6 Ways to Create a Lasting, Thriving Company Culture
Culture is critical to the success of a company, but it rarely gets the attention it deserves in the boardroom
Culture is critical to the success of a company. However, many companies struggle because culture rarely gets the attention it deserves in the boardroom
Studies have found that more than half of today’s executives agree that building a corporate culture drives positive outcomes like productivity and profitability. While nearly 90% of organizations see culture and engagement as one of their top challenges, only half see the problem as “very important.” The disconnect is truly confounding.
The battle for high-quality talent is fierce. And, as your business grows, both in the number of employees and locations, maintaining a thriving culture becomes more and more challenging. Challenging, but worth the effort. A culture that engages employees and connects their work to the company’s mission ultimately ensures a motivated workforce with low turnover. This experienced, engaged workforce ensures a positive work environment focused on delivering an exceptional customer or user experience that keeps new and existing customers returning.
Saying that culture is important to your business and actually taking the necessary steps to ensure it thrives are two different things. Here are the top six ways to strengthen your work environment and make sure it lasts.
1. Define Core Values That Put Employees and Customers First
Research shows that companies driven by a core mission and set of values see 40% higher levels of retention and 30% higher levels of innovation. They also tend to be the leading business in their market segment. Outlining the organization’s main principles keeps everyone aligned and accountable. It also creates a safe space for employees to perform and makes the work meaningful by serving as a reminder of the company’s impact on the industry, customers and more..
Taking an employee-first and client-first approach will shape a culture that team wants to be part of and customers will want to visit. Consider what’s important to them and why they should choose your business over a competitor. Remember that regardless if your business is business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B), your end-customer is still another human. Your values should align with how you expect clients to be treated.
2. Model the Culture
Regardless of what’s written in corporate documents, the actions of leadership at all levels define the culture. One of the greatest challenges of leadership is making sure your actions and words are consistent with the culture. This is hard, and we all make mistakes. However, mistakes provide an opportunity to demonstrate humility by admitting and learning from them. There are no free passes for leadership, your team is always watching.
3. Share the Brand Story
This seems obvious, but so often the brand story is disregarded. What was the vision for the company? What were its early growing pains? How did it get to where it is today? Regardless of the employees’ position, a key piece of the onboarding process should be the brand story. Employees should take pride in being part of the company’s future and helping write its next chapter of success. Teaching them about the company’s founding vision and history will help achieve this and increase engagement.
3. Be Fanatical About Your Core Values
The company’s mission and core values should be part of everyday life of your business, and highlighted regularly in meetings and communications. For example, in retail at the store level, performance emails shouldn’t just share stats – they should also feature a core value and positive customer interactions
Each team should work together to support the continued growth of the culture and enforce its values. This can be done a variety of ways, such as ongoing one-on-one trainings, store meetings, management trainings and regular company-wide communications.
4. Weave Core Values into Operational Processes
Take your core values and build them into your operational processes. This will help ensure a consistent experience, regardless of which location a customer visits or which employee provides service. This should include ongoing training to maintain a successful culture.
5. Regularly Show Empathy & Appreciation
As previously noted, a manager’s actions impact the morale of others. A recent study found that 70% of employees feel that their attitude toward work and motivation would improve tremendously with managers saying thank you more.
Consider praising an employee in front of others in a meeting or calling out great work they’ve done in a group email. Also, small actions speak volumes – surprise your team with a special treat or group outing when they’ve gone above and beyond, and think proactively by sending gifts to your team on the frontlines when they’re about to go into a busy work week or season.
6. Support Employee Growth
Furthering the development of your employees will only benefit you as a business. Sure, the reality is that people eventually leave, but what if you held onto that amazing employee for another five or 10 years and helped enhance their skillset along the way? Imagine the impact they could have on your business. Give employees the tools and resources they need to grow and advance in your organization beyond any training during the onboarding period. Consider offering an annual educational stipend or building out an internal training program.
When a company’s culture is strong, employees are motivated, their loyalty to the company strengthens, new and innovative ideas flourish and the team-player mentality intensifies. Regardless of industry, building a great culture is a key element of success.
Jamie Repenning is the president and director at Floyd’s 99 Barbershop (Floyd’s 99), a hair grooming franchise based out of Denver that has more than 115 salons nationwideRooted in a lively culture that embraces individuality and a Client-first approach, the brand is one of the first to market a barber-style concept catering to both men and women.