In the previous installment of my series, I talked about how to find the right mentors to help you on the path to success. In this post, I’m discussing how to establish a company culture that guides your workforce.
As important as establishing the rules and guidelines that govern your business is creating the culture that you want your company to embody. Your company culture represents what you want your company to be and the ideals and values that you see as the basis for your business.
Having a company culture allows you to bring in people who will fit into the ethos of what you do and how you go about doing it. Whatever it is that you emphasize in how you work and how you think about your company, you want people who can easily embrace that ethic. If your business is all about being willing to go the extra mile and put in the hours above and beyond to meet deadlines, while creating an environment and workspace that people enjoy going to every day and that makes it easier to accept the workload, then you don’t necessarily want to bring in people who are better suited to the nine-to-five in an office. Hiring the right person who fits your culture and has the skills you need can help accelerate your growth and productivity, while the wrong hire can slow things down and do damage to the morale and teamwork that you’ve strived to build.
Having a strong and positive culture can also help when recruiting for your team. The best, most talented people will have choices when it comes to job offers. But more and more, employees are considering things like quality of life and the mission statement of a company when choosing where they want to apply and work. Having a written statement describing your company culture, as well as happy employees who can attest to that positive culture, is a great leg up in the hiring process, especially if you aren’t able to offer higher wages than others in your industry.
A clear and concise statement on your company culture and goals also serves to inform your employees’ actions on a day-to-day basis that isn’t necessarily reliant upon micromanagement and excessive oversight. You want your employees to be able to work without looking over their shoulder, but you also want to make sure that they’re doing what you want them to. And provided that you’ve hired people with the right work ethic, that means everyone having the same goals and targets in mind, and making decisions that are informed by both the goals and values of the company. Being able to grant your employees the autonomy to make certain decisions on their own knowing that they’ll make the right choices in line with your company’s goals will give you the freedom and confidence to tackle the countless other tasks you have to manage.
Creating a culture also helps to create the sense of team that is needed for a successful company. We need only look at the outside world to see almost endless examples of how groups of people coalesce around shared ideas and values and work together to advance those ideas. Your employees need to feel as though they are part of something bigger, to feel some sort of bond to the company they work for and the people they work with, in order to fully buy into your collective goals. The more that they feel that they are a part of that team the more likely they are to be happy in their work and the better they will be at working together with other employees on big projects to accomplish team goals.
The right culture will also empower your employees to contribute their own ideas and creativity to your projects and processes. Those made to feel like mindless drones in a big machine will likely behave as such, contributing exactly what is expected and nothing more. But your employees can offer valuable insight and creativity and different perspectives that might lead to improvements in your product or in how you run the business itself. The key to unlocking that creativity is giving your employees the freedom to contribute those thoughts in a way that will be valued and considered. Knowing that they can offer ideas that will not only be listened to but possibly implemented makes employees feel like they are valued fully for everything that they bring to the company, not just for fulfilling an assigned role.