If your small business were a person, what adjectives would you use to describe it? That description encapsulates your company culture.
Your company’s culture includes everything from the work environment your team operates out of, to the relationships your employees have with one another, to your organization’s values and mission statement—and everything in between. Culture plays a huge role in whether your employees like their jobs, which means it plays a huge role in whether your company succeeds or fails. To this point, many pundits believe that culture is the most important component of any business.
In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, many argue there’s a war for talent—with companies aggressively competing against one another to land the highest skilled workers. To this end, some believe that company culture is more important than it’s ever been before.
Which begs the question: How would you grade your company culture?
If you haven’t thought about your culture in a while, chances are your business would benefit from focusing on improving culture as a top priority.
The good news is that it’s easy to strengthen your company culture. Make the right moves and not only will your organization become more effective—your employee retention rate will improve and top talent will be even more attracted to your company when positions open up.
Here are five easy ways to fix a culture that’s not working:
Communicate quickly and be transparent.
If you’ve ever worked at a place where management never told you what was happening until the last possible moment, you know how discouraging it can be. You spend a significant portion of your waking life at a company yet you’re left in the dark about major decisions that impact your life.
Build a great culture by communicating quickly about any significant changes coming down the pike. Don’t catch your team off guard with big news. Be as transparent as possible.
This is not to say you need to tell your employees about every little development that occurs. Just use your judgment and be fair.
Empower your employees to work autonomously—however is convenient for them.
Your employees are talented professionals who are more than capable of getting their work done—and done well. If you want your workers to stick around, you can’t micromanage them. Not only is it disrespectful, it’s annoying—and inefficient.
There’s an easy fix: Let your workers be autonomous. If it makes sense for your company, let them create their own schedules and work remotely—at least on occasion. Studies show that companies that use flexible schedules and enable working remotely benefit from workers who are happier and more productive.
Support professional development.
Today’s professionals care a great deal about having the opportunity to develop new skills at work. If your company doesn’t take professional development seriously, it’s time to make some changes. Otherwise, employees will look for openings at companies that support career growth.
There are a number of ways you can help your employees develop professionally. For example, you can create a mentorship program. You can also send workers to trade shows, symposiums, and conferences that are relevant. Devote enough resources to training programs. Encourage your employees to learn. The list goes on.
Recognize your employees’ hard work on a regular basis.
When you work hard, you want people to notice your efforts. When your hard work goes unnoticed, it’s not exactly inspiring.
If your business doesn’t have an employee recognition program in place, you almost certainly have a bad culture. Don’t take your employees’ sweat for granted. Recognize your team’s great efforts on a regular basis. It’ll encourage them to try even harder next time.
Ask your employees what they think.
At great companies, employees don’t think their jobs are just jobs. Instead, they feel as though they’re investing their energies and skills in solving problems, making customers’ lives easier, and helping their organizations get to the next level.
Improve company culture—and increase employee engagement—by soliciting feedback from your team frequently. Ask them what they think your company should do moving forward. Use employee satisfaction surveys to figure out exactly what your team likes about work—and what they would change if they could. Put their best ideas into practice to prove that their say matters.
You can’t build a strong company without a talented team. If your business’ culture is uninspiring, figure out what you can do to improve it as quickly as you can. In many cases, you don’t even have to spend money to make your company a better place to work. Do it the right way and you’ll enjoy a healthier, more effective team that’s invested in your company’s future.