How many businesses do you know that say they have an open-door policy when it comes to listening to employees? How many of those businesses actually have an open door that employees feel comfortable walking through to speak their minds? Not many right? That is an example of a company culture that can actually zap employees’ motivation, integrity, and feeling of safety, rather than build commitment.
The old business paradigm is shifting from cold corporate entities to alive and socially conscious communities. Having a company culture that is true to who you are, whether you’re a steely-eyed money-monger or a feel-good do-gooder, is the key to attracting top talent to your business and keeping them.
WHAT IS COMPANY CULTURE
The culture of your company is its personality, style and the values that create the community of employees working together to achieve its goal. The culture is the actions which your business truly lives by, not just the words hanging in the lobby in an expensive frame.
Your culture creates the environment that every employee, vendor, and customer experience when they walk through the door. Are employees disciplined or let to slide by? Is respect modeled or just told to be modeled? Is innovation appreciated or should employees just do what they are told? None of the answers to these questions are wrong, as long as you are honest with your values and let the employees know what they are getting into when they sign their employment agreement.
Transparency is becoming the new hierarchy in the business world and everyone is being given permission to be themselves, warts and all. But if your company tries to be the wolf in sheep’s clothing then you risk being blasted on social media as a bad company to work for.
WHY HAVE IT
The company culture defines how employees will behave with each other, vendors and customers and create the overall attitude of your business. When the values are modeled and upheld by everyone in the company, the daily behaviors of the employees will reflect the core values of your business. When the culture is not upheld, however, employees can become cynical, unmotivated, undermine policies and procedures and create disharmony in the workplace.
We have all heard the saying “we are just like family here at XYZ industries,” and as we all know, most families are a bit dysfunctional. Building the right culture for your business takes time, thought and commitment yet is the most important aspect of your workplace. Just like a family, each company is different and is determined by the rules and examples put in place by the figureheads. Your company culture creates the synergy and uniqueness that makes your business different from the rest. Building an authentic company culture not only keeps the top talent that you hire but has them telling their 2,000 FB friends when a job is coming open.
HOW TO CREATE IT
Building your company culture takes patience, self-awareness, commitment, and vision. Delete the pictures from your mind of the corporate team building posters of rugged mountains that say “ Perseverance. Excellence. Success.” Those posters are old news and belong at the thrift store with the outdated cubicle walls and roller chairs. Today, more than ever, employees want the truth and something to believe in.
Who are you and what was your vision while you were still manifesting your business into a reality? You know those days before the stress of actually running a company when you would daydream and get that tingle in your body watching all your thoughts come together into the big picture. Sit in that memory for a minute or two and then start to answer these 5 questions to help you begin creating your true company culture.
A company that boldly states “there is a complaint system in place, fill out the form and use the proper chain of command,” vs. “we have an open-door policy,” is being honest and stops employees from feeling like they have been fooled. Make sure to include HR in your creative process so they can help guide you through employment laws and if you are too small of a business to have an HR person, hire a consultant to help.
If your company culture is not established and upheld in your business, you risk it being developed by the bullies and strong-willed employees, leaving everyone else only half committed to your company vision. When the right culture is coupled with the right talent and company strategy, your business will not only thrive, but will be an enjoyable place to work, manage and own.