Entrepreneur.com defines company culture as, “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time.” In other words, culture defines the way that organizations do things internally. The tone that you set for your company is key to your success, including the hiring and retention of employees. In fact, some job candidates see it as being equal to salary in importance when considering job offers.
Silicon Valley has provided plenty of examples of flashy company culture. We’ve all seen the elaborate employee lounges with vintage video games, beer on tap in the kitchen and free lunches. While these things are amazing incentives, you don’t necessarily need them to create an effective company culture, nor are they a cure-all. No amount of free food can inspire happiness in overworked employees who have toxic office relationships. Happy employees outperform unhappy ones by 20 percent, which is why company culture is so critical. Here are some must-dos to get your culture trending positive.
Expectations should be the cornerstone of establishing company culture. You clearly have an objective for your business, but you need to translate that to how you treat your employees and what your expectations of them are. According to Gallup, 50 percent of workers don’t have a clear understanding of what is expected of them at work. That uncertainty can create job dissatisfaction and undue stress. Employees need to understand what they’re expected to do, as well as how it fits into the big picture.
Develop Your Leaders
Leadership needs to be on board with the mission of the brand, as well as the company culture. Host trainings and meetings to mold your leaders. This will ensure that everyone is moving in the right direction. Management needs to understand that their actions and attitudes are critical to the mission. Their direct reports will look to them for company culture buy-in.
Stay True to Your Values
Values are critical to establishing culture. They are typically included in a company’s mission statement, but that’s often as far as it goes. Simply adding your values to the “About Us” page of your website is not enough. Ensure that you and the leadership team are using those values to drive policies. Staying connected to your values and why you do things gives employees a sense of purpose, which increases their satisfaction.
Company culture can be easily forgotten if not constantly reinforced. Sixty-three percent of employees are unengaged at work. Bad attitudes and negativity spread like wild fire, so it’s important for everyone to buy into what you’re doing. Keep your ear to the ground to root out those who may be, intentionally or unintentionally, working against the company culture. Invest extra effort into getting them on board. Team building is a great way to create a sense of family throughout the workplace, while getting everyone on board with your mission and goals. Regular on-site and off-site experiences can be a huge asset to building camaraderie and uniting everyone under the common ideals of the company.
There is so much more to creating a company culture than an idea, but once you have established the tone that you wish to set within the workplace, your clients and customers will begin to reap the rewards. A solid, well-thought company culture creates a positive experience for everyone, from potential clients to top management and will help to make your business even more successful.