Growing a fantastic work culture for your business is harder than it looks. It can be a great selling point for employees and for your brand, but could be your biggest challenge. And once established, it can be hard to change.
I recently spoke with the owner of Shiraz Restaurant in Los Angeles who hadn’t taken the time to create a thriving culture, and instead found himself with a negative one. By hiring a consultant who made some changes, and implementing a series of staff meetings, he was able to get back on track. But not before spending tens of thousands of dollars and wasting months of valuable time. As Mike Jaberi, founder and CEO of Fox Rent A Car points out, “If you do not create a culture for your business, it will create one for itself.”
Below are five quick and effective tips for business owners who want to grow the right culture:
1. Create a Clear Mission Statement for Your Business. A clear and concise mission statement is a key component of giving your team the guiding principles for your business. At Kobe Digital, we defined our mission statement (“to enable, empower, and enlighten entrepreneurs through the power of digital marketing”) early on, and use it to frame our employee training. When your employees are aligned with your company’s main objectives, you will be able to reduce conflicts among your staff when making critical decisions. At the end of the day, you cannot be there for every important decision, so your culture is what guides your team in making the right decisions.
2. Lead by Example. This is definitely the least time consuming, most effective way of building your company culture. Remember, you are a role model for your employees and they will follow your lead. As the founder of a startup, you should embody your company’s values and culture.
3. Hire the Right People. At the end of the day people are what make companies run. Without the right employees, you won’t be able to succeed. That said, I have always made it a practice to hire people who share my same values and who I believe will act with integrity.
4. Hold Company Outings and Team Building Events. Although it may seem like a cliché, corporate bonding is a key aspect of creating culture within a business. You don’t need to hold a two-week corporate retreat in Hawaii to be effective, although I’m sure your team would appreciate that. A simple barbeque or day at the park can help bolster your team’s morale. It will allow them to spend time outside the office, which will help your employees work more effectively with one another. For smaller companies, time with a founder or owner can be especially helpful. If your team has less than 5 people, try to have lunch with at least 1-2 employees per week.
5. Effective, Periodic Messages. This is especially important for larger organizations. Some examples include: a company-wide monthly call with the CEO or a weekly, all-staff email. These periodic messages are typically sent out on Friday mornings. Personally, I have found a recurring email, focused around a meaningful or relevant quote, can be the most effective way to communicate.