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Having a group of people who are bound together by a common interest is a strategy that only works in the short-run. Therefore, your company, no matter how small or how new, cannot be only profit-oriented.
In order to make a great long-term basis for its growth, expansion and eventual industry dominance, you need to create a set of core-values that distinguish your business from those of your competitors.
Not only will this help you create a unique brand image but also make a great difference in your talent recruitment and retention efforts. In other words, every single person on your retainer will feel like a member of one large family.
Much the same as an individual, every company has its own identity, as which we refer to as company culture. It is something invisible, yet powerful enough to influence its employees through the sense of commitment, responsibility, loyalty and effectiveness overall. Researches show that creating and sustaining a winning culture within the company increases efficiency and general happiness.
With this in mind, here are several effective ways in which you can create and maintain what is considered to be a positive company culture.
1. Start with a definition
While to you, your company culture may seem like something simple, intuitive and straightforward, not everyone will be on the same page. This especially goes if you have one or several partners. In the introduction, we already hinted that the fact that you share an interest with someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you share the common vision.
Now think of things this way – how can you expect your team to honor your company culture, if the company’s management can’t agree with what this culture actually is. Therefore, you need to organize a sit-down with your partners and come to terms with the key points in your company culture agenda. It is also a good idea to write it down, just in case someone decides to deliberately misinterpret or back out on a point that you’ve made.
2. Values and the mission
Once you’ve defined the culture of your company, you need to announce it. The best and by far the most common, way to do so is by presenting them as values and the mission. The hardest part of pulling this off lies in writing a good mission statement for your company.
Three major points you have to make here are what your company does for A) the customer, B) the employees and C) for the owner. While the latter one may seem a bit redundant, it is vital to leave it in solely for the sake of transparency.
3. Rethink your hiring and firing policy
Another thing you need to keep in mind here is the fact that there are simply some people who can fit your organization much better than other candidates. Every single person you bring on the team will have an impact on it, especially if you are running a small business or a startup. Imagine a scenario where your entire workforce consists of 4 people and you decide to bring one employee more.
That single person will now constitute about 20 percent of your entire office, which makes any impact they make on your company culture a major one.
On the other hand, there are a lot of things you cannot see until you actually hire a person. If you see that you’ve made a mistake and that the person in your employ is making a negative impact on your company structure, it might be for the best to fire these people early on.
The particularly troublesome type of employees are the so-called cultural vampires, which usually have a decent performance in their core-tasks but are capable of instigating an in-office riot if things don’t go their way.
4. Become a better leader
One of the most important things in creating and maintaining a positive company culture lies in becoming a better leader. In one of the previous sections, we discussed how you need to be the one setting the rules related to your company culture, however, you need to be the one enforcing these rules as well.
Needless to say, this takes a no small amount of leadership and self-discipline. One of the most common misconceptions regarding the leadership is that leaders are born, which is not necessarily true. Through an adequate executive coaching, you can develop all the skills necessary for driving organizational growth. Furthermore, you can learn how to do this in alignment with your corporate strategy and culture.
5. Presenting yourself as a team
Finally, although every team has its underachievers and star employees, in order to elevate your culture to the desired level, you need to create a sense of a team rather than a group of individuals. While it is true that we reflected on this idea several times throughout the article, it is a vital step in putting all of the above-mentioned together.
One of the easiest ways to get there is to alter the way in which you are presenting yourself in public. This is why ‘join our team’ seems much more appealing than ‘join our company’. You see, this sense of belonging is something that a lot of people put in high regard, which can revolutionize the way in which your company is perceived both from the outside and from within.
The need is clear
At the end of the day, creating and maintaining a positive company culture is not that hard, as long as you see it as one of the top priorities in your business plan.
Sure, you have so many important issues to focus on at the moment but if you plan for your company to grow into a major corporation in the future, you simply must find some time to think about company culture. In the myriad of aspiring startups and SMBs, this is the thing that will make you truly stand out.