Creating a successful business is a complex process that gets even more complicated as the company grows and branches out into new markets and countries. So, it is not surprising that many business owners fail to do something meaningful.
This is certainly the case when it comes to company culture. An awful lot of entrepreneurs still underestimate its importance. In particular, during the early stages of building a business. Often, by the time they realize it should be a priority, it is a little too late. They are left trying to undo the bad habits and attitudes their core workforce has already developed. It is far easier to create the right company culture a priority right from the start.
Why good company culture is so vital?
There are many good business reasons to prioritize company culture. Here are a few of them:
- With the right attitude, people can be trusted to carry out most tasks without direct supervision. This light-touch way of managing makes for happier staff members and less stressed managers.
- When everyone is pulling in the same direction and appreciates that the roles of their colleagues in other departments are important too, there is more harmony.
- Happier staff are more productive. This extensive Oxford University study showed that happy workers were an average of 13% more productive. This was across all sectors studied.
- The right culture greatly improves customer experience, which results in more sales and more repeat purchases.
For more examples, take a look at the infographic that has been produced by Washington State University. Use the links at the end to double-check the statistics and learn more about the research that proves that prioritizing company culture brings many benefits.
Improving your own company culture
There are many ways to improve your company culture, and here we share an approach that works for virtually every type of firm.
1. Identify the company mission and vision
Having a clear mission helps employees to understand the purpose of their work. To recognize what they are there to achieve. Once they know what the mission is they can sit down and work out how their actions contribute to the achievement of it.
2. Identify your core values
Having the right core values in place will help your teams to make the right decisions and do so independently. If a course of action does not pass the values test, it will be immediately clear that it is not the right solution. Check out the examples of how some of the world´s most successful businesses establish and use core values.
3. Define how you want your employees to feel while at work
Most businesses say they want their employees to be happy and satisfied while at work. But they do not go further in defining what that looks like and how it can be achieved. As a result, they are never able to create a fulfilling and happy workplace. To do that, employers need to dig a little deeper.
Establishing these three things provides the foundation on which you are going to build and sustain your company culture. That is why having your mission, core values, and staff well-being principles firmly in place is so important.
4. Put in place practices that encourage the right mindset
How your business functions on a day-to-day basis needs to be in line at all times with your mission and core values. That includes how you hire and onboard new employees. You need to start as you mean to go on.
For employees who are already in place, training days, mentoring and company events all provide opportunities to improve their mindset. There are many ways to use digital signs for workplace culture initiatives. One of which is reminding people of the company’s mission and core values. The fact that the message displayed, and the format used can easily be changed makes it easy to experiment with new images and videos and update them to better reflect what is happening within the company.
5. Make each employee accountable for their contributions
Everyone in the company needs to accept that they each have a role to play in delivering the product and service to their customers. As well as have an impact on what the working environment is like.
6. Set clear goals
Setting goals at a company, department, team, and individual level is an effective way to help everyone to take responsibility and be accountable. Goals must be:
- Practical, i.e., not simply set for the sake of appearance
- Relevant to the work the person does and to the task at hand
- Feed into the achievement of the company mission
- Have time limits
- Be continuously re-assessed and updated, when necessary
- Taken seriously
Use this in-depth guide, to learn how to set effective goals for yourself and your employees.
7. Measure success
Once you have goals in place, don´t forget to collect the data you need to measure success.
Agree, in advance, how success will be measured. Employees need to feel that the data that is going to be used is going to fairly reflect the effectiveness of their efforts.
8. Provide feedback
Feedback on progress should be given regularly. How often depends on the nature of the goal. Sometimes it will be appropriate to do this almost in live time. For example, in a call center, putting up a screen that highlights how long people are waiting to be attended to could be beneficial. It enables team members to recognize when there is a heavy workload. Providing them with the option of dealing with customer calls slightly differently.
For team and departmental goals, digital screens can be used to provide feedback and progress updates. That could include sharing tips and other information to help the team or department work more efficiently.
Following the above process is going to take a fair bit of work. But don´t let that put you off. Investing time into creating the right company culture, pays dividends. The ROI is usually excellent. Plus, it soon becomes second nature to everyone, which means it is no longer a time-consuming task.
You do not need to do everything at once. You need to get started and work towards improving your company culture at a steady pace.