We have come to the final post in our Company Culture series. You've read enough about culture over the past several weeks; so much so that the fact you don't have one is keeping you up at night!
No worries though. You're already ahead of the curve.
But now what? You should be well on your way to molding your own culture, right? Well, not really. Developing a healthy, authentic culture takes time.
It all starts with a vision and a mission. Go ahead and picture how your culture can and will evolve. Think about the environment you want to design, the team you want to assemble and the values you want to instill in your employees. Rather than waiting for everything to perfectly fall into place — heads up, it won't — go ahead and get started.
Steps to A Healthy Company Culture
We know there are hundreds of articles about how to build a company culture. And you know what? They all say the same thing. Defining your mission statement and establishing leadership roles are obvious. Of course, it never hurts to take advice from companies who have built successful company cultures, but don't necessarily follow in their footsteps. Create your own path!
The seven tips below aren't ones we repurposed from other online articles but are rather ones we discovered ourselves over the past few years while perfecting our own culture.
- Give everyone a voice. From the top executives down to the interns, everyone in your company should feel free to contribute their talents and voice to the business. Employee reviews should not be a one-way discussion. They should include feedback from the employees. Meetings should always include the opportunity for employee comments and feedback.
- Encourage innovation. While you need to have certain procedures in place, employees should have the opportunity to make their work easier and the company better. If they can come up with more efficient ways to get the job done, without compromising the quality of the outcome, that is something you should encourage. Working from home, for example, may be more advantageous for some employees.
- Reward those who contribute in significant ways. People like to be recognized for their contributions. This doesn’t necessarily mean a raise or bonus. Even a public mention or a pat on the back at the next staff meeting can mean the world.Ideally, this acknowledgment should be in front of coworkers and even a few higher-ups. Encourage your employees to take a vacation, too, and consider reevaluating your current PTO policy.
- Communicate and celebrate your company's accomplishments (and failures). This ties into #4. Part of rewarding your employees and yourself is celebrating your company's wins. On boarding a new client, completing a project on time and receiving community recognition all deserve to be celebrated. But just as you must recognize your triumphs, you must also acknowledge failures. But don't dwell on them; learn from them.
When ROI Online didn't receive a business grant, we didn't sulk. Instead, we ponied up, completely overhauled our business plan and applied for the same grant the following year. And we won. If we wouldn't have lost that first year, we would not have been as motivated to write our Culture Code.
- Tweak your employees' competitive spirit. Sales contests have been a tool used in sales and marketing organizations forever. But, what about other departments? Ask for employee suggestions for new products, marketing campaigns, etc. The winner gets a reward, even if it's just a beer on the boss.
- Make your meetings meaningful. Your meetings should never be long, drawn-out affairs. It should be a time of observing accomplishments, exploring ideas, and crafting new processes. Everyone should offer their thoughts, comments and criticisms for everyone to hear and examine. Adding food and coffee to the equation is not a bad idea either...
- Lead by example. This is probably the most important tip. If you are not living your company's culture, how can you expect your employees to embrace it? Employees model executive behavior. If the CEO or CFO is doing one thing, and expecting employees to do another, the chances of a strong company culture developing is slim to none.
Remember, all of these tips will only go so far if you do not have a well-defined company culture to work with from the beginning. Make blueprints by taking time to put your vision of your company culture into writing, like we did at ROI! Then take more time to tweak it. Also, share your culture code with your team. They will be able to provide insight and propose ideas you may not have thought of.
Once you have your culture code in place, then you can use these tips to make your vision come to life within your own organization.
Need a bit more inspiration? Download the first part of our Company Culture eBook Series, Creating A Culture That Matters: Laying The Foundation For A Great Business Culture for free!