As an entrepreneur starting up a business, you’ll certainly hear a lot about the importance of company culture and how it can boost the performance of your employees or make them lethargic, depending on the sort of culture you establish.
Companies like Google, Zappos and Nike are always in the news for their impressive company cultures, but many of their methods are simply out of reach for a small business. The good thing, though, is that with a little creativity and a lot of commitment, you can build a solid company culture from the ground up, even with your budget.
Be Intentional With The Process
The first step to achieving any business goal is to strategize, and building your company culture will not be different. From the onset, take the time to outline your company’s values, short and long-term goals and what the overall vision for the company is. This is particularly important if a significant proportion of your staff are millennials. They are generally more socially-conscious and particular about working toward a goal that’s bigger than themselves.
After setting them out clearly, be sure to incorporate those goals into every aspect of your business’s activities. From the process of hiring and onboarding staff to the way you conduct meetings and how you build your products or provide your services- the values you profess must reflect clearly. That way, you’ll establish consistency and engender commitment among your employees.
Incorporate Technology Wherever Possible
According to this article in the Harvard Business Review, performance enablement is one of the crucial factors that can determine how well your company culture thrives. By providing the latest and most effective tools to your employees, you’ll be improving the overall efficiency of your company while also reducing the stress your staff have to endure, thus making it clear that their well-being is a priority.
Thankfully, advances in AI and other tech innovations have cut across all business processes, meaning that you have myriad options to choose from. Customer service, for example, has been a notoriously complex and hectic function, which is why chatbots have become increasingly common of recent. Recent surveys have shown that AI-assisted live chats result in up to 30% higher customer satisfaction than calls or email. Upgrade your tech in bookkeeping, communication and other areas and you’ll likely see similar results.
Reinforce Your Core Values
For your company’s values to remain truly the core of your company, you’ll need to take deliberate steps to keep them at the forefront of your employees’ minds. The perks you choose to provide should be targeted at specific values you want to reinforce. To promote teamwork, you’ll need to organize events which encourage bonding in the team. For example, if you’re in Dubai, going on a desert safari might be a good idea, while an hour or two at a park would work well if you’re in New York. The key point is that the cost or fanciness is not as important as the consensus in your team and the time they’ll have to bond. Another way to reinforce your values is by implementing a reward system where employees who best embody specific values are recognized, thereby setting a standard for others and motivating them to do better.
Promote Open Communication and Feedback
There’s a reason why there has been a trend of more companies referring to themselves as teams, as opposed to differentiating employees from executives or the founders. An inclusive environment encourages innovation and is more likely to produce good results for the company than one that is rigid and exclusionary.
No matter what you do with other aspects of your company’s culture, stifling your employees will lead to them being disenchanted and unmotivated. Instead, encourage discourse and make the feedback process as convenient for everyone as possible. Don’t just collect feedback either, because your staff will know if you don’t actually work on it. Act on the feedback you get and you’ll see an uptick in communication, along with innovation and better teamwork.