Building a successful business isn’t just about having the best idea, most creative vision, or highest profits; it’s about creating a positive company culture that attracts the right people and helps them grow.
When you create an inviting, challenging, and encouraging workplace, your employees will be happier at work and more successful (meaning high-performing numbers will follow suit).
A positive workplace culture doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an intentional strategy that takes time to create and constant effort to improve and maintain. Here are a few ways business owners can help build a positive company culture.
What’s A Company Culture and Why A Good One Is So Important
Company culture represents the shared visions, values, and characteristics of an organization. Culture is transparent in the way people interact with each other, make decisions, and the work style among employees.
You can learn a lot about a company’s culture via its mission, values, leadership team, goals, and plans for the future. Think of culture as how people perceive your organization’s personality.
Let’s use communication expectations as an example.
Do you expect your team to respond to an email, slack, or Teams message within seconds/minutes?
On vacation, does the company expect people to respond to emails or other messages? If yes, then your company culture may be a bit more tenacious.
What work patterns or communication behaviors do you engage in? Are you responding to work messages after hours or on the weekends? So much of the culture is top-down and if you’re sleeping at your desk and responding to emails at 2 am, your team may feel pressure to adopt similar habits.
Communication is an essential indicator of culture, and an emphasis on immediate communication can lead to pressure and burnout. Accentuating the importance of work and life balance would promote a more positive environment.
A positive company culture can increase productivity, employee morale, retention rates, and quality work.
Create Clear Values and Mission
You can’t have a defined company culture if you aren’t sure about your mission and values. These elements illustrate your company’s purpose.
Having a company mission and a set of values contributes to a more motivated workforce because employees feel that their work has a purpose, more than just increasing company profits. Purpose-driven work is quickly soaring to the job of job seeker must-haves and is a wonderful way to set your company apart in the bid for top talent.
Write or revise your mission statement to describe where you are and where you want to go. Start the process by gathering your team of managers, leaders, and employees.
The benefits of involving all of the employees in creating a mission statement are twofold.
One, when many employees are part of the conversation, leadership can get a 360-degree view of how each employee thinks of the organization and its core purpose.
Two, employees are more likely to support and live out the company mission if they were part of creating it.
A mission statement should include:
Who your customers are and what problems you solve
How your product or service is unique
What values and beliefs guide the company
How the company treats its employees
Once you have your mission statement, think about the values you want every employee to embody. Ask yourself,
What’s most important to you as an organization? Perhaps it’s trust, integrity, relationships, etc.
How can you tailor your values to your industry? Pick words that represent your brand and inspire your employees like innovate, creative, cutting-edge, etc.
How can your work make your industry and the world a better place? Here words like intention, openness, thoughtfulness, care, etc., might come to mind.
Remember that as the world changes and evolves, so must your company. As you look at your current mission statement today, don’t hesitate to make drastic, powerful changes if warranted.
Ensure Your Hiring Practices Embody Your Culture
To attract top employees, your organization’s job descriptions should highlight your company culture. People want to see culture as they research your company—88% of job seekers say that a healthy culture at work is vital for success.
And that makes sense since people typically spend more hours with the people they work with than with their own families. When you work 40+ hours a week, you want it to be with people who inspire you and make you feel comfortable, respected, and valued.
If the Great Resignation is teaching small business owners anything, it’s that an emphasis on cultivating a positive company culture can be a powerful tool. In fact, some employees would forgo higher salaries to work in a place with a healthy, positive culture.
So how can you make your hiring practices ethical?
Respect each applicant with thoughtful and timely communication
Have a clear and reasonable timeline for the hiring process
Make your language inclusive
Establish clear benchmarks with which to evaluate candidates (perhaps with an industry skill test or assessment)
Keep Culture Top Of Mind
While there are numerous ways to evaluate candidates—experience, skills, applications, education, etc.—don’t forget to include culture as a line item.
As you go through the interview process, ask yourself if this person will be a good fit for the team. Not just in personality but leadership style, communication tactics, goals, and ambition.
A word of caution: You don’t want everyone to be exactly the same—we can’t learn from each other that way! While you’re looking for strong culture fits, you also need to be aware of your biases to make the process as fair and open for everyone as possible.
But if you’re looking for a team player, you probably shouldn’t hire someone who only likes independent work and tends to micro-manage. Think about strengths and weaknesses within your current team and try to find someone who compliments the existing framework.
Invest In Your People
To build a positive company culture, leaders must invest in their employees. Aside from career growth, it’s important to bolster your employees’ physical and mental health.
Employees today are often overworked and suffering from burnout, so making their health a priority is vital for success.
Employees want to work for an organization that values them, and one way to do that is by offering competitive and thoughtful benefits that embody your culture. For example, if a core value is community, you might consider giving your employees a couple of days off to volunteer every year.
Encourage Team Growth and Engagement
A positive company culture starts by listening to your employees and understanding what they need to be happy and prosperous. Provide a space for your employees to give feedback, bring ideas, take ownership of a project, and explore other divisions/areas that suit their interests.
Building a positive company culture isn’t a quick process, but with a thoughtful strategy and good intentions, your company can soon flourish. That’s where we come in!
At Toberman Wealth, we focus on helping businesses grow and succeed. If you have questions about creating a stronger workplace culture with inspired employees, give our team a call.
Craig Toberman is the Founder of Toberman Wealth – a fee-only, fiduciary financial advisor based in St. Louis. He assists families and businesses with strategic financial planning and long-term wealth management. He has over a decade of experience in financial services and has crafted custom financial plans for hundreds of families and businesses.
Craig received a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree in Finance from Saint Louis University. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder, and Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Craig is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), Fee-Only Network, and XY Planning Network.
Craig lives in the greater St. Louis area with his wife, Ally and son, Hank.