Creating The Culture Of Your Business
The word culture in the title above most likely has some of you wondering-why is culture in your business so important? Here’s one of the most important reasons. As a small business owner, you are able to create a company culture of your own making!
Whether it’s part of your mission statement or “understood”, your sense of culture for your business can only grow and thrive through the efforts of the people working for you. Even the best strategic business plans on the planet mean absolutely nothing without the proper people to do the work. Attracting driven, inspired, capable employees is the one of the most crucial steps in creating a new business. However, beware. Being part of a startup isn’t for everybody. It takes a particular type of individual-someone who possesses a taste (translation: high tolerance) for risk and is willing to get in the trenches to get the job done. Very often projects can require long work days that quickly turn into long nights. It’s vital that you consciously work to create a healthy, encouraging culture which will help to remind people “why” they have chosen to be part of your business.
Below you will find a short list of factors that can contribute to your business culture in a positive manner.
Accessibility/Communication. There are advantages to working with a small staff. It gives you, as the leader, an opportunity to sit with small groups or in one on one employee sessions to let people voice their questions and concerns about the business. It’s also a great forum to let everybody know where the business is headed. Warning…you must be brave to sit and listen with open ears and an open mind to what your people are saying and then devise an action plan to deal with their questions and concerns.
Appreciation. This can be as simple as buying the entire staff pizza on a Friday for lunch or planning once a quarter outings-away from the office. Whether it’s a company day outing with employees and family or a pint at the local pub there’s no better way to get to know your people then by spending time with them out of the office. Lampshades are optional.
Flexibility. Allowing employees to have the option to work from home a certain amount of days within each work quarter of a year accomplishes two things quickly. It sends a message to your employees that you value them and it also develops a sense of loyalty.
Giving Back. This can be as simple as rallying the troops to vote for a cause that the company will support. Perhaps let the staff suggest different ways to help through on-site messaging for volunteering or providing info for fundraising. In addition to the company chosen “causes” you might want to consider the creation of a program where interested employees are allowed to take off a certain amount of days per calendar month to volunteer for causes that are more personal.
I’ll leave you today with one of my favorite quotes about business culture from Edgar Henry Schein, a former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management: “If you do not manage culture, it manages you, and you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening.”
In other words, what happens in the office doesn’t always stay in the office.
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