If you want to build and grow a successful business in the twenty-first century, company culture should be a top priority. Google and other tech companies led the way, but now more than ever before, talented employees value a positive, fun place to work, over bonuses and incentives. People care about their quality of life, and that means more than just giving them bigger bonus checks at the end of the year — it means giving them a company culture that inspires them every day and makes them want to get up in the morning and come to work.
If you can create that kind of culture, the best and brightest people in your field are going to climb over each other to get to your door, and you’ll be gaining and retaining the most talented workforce around. So, how do you do it?
BE TRANSPARENT AND TRUSTWORTHY
First of all, do your employees know your goals for your company? Do they know what they bring to the table and how their jobs help move your business forward? The more transparent you are with your business goals, the more your people will see that they’re a part of something larger than just completing tasks and getting paychecks.
When you have difficult decisions to make, don’t shroud them in secrecy. Be as open as you possibly can with all of your employees about even the most difficult decisions, and you’ll gain trust and loyalty.
When you talk to and about your employees, do you say “you” and “they”, or do you say “we”? You’re all a part of the same team, and you should be working toward the same goals. So, within your organization, there is no “you” or “they” — only “we”. The more you emphasize this in the way you speak to, about and with your employees, the more you’ll reinforce that notion and the more your people will take it to heart.
DON’T EXPECT EVERYONE TO GIVE 110% ALL THE TIME
First of all, in the words of everyone’s favorite Parks and Recreation character, Ron Swanson, “Give 100%. 110% is impossible. Only idiots recommend that.” Second, you can’t expect your people to go full-tilt all of the time. You can’t expect it of them, and you can’t expect if of yourself, either. It’s a recipe for burning out fast, and it’s not a great tactic for getting superior performance from your team.
Build as much work-life integration into your business plan as you can, and give your people the freedom to disconnect when they leave for the day or the weekend. Be understanding when life gets in the way of work, and find ways to work around challenges like family emergencies and other obligations. You’ll build even more trust and loyalty with your people if you do.
CONSULT YOUR EMPLOYEES ON OFFICE LAYOUT
Finally, you can do a lot to really build your company culture by consulting with your employees about plans to change your office layout. Open floor plans are really cool and give some people a feeling of freedom and creativity. They make other people feel agoraphobic and exposed. So, as your company grows physically, keep your employees in the loop and encourage them to make recommendations and requests for new office spaces and designs. Addressing their physical and mental comfort when they come to work can go a long way toward creating an environment and climate in which they can do their best work for you.
Keep paying attention to how your employees interact with each other and with you as your business grows, and be aware of how your company culture changes. It can do a lot for your productivity and profitability.