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Who needs company culture? Surprise, you have one whether you know it or not. Would you say Elon Musk, one of the richest people in the world, the man behind PayPal, Tesla, Space X, and now Twitter, has a good company culture?
How is your company’s culture?
“JUST DO YOUR JOB!”; “You’re getting paid, stop complaining about it!”; “If I hear that one more time…”
That’s right, some of you have heard those words, some of you have said those words, and most of you have thought those words. The simple truth is this, whoever you are, however you act, and whatever you believe, that is your company’s culture.
Is it your way or the highway? Are you open-minded?
If one of your employees (team members) is challenged in their job or in their life, what do you say? More importantly, what do your actions demonstrate to those that work with you?
If you Google company culture, you will be inundated with stories from “Pizza Friday” to stocked refrigerators to indoor health clubs. All those perks contribute to your company’s culture.
But the small things are important as well. Do you ask thoughtful questions of your employees? Do you care about them as human beings? Do you pay them a livable wage?
Don’t get me wrong, no one has time to immerse themselves in the lives of their employees. And you must maintain objectivity for those times that you might need to discipline or even terminate an employee. But you want them to know that you genuinely care about them.
When a company is making money, there is much less stress. When there is less stress, it is much easier to be thoughtful and kind, thereby allowing for good company culture. It is in times of difficulty that you are challenged to be a strong leader and still provide a good work environment. No one wants to wake up in the morning and dread coming to work.
Today’s workforce knows there are many options, and the days of an employee staying with the same company for 20-30 years is unusual. Your goal is to create a process to run your business that is profitable while at the same time ensuring that your employees feel valued, appreciated, and calm as often as possible. A simple “good job” or “nicely done” can be more valuable to an employee than money. Not everyone is motivated by money. In fact, Harvard Business Review published an article a few years ago that stated that less than 5% of people view their job satisfaction in relationship to their income.
Most people have job satisfaction when they are challenged, inspired, and are given opportunities to succeed. It’s easier in sales - if you make the sale, you have success. But there is more to it than just that. If you are in the shop, satisfaction can come from limiting the waste of material or just being able to find job packs quickly. You can find satisfaction in the simple processes that create efficiency, which in turn makes your staff feel safe and essential.
However, money is still important. Are you paying a fair wage that your employees can live on?
What else can you do to demonstrate to them that you value them?
Can you offer health insurance?
Can you offer paid time off?
Can you offer paid holidays?
Can you offer a bonus program?
Can you offer paid tuition for continuing education?
Do you even say, “good morning?”
I have often said that “people buy from people they like and trust.” That is good sales advice. Regarding employees, I’ve also said “people work where they feel respected, appreciated, and challenged.” How are you doing in those areas?
You are the leader, and you know whether you have created a place to work that is healthy and fulfilling, or if you have created a place where employees just collect a paycheck. You know your strengths and your weaknesses, and you probably wouldn’t even be reading this article unless you cared about your people and the environment where they work.
The next step to ask yourself is, how do you improve the culture of your company? You approach that like everything else you should be doing in your company, you do it “on purpose.” If you decide that you want to bring in garage organization products, you do your research, maybe ask for samples, ask a salesperson to call on you, etc. And then you make your decision. Creating a positive company culture works in the same way. Do your research, decide where you want to go, what you want to do, and when you want to do it, and then begin. Your challenge is not so much in the research and planning but in the implementation and follow-up. Take a good look at your company culture 2 to 3 months later. Did it work? Do you need to adjust?
If you want your company to change, then you must change. Put yourself and your employees in a position to be successful. Put up reminders for yourself, post-it notes on your desk, memos on your calendar, and write your goals on your bathroom mirror. Whatever it takes, whatever tools work for you, just be consistent. You don’t need to make an announcement to your staff - just begin and over the next few months, the people you work with will notice.
Before you begin you need to decide who you are so you know what will work for you. Are you a coach? An Army General? An educator? A motivator? Find your strengths and recognize your weaknesses. Chances are you may not change much, and that is okay. Your goal is to identify traits you share with leaders whom you have admired. Then use those strengths to inspire your employees to follow and believe in you.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.