One of the main reasons why I love working with smaller businesses is that the culture is usually fun to be in, co-workers genuinely care for one another, and people tend to be happier and more loyal. There is a caring and intimacy that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle as the business grows into a corporation.
Company culture is a hot topic lately, as it should be. It is part of what defines your brand. In fact, more than half of business leaders rate company culture as an “urgent” issue – up from around 20% last year.
Fostering positive company culture is super important because you:
- Attract awesome hiring talent
- Retain great brand ambassadors
- Save time and money by avoiding the new hire and training process
- Improve the quality of life for you and your team
So, what can you do to maintain an awesome culture as your start up or small business grows? Here are 4 proven strategies:
Value your team.
Pay each team member what they’re worth in salary. Make sure your team genuinely feels valued and appreciated for what they are doing for your business. Sometimes even a ‘thank you’ does wonders. What they do matters. Otherwise, your business is nothing. There is a great video about leadership and greatness by David Marguet. Incidentally, I found this through an article posted on Jon Melonakos’ blog. Thanks Jon.
Lead by example.
Do you want your team to be resourceful or to know the best way to approach your clients? Do it yourself and be sure that they are aware of it. The only way that your team will know that it’s okay to do something, or that it’s NOT okay to do something is to practice what you preach. Now, I’m not saying to be a micro manager. That will NOT create a good culture. Help empower your team to do what’s right, and then let them do it with the freedom to make a mistake and learn from it.
[quote title=”Title” Text=”Every employee can affect your company’s brand, not just the front line employees that are paid to talk to your customers.” name=”Tony Hsieh” name_sub=”Zappos”]
Be transparent and authentic.
Have monthly fireside chats where your team can ask the owner whatever they want. Have each team member meet one-on-one with client-facing decision makers. I’m not talking about those ubiquitous yearly employee reviews with fluffy goal-setting. I’m talking about allowing people to ask questions and giving them honest answers, in whatever format that works for your business.
When you allow everyone to know what’s going on, then your business and your team will be able to work together towards one unified goal. Communication is key for any relationship to work well, and in business, this is no different.
Create a movement.
I know that this sounds idealistic, but it’s completely possible. What is the company’s true and passionate purpose? What is the one goal that everyone should be pumped to work towards? It only takes one extremely passionate person to create a movement. Excitement is contagious. Create a movement that people can get excited about and WANT to be a part of.
There is an awesome post about company culture that Tony Hsieh wrote on the Zappos site about company culture. It’s a great read, and definitely emphasizes the point of how fostering a great company culture goes way beyond your office walls.
Have an opinion or question? I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, and feedback in the comments below.