun into your workday world. Loosen up your dress code, brighten the office environment with fresh paint, whimsical art, new ergonomic chairs, or standing desks. Allow dogs or children to come to hang out on certain days, or maybe have a catered lunch party for your team. Make some investments to lighten, brighten, and cheer up the atmosphere of your work world for yourself and your staff.
Otherwise, it could be said that your company culture is, well…. crap.
When it comes to your small business, Piccolo is here to work with you to make it better.