Building Some Culture Into Your Company
One of the hot topics in management today is company culture and how important company culture is to the success of any business. While most of us have heard the line, “businesses with a strong company culture tend to be more successful,” what exactly does that statement mean?
What is Company Culture?
It isn’t easy to define what is and is not company culture. Many pundits say that it is the shared practices, attitudes and beliefs of a company’s employees, or that it is the “way” that a company gets things done. While it can be hard to define company culture in words, it can be even more difficult to figure out how to create a strong company culture.
Most successful business owners agree that building a positive company culture that strengthens a company begins with finding the right people and clearly defining the company’s mission statement.
To be successful, owners and managers need to think outside of the box and realise that often it is more important to hire employees based on attitude and integrity rather than experience. After all, it’s easier to help an employee acquire the technical skills that they need to do a job, but it’s much more difficult to change an employee’s attitudes and values.
Clearly defining the company’s mission statement is also a crucial part in building a strong company culture, because every plan, goal, objective and action derives from it. It’s impossible to ensure that your people are 100% focused and aligned with your goals and objectives if they don’t understand the true mission of your company. While the mission of most companies is to operate at a profit, how they intend to act towards employees, contractors, vendors, suppliers, customers and others along the way is part of the mission statement.
How Does Company Culture Show?
Most of us can instantly recognise businesses with a bad company culture, because it shows. These are the places that people hate to do business with and employees hate to work there. Media, websites, and chat rooms are filled with horror stories about these companies. Ultimately, most of these businesses fail because their poor company culture leads to products and services that don’t meet needs, empty shelves or indifferent employees that run off the customers. The worst of the worst tend to face legal suits because their company culture leads to illegal practices. Sometimes they are closed when their practices lead to the loss of life or other endangerment to the public.
Businesses with a strong, positive company culture are also easy to spot. Most of us know the companies that have a company culture that focusses on great customer service, innovation or creativity because these are the places that most of us prefer to shop. These are companies that tend to remain successful and weather economic downturns, changes in leadership, or advances in technology.
How Can Company Culture Work for You?
By improving your company culture, you are giving your business an undeniable edge. A strong company culture is a competitive advantage against other businesses in your industry that have a weak or negative company culture. With a strong company culture, you can be assured that you are hiring the best people that will work tirelessly to achieve your goals and take ownership of their role in your company. By hiring fully engaged people, your employees become advocates for your company. Together, they create an energised environment that is favourable for finding new ideas and solutions for any issues that arise.
Tips to Get You Started Building and Improving Your Company Culture
Improving your company culture is easier than you think. The following tips can help you get started building a stronger company culture.
- Listen to Your People. You can create a more open environment and positive atmosphere by listening to your people. Seek their input and advice in all aspects of the operations of your business. This helps everyone feel vested in your business and responsible for its success. People are more likely to come to you with their ideas and suggestions when they feel that their opinions matter and that they won’t face repercussions for making suggestions that are outside of the box.
- Reward and Acknowledge Your People. Everyone likes to feel noticed, and all of us put forth our best efforts when we believe our managers care and notice our work. Look for ways to specifically praise your people when they get something right. Consider tying at least part of your employees compensation to how well they innovate and achieve goals while adhering to your company’s values.
- Look for Strengths and Manage Weakness. Hire people, as well as assign tasks and objectives, based on your people’s strengths, because everyone has a weakness. The clever, successful manager will learn how to help an employee manage their weaknesses while they focus their strengths and best skills on the task and goals at hand.
You will definitely see a change in the environment once you start to make improvements and your company culture is viewed in a positive light.