Workplace culture is about more than being able to recite your corporate brand pillars. It’s everywhere - from the people you hire and your dress code policy, to the management structure and those unofficial Friday evening drinks.
As a CEO or small business owner, reshaping your corporate culture is no easy task. But when the returns increase productivity and job satisfaction, can you afford not to? More than 90% of CEOs believe that their office culture is important and that by developing this, they can boost the value of their company.
So, where do you start? The best place to begin is at the top - with you. Leaders within a business set the bar for everyone else. If things don’t change higher up the chain of command, then improvement elsewhere is unlikely.
Transform your workplace culture by understanding, where am I now? Take the time to develop your perspective with feedback from your coworkers. Experiences that may be considered excellent company culture by your general manager, may not be the same for a technical assistant.
One method to try is to assemble a team that can represent each component of the business. If you are only a small company, try to meet one-on-one with every employee. The attention to detail and honest feedback will lead to an effective solution for all. At this early stage, it could be worth hiring an experienced human resources consultant.
Establish a clear vision for the future of your company and prioritise your focus. Is it innovation? Tradition? This point of difference will shape your approach, but don’t forget about the core cultural values either - respect, integrity and passion for the work.
Caught up in the excitement, it can feel as though you need to make all of these changes overnight. The truth is that workplace culture is often established and ingrained into your organisation. Give yourself plenty of time to follow the roadmap and shift the attitudes of any employees stuck in the ‘old’ mindset. If you want to make your business appealing to new and current workers, you’ll need a proven track record of an environment that fosters your vision.
Know the bigger picture, but keep your eye on the smaller details. Brand new policies, a fresh workspace and hiring process are pivotal changes with instant impact. Delivering fresh fruit once a fortnight and introducing monthly team dinners will make just as much of a difference.
A great workplace should instil drive and confidence in every employee, to do the best job possible and actually enjoy it! Your workers spend 9+ hours a day in the office, so you need to ensure motivation is at an all-time high. Many businesses offer internal workshop opportunities and extra training to those who are interested. Adult learning, whether by a Diploma of HR or Degree in Business, equip your staff with the knowledge to pursue new ideas and opinions. You never know - one of them could be the game changer.
Reward the professionals who uphold the values of your company and strive to grow the business. Incentive programs could take the form of a bonus system or ‘working from home’ days which motivate the very best of your business to work more efficiently.
It’s also a nice way to say thank you to those in your company and help to reduce staff turnover. For a job seeker, reward programs can make or break accepting the offer. When more than 4 out of 10 professionals consider recognition opportunities when seeking employment, you’d be disadvantaging your business if you didn’t have a program to offer.
In this modern day and age, businesses come and go. Fast. Stay agile to remain ahead and in doing so, accept that your company culture will naturally shift over time. A CEO or small business owner should constantly revise the state of their workplace, in order to maintain a positive system.
It is best to reshape your company culture often, perhaps every quarter or at least once every six months. This will ensure that your employees feel as though they are heard, so your business continues to develop in line with standards. Remember, conditions change - be sure that your business can too.
Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning, she is passionate about adult and lifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programs, both in Australia and overseas.
Back to Small Business blogs