As a business owner who employs people, you are in charge of creating a work environment that is productive and full of happy workers. This is easier said than done, though. When you have employees, you are bringing together people from different areas of life who now have to be focused on a company mission and goals that you have set in place to be accomplished. The difficult part of this process is that different people come with different mindsets and behaviors. This presents a challenge because slight differences in opinions can lead to arguments, which prevents work from being done. This cannot occur because time is precious and time is money when you are operating a business.
This is why it is critical to the success of your company that you develop a company culture where the goals of the business come first -- leaving trivial personal matters out of the work environment. Once this type of culture is established, you can then move your company forward to better serve your customers and gain better market positioning. But, this will all depend on how well your established company culture fares amongst your employees. Your company’s success is dependent on your employees, so you will need to ensure that your employees understand the importance of maintaining the kind of company culture that has been chosen.
Knowing that your company’s culture is very important, you will want to implement the best practices that develop highly motivated and high achieving employees willing to reach the same goals by acting and interacting according to the company culture. To learn what these best practices are, continue reading to learn more.
1) Make culture a priority
Your company culture is directly manifested in your employees’ behavior, especially when they interact with your customers. You cannot develop a great company culture if you do not mandate excellence as the acceptable standard when interacting with customers. The products and services that you offer could be of very high quality but the terrible culture that you have in place can eliminate such value. This can be frustrating because things such as bad customer service and average performance can offset the great offerings that you have developed for your customers. What makes this even worse is that this negative perception is hard to battle because it is your employees who are the ones who directly deal with your customers, not you.
You will need to ensure that all of your employees understand the importance of the company culture that has been set and believes in it wholeheartedly. Just one bad employee can cause your entire organization to be tainted, especially in these days of viral tweets and posts. This is why there need to be constant reminders of what the company represents and what your employees’ performance and behavior mean to the success of the company. It should be communicated that the company is focused on success and not just existing in the marketplace. Merely existing leads to stagnation, which means failure, leading to lost jobs. If employees truly value being able to earn a paycheck every month, they will gladly follow the company culture guidelines in order to remain employed. Beyond this fact, it needs to be communicated that a growing company leads to promotions and leadership opportunities for employees. Which is why they should be reminded that they are constantly being assessed to identify, reward and promote those who go over and beyond their normal duties and abilities in the pursuit of excellence.
2) Define your company’s mission first
A mission is more than a vague written statement that is only used when the company’s founders decide upon it and during meetings, It should be clear in its intent and regularly be reinforced through reminders. A mission statement is about promoting a specific mindset, goal, and behaviors that lead to the growth and success of the company. Your company’s mission statement needs to promote a sense of excellence and propel your employees to put forth their best effort every time they step within the workplace. This makes them remember that slacking off and underperforming are frowned upon because it negates the ability of the company to adhere to its mission.
You will need to align the mission, purpose, values, culture and specific goals and targets of your company. Define what is important to the company and why it is important. This will encourage your employees to think highly about the work that they do. It is no longer busy work that they do to get paid. They are doing work that has a purpose and leads to the shared success of those within your organization.
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3) Walk the talk
You cannot say that culture is important but do not signify its importance by showing it through your own actions. The saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” If your actions represent something other than your words, it signifies that you are not truly vested in the culture that you want to set into place. It makes it seem that you just want your employees to obey a set of commands so that they can be obedient to you, rather than following a set of guidelines that develop a successful culture. This leads to employees becoming disconnected from the culture you have tried to establish, meaning your company’s performance will suffer as a result.
You will need to lead by example so that your employees understand that the company’s guidelines for its culture is something that everyone within the organization must follow. As the leader, you will need to set a higher standard for yourself so that your employees recognize that you believe in a culture of excellence 100%. You will need to assess every decision that you make to understand how it will impact not only yourself but also your employees. This will make you become more conscious of your own actions and behaviors so that you are always representing the standards of the culture that you have set in place.
4) Work together and build a framework
Although you are the leader of your business, you will need the support of your employees to implement a company culture that is reflective of the excellence that you desire to establish for your company. If you are trying to do everything yourself to set up and maintain a strong company culture, you will soon tire because you carry the burden alone. This leads you to give up, which cannot happen if your company is supposed to be working towards being the best within its industry.
Learn to delegate responsibilities related to the fostering of company culture. You will need to make your employees accountable for both their own success and the success of the company. Give your employees the autonomy to develop programs and initiatives that promote the strengthening of your company’s culture. When they are given more leadership roles they begin to take the company culture more seriously - working to do what they can to ensure the standards in place are continuously met.
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5) Hire people who share the same values
You cannot create a company culture of excellence with the wrong people being hired as your employees. Just one wrong person working within your organization can lead to a disruption that is hard to recover from. Hire people who can forgo their ego for the greater good of the team. These are the employees who are motivated by and even celebrate the successes of others. They are not purely motivated by their own personal goals. Selfish people will not care about your culture or their fellow employees - stepping over people if it means that they gain in the process. This type of behaviour will spread to your other employees and lead to dysfunction within the ranks.
You will need to vet people before hiring them to work within your company. Ask them questions related to the culture that you have set in place. If their answers do not reflect the type of person that represents your culture, do not hire them. It is best to avoid trying to develop an employee into the person you want them to become just because they have all the skills that you need. Skills can be further developed but ingrained character and values cannot.
6) Listen to your employees
Remember, as a business owner you are the leader of your employees. This means you all operate as a team, so you need to know how to assess and improve the performance of each member of your team. You need to know who each of your employees are, what motivates them, and what they would like to accomplish as an employee within your company. Knowing these facts helps you attend to the specific needs of each of your employees in the manner that is most effective with them. This helps you improve their performance, which improves the performance of your organization overall.
These are only some of the important tips to follow to create a great company culture. At the end of the day, the key questions you need to ask about your company culture are
(1) Is it natural, not forced?
(2) Do my employees and I sincerely believe in this culture?
(3) How do I vet new hires for a fit with the company culture?
(4) How do I make sure that all of my employees constantly work according to this culture?
Keep these questions in mind constantly and actively seek solutions. A great company culture will make your employees go to great lengths to achieve the company’s success. Yours too.
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