No matter what stage you are at in your business, a newbie, or years in, designing your company culture is one of the secret weapons to having a feel-good, productive thriving business.
Some of you may say, it is not that important or maybe you don’t realize how important it is to design your company culture, but I am here to say it is extremely important to have one that you design rather than to have one that just sort of happens.
You may even be aware of some companies with great cultures, but you have convinced yourself that you are not one of those organizations, that you cannot afford to hire someone to do it for you, that it would be too much for you to handle, and that you would be unable to do it anyway.
I can tell you that I was that person in the earlier years of our business. I had so many balls in the air that I didn’t even think about our company culture. I actually thought that having a thriving company culture would not make that much of a difference in my operational performance, but I was wrong!
What I did know back then was that everyone showed up to work, they did their job and they went home, I thought that was good enough.
What I learned after designing our company culture:
- Our employees were more engaged and felt valued
- they were more connected and supportive of each other
- their work ethic improved
- their job performance improved
- their customer service and experience improved
- employee retention and loyalty increased and
- the company had a much better feel.
My first question for you is, is your company culture OK, toxic or thriving?
I hope you said you are thriving but if you did not, then I have the steps for you to create a great company culture that will improve your bottom line moving forward.
So, if you are questioning if you want to take the time to create this, just know a thriving company culture will not happen by wishing for it, or by planting the odd seed hoping that will work. Because developing your company culture is one of the most forward action steps you can take to improve the well-being and operational results of your company, don’t skip this, you won’t regret taking the time to develop this and then share it with your people.
Creating a thriving company culture is created with intention.
Follow these steps to create a thriving company culture:
#1. Know your company values – your values are what you value the most in “your business”.
For example – “honesty – always tell the truth and never steal or omit company information.”
Have 5 values that you stand by and operate by, you can have more or less keeping in mind you don’t want too few or too many. Once you pick your values – describe how this works in your business. Since this is your first time defining these values, include the things that have been bothering you so that you know what your business needs and what is missing.
These values make you feel proud when you and your employees talk about them and then you see how they change everyone’s work ethic by knowing exactly what your company stands for.. Your values are your guidelines for how you and your employees show up and do business everyday.
#2. Leader and employee Behavior – Do what you say you are going to do!
As the leader in your company, you are setting the example when making promises, taking on tasks, meeting deadlines, and assisting your employees. It is crucial that you do exactly what you say you are going to do but if for some reason it does not work out as planned, it is important to renegotiate or discuss why this won’t get done so that no one is left questioning why you didn’t do something you said you would do.
It won’t work if your behaviors don’t reflect the values of the business and what you expect from your employees.
Behavior alignment is also for your employees, your customers, and suppliers.
Are your employees in alignment with what you want to see? Are they efficient, and conscientious, and do they create a great customer experience? Do they represent your company with the best intentions? Do they take care of company equipment?
Do your customers and suppliers behave in a way that is in alignment with company values or do they cause trouble that takes up a lot of time?
If you experience unacceptable, disruptive or negative behavior, it is best to have a list of these behaviors that you will not tolerate for your employees, customers, and suppliers. This list is your guideline of how you want to operate so it is clear for everyone in the company and nobody feels they have to be silent and tolerate abuse. This unacceptable behaviour list is especially important so that your employees know that when they have a problem they will feel safe expressing their concerns and the company will have their back and will support what the next best move is for the situation.
#3. Being Congruent – this is where your values and behaviors are in alignment. This is where you the leader honor the company values with your behavior. You are consciously aware and represent the values with your behavior every day. If you are not representing the company values, then you will not be taken seriously and the system will fall apart unless you are willing to be accountable and called out for not being aligned.
This is one of the most important roles of the owners and leaders to follow through on, if not your employees will notice this very quickly and your attempts to create an awesome company culture will fall apart and become toxic very quickly as the leader did not follow through..
This can be done with a high five, a fist bump, and encouraging words. Employees wants to be acknowledged, and it goes a long way to increase employee enthusiasm, which translates into profit.
#5 – Teach it and Post IT!
Once you have defined your vision and your company culture, have a company meeting, teach what you have developed and post it for reference.
Let your employees know this is for company improvement with guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable working conditions for everyone and company culture improvement.
Once you have completed this first round, review it quarterly or at least annually as some of your values may change as the company culture starts to change.
And there you have it – a simple five -step method for Creating a thriving company culture. Now that you know how to implement it in your business, there’s just one thing left for you to do: TAKE ACTION.
So get to it, and soon you too will enjoy having a balance and dynamic company culture.