This post is sponsored by Visa Business. For more information, please see the end of this article.
So…what is company culture?
It’s your way of saying, “This is how we do things around here.” It defines the values, beliefs and operational standards you have for your business and the ways in which staff can support these things collectively.
Your culture may embrace the work-family balance by offering onsite daycare. Or, your culture may nurture a free-thinking atmosphere with bean-bag chairs and ping-pong tables to inspire creative thinking.
No matter what culture you embrace, the end-goal of making money and obtaining growth is the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re a two-person, home-based business or a company on the verge of going public. Having company culture can help attract and retain employees, and define how you’re going to reach important goals. Plus, you can have fun–lots of it, while you’re plotting how to take over the world.
How do you build a positive company culture? With an action plan and the commitment to revisit and rethink your company culture as your business grows.
How to Create a Positive Company Culture
Determine what company culture means to you:
Ultimately, your company culture will support the core values and principles of your business.
Let’s say you create jewelry from recycled materials. It makes sense, then, that your company culture will embrace recycling, use repurposed or salvaged supplies, or maybe host a weekly drop-box where the community can bring gently used items for donation. All of these things come together to support your core business value of reusing and repurposing, while also supporting your bottom line.
Once you’ve determined what your company culture will be like, communicate this to your team. If you’re still in the hiring process, create a handbook or collateral on your company culture to provide applicants and new hires. The sooner you have everyone on board, the sooner you can start implementing your culture.
Hire the right people:
Your most valuable asset is your staff.
There is a huge cost associated with hiring and training a new employee, just as there is when someone quits. To help cut down on staff-related costs, hire the right employees from the beginning. Make your company culture known up front. Talk about it on your website; add information about it on your employee applications. This can help foster applicants who are a good fit. For instance, in our recycled jewelry business above, it’s unlikely that a suit-and-tie business graduate with no artistic sense is going to apply if he/she knows ahead of time your culture embraces working barefoot in overalls. The right employees not only make the workplace happier, they are more likely to stay, become dedicated to your business and values, and nurture your bottom line.
Make success a priority:
Company culture is only as good as your business growth and earnings. No matter what culture you embrace, success should be the number one priority.
Your staff should be primed and encouraged to do the work required to meet financial and growth goals. Even the most laid-back company culture needs to make money. A great way to keep success front-and-center? Lead by example. If you’re making deals and closing sales while enjoying Friday Pizza Day, then the rest of your staff will, too.
One way to make success a priority in any company culture is to celebrate all successes, no matter how big or small.
Acknowledging the hard work an employee did on behalf your business goes a long way in keeping everyone happy. Perhaps it is part of your culture to have employees throw a dart at a dart board filled with gift certificates when they meet a goal, or something equally as gratifying. And think beyond work. Celebrating employees’ life goals can be just as rewarding—a new baby, earning a higher degree, getting married. Since employees support your company culture, supporting them is crucial.
At the end of the day, if your business isn’t meeting crucial financial goals or employees are leaving the business and are hard to replace, maybe your company culture has something to do with it.
The best time to revisit your company culture is as soon as you think there might be a problem. The best way to find out? Open communication with your staff, for starters. Ask what they like about your company culture and what they don’t. Then look at how motivated your staff is to actually carry out the tasks required to meet company goals. Make changes based on feedback and try again.
Like your business, your company culture will—or rather, should—grow and change, to always keep you moving forward.
Check out Visa Business’s awesome infographic about creating positive company culture below! (Click on the image to see it in full size.)
I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.