How happy would you be in a company that has no break rooms, no vending machines or worse, no one even talks to each other? Most people wouldn’t want to stay more than a month with a company that operates with such dullness and has no culture. Sure, companies like Google and Zappos pamper their employees in great depth, but many companies might not have the same kind of expendable capital. Company culture is important in so many ways.
To ensure that your customers are happy, you need to make sure that your employees are happy first. This is a famous saying by Zappos. It is one of the best companies to work for in the world. Another successful company, Virgin Group has a strong company culture of recognizing achievements of their employees. Richard Branson says:
“When you lavish praise on people, they flourish. Criticize, and they shrivel up.”
Your internal customers are important. But can you build a successful company culture without the bells and whistles like Google or Zappos? Sure you can! A company culture is what your people know, what they believe in and how they behave with each other and to your customers. Every company is different and so it will have a different culture by default. This default culture may not always be successful. And so, here are steps you can take today to build a successful company culture now.
1. Envision The Ideal Company Culture
If you are the business owner or the entrepreneur, you may already know what your company should be like. Now you have the power to get this started. Get your tier-1 team together. This is a team of managers and leaders that will follow your company culture and reprimand team members who don’t. Instead of being an authoritative leader and ordering the culture to your leaders, you can be democratic in your approach and discuss this with your main influencers. This way, leaders share their own opinions and take the accountability willingly, instead of reluctantly taking the orders. So meet frequently until you have a clear vision and your principles or core values are documented.
2. Define Standards of Behavior and Values
Now you have your vision and principles for the ideal company culture, it’s time for the next step. You need a documented list of everyday habits your employees can follow to emulate that culture. If one of your principles is work-life balance, then coming to work on time, no work over the weekends, etc. should be one of your standards for behavior.
3. Show them How, Lead the Way
It is not enough that you have this fancy piece of paper or poster that talks about the company standards. You need to walk the talk. If Mondays are formal days, then your leadership must come into the office in formal attire – no excuses. All leaders are influencers for the rest of the employees. They need to imbibe your company standards internally and externally. Have a check system where even leaders are reprimanded for not following the company culture. This will show everyone there is no bias, plus your influencers stay in tune with your vision.
4. Hire People Who Match (Closely) with Your Company Culture
This is important. You need to find people who may share values and principles as you. You don’t have to hire “mini-me’s” but those who match it. For example, you are a great thinker and are constantly running full of ideas. Now hire someone who is an excellent enabler. One that takes your ideas and puts them into action. The core value or principle of “always doing your best” should resonate from the people you hire.
5. Maintain Your Culture
As time passes, your employees may change, the ideologies may also change. So, in the light of that, you need to ensure that your principles, core values and standards go through a reevaluation often. Get your tier-1 team back to reflect on how the year has passed. Ensure that your HR realigns employees with the culture through induction and policy refresher sessions. Group discussions with teams once a month can help you get the wind of what is the happening, what needs to change, etc.
Staying true to what you envisioned and staying consistent to your company standards is key to building a successful company culture.
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