As a small- to the mid-sized employer, it may seem intimidating to construct your own culture. This is all the truer if you serve an industry and are up against major competitors, each of which already has a thriving culture that retains employee loyalty while attracting customers left and right.
But doing so is important. Especially since according to a recent Bain & Company Survey of 365 companies worldwide, 81 percent believe that any company lacking a high-performance culture is “doomed to mediocrity.” (yours included)
So, where to begin in the massive undertaking of building your company culture? Here are 5 steps to help you get started:
As an executive, it’s likely that you’ve worked for other companies in the past. And as such, you have the experience to evaluate what has worked and what hasn’t. If you’ve created a culture of your own before, consider what fostered success for those brands.
Drawing on your experience in this way can help you avoid the pitfalls that plagued previous attempts at building a culture (all while guaranteeing greater success for your current brand).
Every brand has a personality, values, and goals. Naturally, your culture should reflect this so each employee and customer understand what you stand for and can instantly recognize what it is you do, why you do it, and how you help those you serve.
While you want all employees to fit the bill of how you define your culture, you don’t want clones either. In fact, you should fill in gaps where you lack certain qualities to balance your company culture and give your business a competitive edge amongst other competitors.
Many employees don’t feel engaged in their company cultures because their employers don’t make the workplace fun. Granted, some brands can have more fun than others in accordance with the products or services being provided. But at the end of the day, it’s important for some fun to be had. Schedule employee outings or put together a dinner party outside of work. Doing so is a great way to reinforce company culture and open lines of communication while keeping employees in accordance with what you want for your brand.
That being said, you don’t want to hire employees who will work in opposition to your defining vision. However, all employees need not share the same qualities you’re bringing to the table. As the owner of the company, it’s your job to reflect on who you are and what you want the company to be. Doing so will marry your personal and professional aspirations and create a successful culture all your own.
No culture remains stagnant over time. And if yours does, it’s likely to fail. Like all company cultures evolve. If you don’t allow it to, you risk hiring the “wrong” people or forcing a vision that doesn’t resonate with customers. Getting started is the most difficult step. But from there, you should let natural events shape the course of your company’s future. (trust us, you’ll be glad you did).
Whether you have a clear vision already or need some time to develop one, a company culture is a backbone for any potential success. And by doing your part to support the development and evolution of your own culture over time, your small- to mid-sized business will thrive as it should.
“On what high-performing companies should be striving to create: A great place for great people to do great work.”
— Marilyn Carlson, former CEO of Carlson Companies
Do you believe you have a strong company culture? Has it contributed to your success? Are you still struggling to create your own?