We won’t sugarcoat it: to improve company culture, you have to work hard at it. At the same time, it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do for your business.
A negative company culture is one of the largest obstacles to growth. In contrast, a positive company culture draws talent, pushes employees to be rock stars and unlocks your staff’s true potential.
There’s a folk tale about the Great Pyramid of Giza that illustrates the importance of company culture. Picture three people chiseling stone on a hot day in the middle of the Libyan desert, each working ten hour days for ten loaves of bread and a jug of water.
Their overseer walks past and asks them in turn what they’re doing and why. The first one says “I’m chiseling this stone because you told me to.”
The next worker replies “I’m making bricks because the next group needs it to lay the foundation.”
The third worker tells the overseer “I’m helping to build one of the Seven Wonders. This monument will survive sandstorms, wars, and looting to stand for millennia. When we are finished, people will travel thousands of miles to marvel at our work. Now if you’d be so kind, I need to get back to work.”
It’s not hard to tell which worker believes in the organization’s mission. By improving your company culture, you’re creating a team of professionals that are truly dedicated to a vision of excellence and are excited to get to work everyday. That’s something worth working towards — now let’s talk about some simple ways to make it happen.
- Have an open door policy for new ideas — but give new ideas time to cultivate. A smart business owner knows that good ideas can come from anyone, whether they’re at the bottom or the top of the organization. The men and women on the ground are often the ones with the best, most practical ideas for improvement. However, give everyone time to contemplate new ideas to determine which are best for your business.
- Be accepting of mistakes constructive way forward first and foremost. Where there are people, there will be mistakes. After a mistake, your first measure of business should be a constructive discussion regarding what went wrong and how to avoid it next time around. Focus on the problem, not pointing fingers.
- Celebrate individual milestones — but be genuine. Bosses should be their employees’ biggest fans. Cheer them on when they reach individual milestones, whether they’re personal or professional. Throw a party or have a nice catered lunch for milestones like marriages, new babies, completing grad school, or gaining a new certification. However, it has to be authentic, otherwise it will feel like a sham.
- Identify when someone needs to knuckle down. Even good employees need a little external motivation every now and then. If you know someone isn’t doing their best, don’t be afraid to push them to work harder.
- Cultivate strengths and work around weaknesses. Encourage your employees to develop their strengths. For example, if you have a strong programmer on staff, give them time to learn new programming languages. Additionally, avoid tasking employees with projects that don’t fall in their strong suit — at least not when you won’t have time to correct mistakes.
- Have fun! Try not to take anything too seriously. Walk into the office with a sense of humor, and crack a smile when someone pokes fun at you. Let loose every now and then with a team building event or employee appreciation party. Help employees remember that there’s more to life than working hard!
We love talking about company culture. Chip in with your two cents in the comments or give us a call today to tell us about how you’ve improved the culture at your organization!