Idea Box: Build a Company Culture to Aid Growth
Culture Building: Getting the right employee attitudes does not come by accident. These tips explain how to develop a culture that will help your company grow.
Date Posted: 9/1/2014
Every company has a culture. But is your company’s culture what you want it to be? Having a healthy culture helps a company operate and communicate well internally, which is essential to both company growth and improving customer care.
A company’s culture is not just a list of ideals on a piece of paper. One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of culture is “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an organization.” It is something that affects how everyone in the company thinks and acts. Ignoring the development of your company’s culture does not mean that one won’t develop. It just means that it might not be the culture that you want.
Building a company culture is not just for large companies. Every small business should take the time to be aware of the culture it is developing and ensure that it is being shaped in a way that will benefit the company. In fact, it is easier to shape the culture of a company while it is still small and can play a key role in helping a company grow successfully.
The first step in shaping your company’s culture is to decide what you want it to look like. This can include things like how communication happens, how decisions are made, the casualness of the atmosphere, how customers are treated and the type of attitudes that are expected. Ask workers at all levels for feedback on these goals and also compare them with the way things are now.
Once you have defined what you want your company’s culture to look like, hiring should be considered the offensive line for building that culture. Having the right people is crucial to building the culture you want because a company’s employees have the biggest influence on its culture. Hire employees that believe in and have both the attitude and ability to contribute to the culture you want for your company.
While culture is affected by everyone involved in it, company leadership is ultimately responsible for guiding and shaping it. To do this effectively, you must be intentional about what you want your company to look and feel like. Be actively aware and engaged in what is happening on the shop floor and ready to signal what type of behavior is and is not acceptable. Sometimes this will be done verbally, but more often it will be done by how you act. Seeing you personally take the time to go back and redo a project that needs improvement sends a much stronger message to your workers than hearing you say that quality is important. You should also recognize or reward workers who contribute to building the culture you are striving for and quickly communicate straightforwardly with those who act counter to it.
Once you have established the culture you want, be willing to change. As your company grows, your vision and company culture will probably need to as well. Occasionally evaluate how well your culture is working and still helping your company. Some things that worked well on a smaller scale will no longer work. When you outgrow something and it is no longer working, stop doing it. Make sure the change is intentional and planned to facilitate the current needs of your company with an eye toward future goals.
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