Company Culture and Business Evolution
When it comes to business growth, a major key to success is the viability of your company culture. Not only is culture a huge consideration for potential new hires—with nearly 80% of Millennials reporting they are looking for a great culture match with employers—but it also can make a difference in your bottom line. How much of a difference? Researchers found that revenue growth for companies with performance-enhancing cultures was, on average, about 516% more than their counterparts.
How can companies create or improve upon their culture? One important thing to understand is how business culture has changed in recent years from what it always has been. Historically, most businesses operated under more of a “dictator” model, with directives coming from the top down and employees simply expected to deliver results.
As our culture as a whole has evolved, however, this model became antiquated and essentially unacceptable. Employees want—and more than ever expect—to feel respected, empowered, and humanized by company leadership. Basically, we all want to believe we matter, and today’s workers won’t stick around long at a company where their worth isn’t made abundantly clear.
Crafting Your Company Culture—The Right Way
You know you need it, now you’re ready to get to work creating it, or transforming what you have into something better. Here are some essential tips to get you started.
- Model strong, clear, approachable leadership. All great company cultures start from the top down. As a leader who is passionate and excited about your work, you have a better chance of attracting and retaining others who share your enthusiasm. The other key piece here is to realize that the energy of your team begins with you. For example, if you are stressed out all the time and unapproachable, your team will feel isolated from you and less driven to succeed.
- Know your people. Again, employees want to know they matter to you. Ask them how their vacation went. Smile, look people in the eye, and greet them when you see them. Invest your caring in your people and they will invest their caring in your company.
- Problem solving as a team. Working through business challenges together empowers the entire team to be part of the solution. Get together for an all-day brainstorming session. Post your challenges on the wall and let the ideas pour in. You will be surprised at the creative solutions your team can offer. Giving everyone a hand in making the workplace a more pleasant and effective place to be encourages participation and support.
- Be solution oriented. When problems arise, focus on the solution more than the issue. Make the workplace a “negativity-free zone.” Tell people to check problems at the door when they come in and make sure you do the same. Everyone has a bad day sometimes, but letting the office be the dumping ground for everyone’s problems will only lead to more of the same. Create a positive work environment and your employees will feel better working and being there.
- Celebrate accomplishments. Everyone likes to hear they’ve done a good job. When people feel their efforts are lost in the shadows, they are less likely to be motivated to continue those efforts. Celebrate successes, small and large, every day, every week, every month, every year. My team does what we call the “RAD Report” every two weeks, highlighting team members who have accomplished something radically wonderful—it could be reaching a goal or even helping someone else out.
- Work-life balance. Encourage and respect time off. Time away from the office should be revitalizing and rejuvenating, and employees need to feel like they can truly disconnect without consequences to their job security or the people within the company who depend on them. This starts with a clear structure for scheduling off hours. Make the ideal 30 days in advance to plan time off, compromising when possible for shorter notice. Then, empower employees to send appropriate communications to affected team members prior to their vacation to ensure their time away goes smoothly for everyone. The more rejuvenated your team is, the more energy they have to give to their work.
These tips will get you started. From here, take a leadership role in crafting your unique company culture around your specific team of people. Plan group outings and brainstorm sessions. Consider whether your team would be more comfortable in casual dress rather than business attire. Is your office dog friendly? Do you have plenty of natural light, cheerful colors, and office plants? Take the time to outline what kinds of things would really light up your particular team and then set those pieces in motion. Make your workplace a place employees really want to be.
Allison Maslan is a serial entrepreneur, having created and successfully run 10 different companies, including cultivating a 20-year practice as a holistic physician. Her company, Allison Maslan International, offers Pinnacle Global, a three-tier business coaching program that teaches entrepreneurs how to accelerate their growth, capitalize on their success, and balance it all with a meaningful life. Learn more about Maslan and the Pinnacle Global programs at http://www.AllisonMaslan.com. For further high-impact support, listen to her free audio for business owners, “The 8 Millionaire Secrets of Successful Business Owners,” at http://www.AllisonMaslan.com/cd.