Workplace culture is a massive topic, but I love the description that it’s “the way we do things around here”. It’s more easily described as the business or company personality. It influences people’s experience and behaviour in the workplace and can be the difference in having an engaged and productive team vs transient employees.
Larger companies have HR teams with massive budgets. They already have brand recognition and a range of benefits, but if you don’t have that, here’s a few steps you can take.
Define your company values and culture
It’s best to do this at the outset by asking yourself some questions:-
- Why do we do what we do? (Why do we exist)
- What do we believe (i.e, what are our values)
- What do we want to achieve as a business?
Creating the story of your business will attract and retain customers whist doing the same for the people who work for you. It might seem that you’re “testing the market” in the first few years but the sooner you can define where you want to be the quicker you’ll reap the benefits.
Check if you need to make Changes
Culture very often starts with the very first person and it’s their values and beliefs which will dictate the initial direction. Once the base is established, this is when you can review the culture and make the relevant changes. You can do this easily by engaging employees who have the attributes you are looking to build into your culture. For example, if you want to improve customer engagement, hire someone with excellent skills in this area – it’ll brush off on everyone else.
Identify a People Person
Culture is something which can be make or break, so make sure someone is monitoring the mood all the time. You’ll need someone who listens to others, re-enforces the beliefs and values and will help to foster great relationships in your team.
It’s not all about fun activities, but that personal relationship building is important, as long as it doesn’t detract from the work itself.
Build your Talent Brand
What do your employees say to others about working for your business? Employer brand is what people think, feel and share about your business as a place to work. Check that those people you employ share your beliefs and values and know exactly what they are signing up for when they come to work for you.
Culture makes a big difference in attracting and retaining people as well as helping to build a high performing business. The culture in a start up or small business will be very different to those bigger corporate organisations. It’s unique to your business and you should take time to define it.