In recent years the term 'company culture' has become a bit of a buzzword, most commonly associated with hip start-ups and tech world giants. It is a term almost always used in a positive context and usually indicates a unique working environment with great perks – in other words, the kind of place that everybody wants to work! As such, many small businesses are now falling over themselves to establish company culture credentials they can shout about. And why not? When done right, it can help with hiring and marketing and can foster an overall positive work atmosphere. So the real question is, how do you build your own company a culture like this? Follow these rules to get your culture in place, communicate it and stick to it.
8 Rules to Develop a Great Company Culture
In recent years the term 'company culture' has become a bit of a buzzword, most commonly associated with hip start-ups and tech world giants.
Set your values and get a big idea
The most celebrated company cultures in the modern business world tend to be rooted in a big idea, a driving value which underpins everything the company does and which their people can really believe in. It is rewarding for employees to believe that they are part of a company that could genuinely change people’s live, even in a small way. Set your values and hone in on how you can do this. Companies like Apple and Amazon focus on innovation, others such as Sales Force focus on customer experience or, Buffer on transparency. When consistently implemented each of these have a huge impact on the customer relationship in their own way.
Leadership sets tone
A culture is formed from the top down, and the way company leaders act will ultimately shape the rest of the workforce’s attitude. So knowing your company ideals and embodying those on a day to day basis by way of example is important. If your culture is teamwork then muck in and be part of the team while being vigilant against any employees not doing so. If your culture is based around fun, then smile around the office – it will be contagious.
An effective culture should run through the entire company, not just the management - so hiring the right staff to embrace the company ethos is crucial. For teamwork, hire people who thrive working with others; if you want transparency hire people who are comfortable with that. Really understanding how well an employee fits into your company will ultimately take time so being selective in the first place is an important first step.
Value staff opinions
No matter what your company culture, it is essential that your staff feel like important contributors to the company’s successes. This is best achieved by listening to what they have to say, and genuinely taking on board their advice on work and the work environment. This encourages everyone to push in the same direction for the growth of the business and uphold its culture and principles, creating a great team spirit in the process.
Developing company rituals can be a concrete way to bring your values to the forefront of the business and make sure they are understood and appreciated by all employees. If you value collaboration try holding regular company social events. If you value long work hours, organise dinners for employees working after certain times. If fun and light-heartedness is your focus, buy some games for office downtime and maybe organise a monthly competition. Your rituals and traditions should reflect and reinforce your culture, so think carefully about implementing these initiatives.
Recognise individual accomplishments
Recognise individual accomplishments
Everyone likes to be told they’re doing a good job, so while there is undeniable value in encouraging teamwork and celebrating success as a unit it is also important to recognise the contributions of individual employees. Having a quick word just to let them know that all of their hard work is not going unnoticed can do wonders for morale and productivity.
Nurture young leaders
One of the most common reasons for employees switching jobs is the lack of clear advancement opportunities on offer. This is crucial for retaining your best staff and making sure that everyone is happy in their roles. If you offer development opportunities for those who display an aptitude for leadership they will feel their work is being recognised and will want to stick around.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
In order to have engaging conversations with employees and get a sense of their true feelings on things, you need to be approachable as a leader rather that an archetypal intimidating boss. Be open to occasionally slowing down the working day to have a bit of a joke with staff and make yourself available for casual team bonding such as after work drinks now and then so they can identify with you on a personal level as well as a professional one.
This post was brought to you by Rachel Craig at Rapid Formations – The UK’s No.1 rated company formation agents.