Creating a Positive Culture at Work
A company’s culture is the overall environment and attitude in the workplace, based on past and current experiences. Your company’s culture, or its work environment, has a strong effect on how well it performs. The company culture directly influences employees’ attitudes and practices every day. While employee perks help create a positive work environment, the culture goes beyond physical aspects to include attitude and treatment of employees. Instead of allowing the company culture to develop itself, take an active role in creating the kind of culture you want in your business.
Where are you now?
You first need to determine what your current company culture is. It is important to remember though, that your perspective is not the only one, and it won’t necessarily be the most accurate either. As a busy business owner, you may not realise how employees feel about the culture. Bring your team together or hold one to one meetings with all of your employees to discuss the company culture and how they feel about it. Or if you want a purely objective perspective, then you may consider hiring a consultant.
Where do you want to be?
Once you have determined where you are currently, you need to look at and decide where you want to be. What is your vision for the business and what are the qualities you wish to instil into your company culture? For instance, if you are a design company, you might prioritise values such as innovation and creativity, but if you are a wedding planner, you may prioritise values such as tradition and communication.
Start hiring employees that possess all or some of the characteristics you wish to instil in your organisation. A creative firm needs intelligent, creative employees who develop their own solutions to problems, for instance. Remember that every hire reinforces or changes your organisational culture.
Develop and implement
Once you know what the characteristics of excellence are for your business, you need to make sure you develop and implement policies and daily habits that reflect these. If you wanted to cultivate a culture of wellness, then you may bring healthy snacks to meetings, hold walking meetings, and offer wellness-training seminars. To foster a culture of acceptance, which should be a priority for all businesses, you may develop fair-hiring practices, offer equal opportunities for advancement and offer professional development opportunities.
If you are trying to shape and mould your company culture, you need to provide incentives to inspire employees. If you wish to inspire employees to mentor new hires, take these loyal employees to lunch to show your appreciation. If you want employees to engage in more self-direction, praise their accomplishments to give them confidence. If CSR (corporate social responsibility) is an integrated part of your culture, you could consider recognising employees who volunteer on a regular basis.
As things change and grow in your business, it is important to continually re-evaluate your company’s culture. Often we as business owners are so busy working in the business, that we forget to work on it. Periodically, start right back at the beginning with ‘where am I now?’ and work through each of the steps all over again. You could make January the month to re-visit this, as it sets you on the right track for the year!