It's one thing to find and hire the right people for the right jobs within your small business, but it's another to create a culture in which those amazing individuals can thrive.
The question is: How do you go about creating that awesome company culture that keeps your employees excited about coming to work everyday?
We've pulled together a few essential tips that can help you build a company culture with loyal, engaged team members.
Celebrate Your 'Why'
Every small business or entrepreneur has a passion that originally compelled him or her to pursue a particular path. That driving force is the 'why' –the organization's foundation of purpose that motivates future growth. If you ask small business owners what makes them get out of bed in the morning for work, they'll explain their 'why' to you.
Simon Sinek says of the 'why':
'Every employee in your business should know the answer to this question. If you have a consulting firm, your work isn't just looking at numbers or analyzing financials. That's part of what you do, but not part of why. You started your company for a reason; making money was part of that reason, but it wasn't all of it.'
It's not enough for the company 'why' to live within the mind of the leader. Company culture thrives when the whole team not only knows the company 'why', but also buys in—and celebrates it. When your team knows they're working together for a bigger purpose and sees its effects, they'll feel like more than just a cog in the machine.
Invest in Your Employees
You can take a step beyond verbal praise and 'Employee of the Month' features to show you sincerely care about your employees by investing in them. Actions speak louder than words, you know.
Investing in an employee can come in a variety of forms:
Assisting with ongoing education or training costs
Paying for relevant association membership dues
Showing interest in their after-hour hobbies (like seeing them perform their music or visiting their art exhibits)
All of these things show that you care about them growing and getting new opportunities — and that you're interested in more than just the work they complete during the day.
Provide Perks That Please
A few great perks never hurt workplace culture, that's for sure. But instead of just deciding on a ping-pong table or free Starbucks for all, poll your team to find out what they'd like as a workplace perk — and show you value their input.
In doing this, you might discover that the amazing espresso machine you were about to order would sit unused because your team is anti-coffee. You'll get more mileage out of the perks you provide if you can be certain they'll be appreciated and valuable to your employees. Give them the power to make choices.
Sometimes great culture comes as a product of actually being out of the workplace. Remote work is becoming increasingly popular, with more than 3.7 million employees (about 2.5% of the workforce) working from home at least half of the time.
Giving employees the flexibility to work from home or even just to work flexible hours helps them to find work-life balance, and is a huge perk for staff of every age. Plus, teams feel greater loyalty toward companies that allow them the flexibility they so desperately need and value.
Not sure increased flexibility will work for your small business? It's not for everyone. But Jason Fried, author of ReWork, has strong opinions for those who oppose the idea of remote work. He says,_ 'When you treat people like children, you get children’s work.'_
Make Your Company Culture Thrive
The secret to awesome company culture is to remember that at the center of your small business — there are real people.
Showing appreciation for the hard work they do for your business day in and day out is that golden rule that helps build loyalty, trust, and a community of people who are devoted to your brand.