Before going straight into the tips and tactics for fostering a strong culture within your company— it’s ultimately most important to explain why doing so is imperative to building a successful company.
While providing a “safe and satisfactory” environment may be enough for some, as the job market changes and the climate of our own industry adjusts to it— it’s growing increasingly important that organizations not only think about their employees, but think about what makes them happy.
To some this will sound superfluous because it doesn’t have some immediate correlation to your bottom line— and yet it does.
“The strongest cultures bind people together across both hierarchy and geography, guiding them to make the right decisions and advance the business without explicit direction,” explains the Building a Winning Culture Report done by Bain & Company.
In essence this means that a company with a strong sense of its own culture is a more streamlined and efficient company, which often means less dollars spent.
70% of the business owners surveyed in the report agreed that, “culture provides the greatest source of competitive advantage,” which is obvious as the largest segment of the modern workforce; millennials; are staying with companies for a fraction of the time of previous generations.
Nearly half of millennials want to leave their current employment, and cite things like lack of ethics on behalf of their organization’s leaders, or lack of inclusivity within the culture of their work environment— two things that can be solved by instituting a strong company culture.
Here’s how you can start your journey in growing your company’s unique culture:
- Consider Your Values: You need to develop a story your employees can rally behind. We all want to feel as though we’re contributing to something good and larger than ourselves, so provide that something to your team. Express the important role they play in the organization’s overall success and inspire an understanding of ownership across all levels of employment.
- Walk the Walk: You can’t assume what makes your employees happy, so ask them. Do an anonymous survey within your company that will allow your to get a sense of what makes your team tick. What issues do they have and what do they like about coming to work? Doing this can provide you with priceless insight into your own company, as well as show your employees you care about their fulfillment.
- Take It Easy: If you want your employees to respect your business like it’s family, it’s up to you to provide some family traditions. Institute motivational incentives or opportunities for your staff; like holiday parties, half days for reaching certain goals, employee of the month, etc. These minor changes can have massive effects on overall motivation and morale. At Potratz, we feature an employee of the month chosen by management who receives a gift card and the best parking spot in the lot, as well as a weekly adaptation that allows employees to recognize their peers for helping them or the company in a special way.
- Open Your Door: The strongest companies are those with strong communication. Don’t expect your employees to come to you when they have a problem; be proactive and provide them with open opportunities for communication. That can come in the form of weekly meetings, or you can adopt something like we’ve instituted at Potratz— Coffee Chats. Coffee Chats allow staff members to meet privately with their supervisors in a non-work environment, getting a chance to walk out of the office and spend a casual hour discussing any work-related issues they choose over coffee.
- Keep At It: Inevitably, some staff will leave or you’ll get that one odd one out that you can never satisfy, no matter how many half days you institute— but you have to make these practices a habit. Culture takes time to build, but like most things that take time— it’s worth it. Utilize these tips in cultivating a strong culture within your own organization. Remember that above all— your employees can be your biggest asset, so long as you give them something to be a part of.