Don't underestimate company culture
March 31, 2014
While it's easy for small business owners to be completely zoned in on reaching benchmarks and achieving quantifiable results, the importance of company culture cannot be overlooked. When employees are aligned by common values, goals and interests, collaboration improves and the office becomes a more enjoyable workplace.
Of course, entrepreneurs' primary goal is to drive profit and keep their businesses up and running. But as Inc.'s Brent Gleeson recently pointed out, the cultivation and maintenance of a positive company culture is a revenue-generating activity. According to The Business Edge, Harvard professors found that firms with stronger cultures performed significantly better than other businesses. Companies with a well-defined culture generated revenue four times faster and had job creation rates seven times higher than the average firm.
Create a company culture plan
So what can small firm owners do to improve company culture? Gleeson advised that they start by developing a plan. Entrepreneurs should consult with senior leaders to create, execute and communicate a plan designed to fix organizational issues and unite coworkers. This will give employees a clearer idea of their company's mission and core values. Consequently, team members will be better aligned and driven to work toward shared goals.
Workplace morale is a critical aspect of company culture. Employees want to work for leaders that reward productivity with perks like PTO and work from home privileges. In order to improve morale, upper management must listen to team members' concerns and adapt policies accordingly. Many common gaps in company culture could be closed by making adjustments based on employees' feedback. If workers feel that their voices are not being heard, they may decide to move on to another organization, Gleeson noted.
Plan team building events
Small business owners can strengthen company culture by fostering a sense of community among team members. The Business Edge suggested that this can be achieved by creating opportunities for coworkers to get to know one another. When team members participate in potluck lunches, March Madness bracket pools and birthday celebrations, they become better acquainted with each other, leading to the formation of highly productive work relationships.
Ultimately, the creation of a strong company culture is dependent upon the attitudes of both business leaders and their team members. Decision-makers should strive to provide workers with a healthy work life balance and clear vision of company values. Meanwhile, employees must be willing to contribute to a positive work atmosphere and offer constructive feedback.