5 Ways To Improve Your Small Business Culture
the attitudes that contribute to how the company members behave.
Generally speaking, business culture is largely unwritten and developed over time. Each employee hired will contribute to the company culture as the business grows. To understand the culture of a business, you need to look to all aspects of the business in question; from its employee and client satisfaction to its benefits, structure, office atmosphere, and set-up. The culture of a business is reflected in every element of its operations.
Why is business culture important?
Having a strong business culture is vital to improve both the quality of your environment and the quality of the work that you produce. Every company that creates a great business culture will ensure that their business is a satisfying and enjoyable place to work. When a culture is solid and ethical, the work produced from that culture will reflect this. According to statistics via Deloitte, ‘94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.
As a small business, you’ll want to develop and foster the right kind of culture as you continue to grow. It stands to reason that your staff are the single most important aspect of getting your company culture right. In short, if your staff are happy, your culture will thrive as will your business. To succeed, you’ll want to create the kind of culture that attracts the best employees and keeps them around.
Larger companies often implement this with employee perks and initiatives. When your a smaller business you may not have such a big budget for such schemes just yet. With this in mind, let’s consider a few ways that your small business can realistically stand to improve its culture.
1. Keep it flexible
There’s nothing which will demotivate your employees faster than a rigid structure that feels overbearing. It’s a good idea to allow your staff to work remotely from time to time or offer flextime work patterns. Employers can further offer flexibility by allowing staff to leave early for any one-off family commitments. While you’ll want to keep your company productive, you’ll have more chance of creating a healthy and positive culture if your employees feel happy. Many companies offer the perk of allowing employees to have the day off on their birthday too. According to Randstad’s Employer Brand Research Report, 28% of employees will leave a company due to a lack of work-life balance.
2. Tap into your employees work goals
If you want to improve your culture, one easy way that you can do this is to talk to your employees about their work-life goals. Ask your employees what they want to get out of their role and what they want to learn. Ask them if they have any ideas about what tools or strategies they need to succeed further. You may not have the resources to implement all of your employee's ideas right away. Having said this, you'll undoubtedly be able to make a start. Properly listening to your staff will ensure that your employees feel both heard and valued as an integral part of your company culture. Culture IQ reports that ‘86% of employees at strong culture [companies] feel their senior leadership listens to employees.’ When staff members feel that their contributions are valueless or replaceable, your company culture is likely to suffer as a result.
3. Create shared values
Culture is often founded on the values of a business, yet if the employees do not feel connected to the company values, it’s difficult to foster a sense of community. One way that you can ensure that a community is forged, is to allow your employees to help you create your business values. Don’t simply tell your employees what your values are- ask them. Doing so will allow you to make certain that everyone is in line with your company beliefs. You may not be able to agree on everything, nor will every contribution fit together neatly, but it’s just all about listening and collaborating. A collaborative atmosphere at all levels of the business can also help to promote an influential business culture.
4. Promote a social aspect
Company culture is as much about the social as well as the corporate. It’s a good idea to create out of work social events for your business. Doing so is an opportunity to allow your team the chance to bond beyond their day-to-day tasks and projects. Whether it’s lunch, drinks, or a bike ride, good relationships can make all the difference to how much your employees enjoy their working atmosphere. Employees who are distant with no sense of community may find it hard to contribute to a positive sense of culture.
5. Efficient Problem Solving
No business will run entirely smoothly one hundred percent of the time. Trial and error is okay; it’s just all about how you problem-solve when setbacks arise. When it comes to company culture, issues can crop-up from time to time. Whether it's a conflict between team members, employees, and leadership, or business and clients; the best thing to do is to tackle every problem head-on and immediately. A compassionate approach to conflict is always the way to go. An approach like this will allow those involved to learn from the process and find solutions. A strategic approach to problem-solving will also allow the development of prevention tactics for the future.
When you're a small business, with opportunities for growth ahead, you have a fantastic opportunity to establish a thriving company culture. Doing so can drive your success for years to come. You may not be able to implement every single valuable idea overnight, but if you view your company culture as a process, you’ll gradually start to see results.