Company culture is an invaluable element of your business that can contribute to creating a positive working environment. However it’s not always easy to cultivate and manage. As for any type of business, boosting your culture can be a challenge when you’re a rapidly growing small business without the resources of a large enterprise. Yet paying attention to your business culture could enhance everything from productivity to customer satisfaction. So, what can you do to create stronger business culture as you scale up?
What’s company culture and why does it matter?
Experts define culture as a guide for discretionary behaviour, helping employees make hundreds of decisions as part of their job where employee handbooks, specific policies, and direction don’t specify. It can also be understood as the personality of a company, helping define the work environment and encompassing things like the company mission, value, ethics, expectations, and goals. Types of culture can include team-based cultures, formal and more hierarchical cultures, and casual workplaces with fewer rules and regulations.
Culture can help with creating productive, enjoyable working environments, and it can also be used as a recruiting tool:
- Productivity and creativity – Culture can boost creativity and productivity in employees by improving employee satisfaction, engagement, and relationships with colleagues.
- Attract and retain – A positive company culture could help you attract and retain valuable customers. Awareness of your culture can also help you hire and keep staff who fit in with your business.
- Growth and profitability – Culture could support growth and profitability by driving productivity and enthusiasm.
Strategies to drive positive culture in your small business
Entrepreneurs are aware of the vital role culture plays in an organisation, and research suggests nearly 89% of small-business owners believe culture is an important contributor to business success. However, as little as one in three are satisfied with their current company culture. The good news for small businesses is you don’t need the budget or resources of a multinational to create a great organisational culture. So, as a small-business owner, what can you do to improve your business culture as you expand?
1. Hire employees who fit your culture
Hire with regard to attitude as well as aptitude. You might have a perfect candidate as far as skills and experience, but if the individual doesn’t fit into your organisation’s culture and causes friction in the workplace, they can disrupt the productivity of other team members. Hiring qualified employees who have the right attitude and collegiality can be a significant driver of positive culture in your small business for the long term.
2. Reinforce culture through your employees’ tasks
Find ways to reinforce your company culture through your employees. Supporting them in understanding the business culture is vital. Use every opportunity to broadcast your values, mission, ethics, goals, and expectations. Provide new employees with a comprehensive induction so they can settle in quickly.
Link everyday goals as well as long-term projects back to your business culture. For example, if your small business is focused on providing exceptional IT development work for SMEs, communicate your daily and weekly targets in terms of quality and customer satisfaction. Use visual and IT tools, such as your intranet whiteboard and posters, to make your culture more tangible for employees.
3. Encourage contribution of ideas
Positive organisational cultures are usually inclusive and the best ideas can come from any team member. So take the chance to consult with your team members and involve them in decision-making processes. Seeking feedback and input is an excellent way to build a collaborative, cohesive working culture while leveraging your employees for innovative ideas. As your small business grows, you’ll want to prioritise this and avoid the common trap of growing businesses limiting employee freedom and involvement. Keep asking your employees for input and encourage them to stay engaged and happy.
4. Value employee satisfaction
As your small business grows, find ways to accommodate for your team members and keep them happy at work. Small perks, flexible hours, casual Fridays, and complimentary gym access could be ways to boost productivity and satisfaction at work. These measures can improve both culture and business performance, as happy workers tend to be more productive and creative. You’ll be more likely to retain employees for longer and have team members who are natural ambassadors of your business. Positive culture trickles down to your employees to customers.
5. Lead by example
You can’t expect your employees to engage with a positive organisational culture if you and rest of the leadership team don’t reflect the values you communicate. Your small business’s culture isn’t limited to your employees; it includes you, the owner and the managers. Make sure everyone in the organisation acts and speaks in alignment with the culture. Leading by example is a powerful way to communicate and reinforce your organisational culture, especially as your business grows and changes.
6. Regularly share goals and vision
Provide regular updates on your business goals and vision, especially when your business has new projects to complete. Team awareness of your business’s goals can result in a stronger business culture, motivating your staff to greater engagement. Your employees should know your company goals and vision as well as you know them. By focusing on the stated goals, your team can work cohesively.
7. Keep refining your culture
Culture isn’t a static thing and it requires maintenance and continuous changes as your small business grows. Keep your culture well-defined and regularly reassess your current culture and where you want it to be. Seek feedback from employees to assess engagement levels and their understanding of your culture. As you continue to define your culture, keep sharing your goals and vision and reinforcing your cultural values.
Create positive company culture in your small business today
Having a positive company culture can drive stronger employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and bottom line. Having a clear strategy for building and managing your business culture allows you to communicate it clearly to employees. You can also reinforce your culture by enhancing employee understanding and leading by example. With an effective cultural policy, you could successfully grow your business and stay ahead of the competition.
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