Building a strong company culture.

(The below article first appeared in a January 2024 email blast to our email subscribers. If you would like to subscribe to our emails, please click here.)

Hello, fellow small business owner!

Welcome to our 2024 email series, “HR Tips For Small Business Owners.”

We’re kicking off 2024 with our first HR tip – how to build a strong company culture.

Chances are, if you’ve had any experience working for a company (regardless of size), you’ve experienced both good company culture, and bad company culture. If you own your own business, you’ve also experienced what it feels like when everyone else looks to *you* to build that company culture.

Company culture is one of those things that everyone talks about without defining what they mean. So, let’s start with a quick, Melissa Varischetti definition of corporate culture: “Company culture is simply why things are done the way they are at your company.”

Let’s start with an example. Suppose you’re a local bank, and every day you have hundreds of people walking through your doors for a wide variety of reasons. Your company culture will determine how those customers are treated, the level of service they receive, and what their experience looks like if an issue has to be escalated to management. If there is a culture of respect and camaraderie between the front-of-house employees, customers will feel like they can get their questions answered when they walk in, as well as have their needs attended to if they need to speak with a manager. Conversely, if the company culture is more cutthroat and there is an atmosphere of distrust among the employees, customers will not be as confident that their needs will be met, and the employees will also not be as aligned around the various goals and priorities of the company.

A good company culture will result in more engaged employees, and by extension, a better output of goods/services to your key stakeholders. As the saying goes, a rising tide will raise all the boats.

However, it’s one thing to say you’re going to build a great company culture. It’s quite another to actually build it, which is why I’ll share a few helpful tips below:

1. Be Clear And Consistent – Write It Down!

Company culture goes haywire when everyone does their own thing, or provides their own interpretation of what they think the culture is. But there’s a level at which you can’t really blame them – after all, if there are no standards, everything can become a standard. That’s why as the business owner / founder / CEO (whichever hat you are wearing at your current company), you have every right to document those crucial elements of company culture that you know will work for your company, and remind the employees of those points during key company moments (for example, at an annual meeting).

If you have a physical office space, you may even consider hanging signs or decorating the walls with some reminders of your key culture points. For example, maybe your company culture is built around community, so you have a Keurig with a whole bunch of office-provided K-Cups in the break room with a little printout that reminds everyone how important community is to the company, and that they are encouraged to look for ways to build community amongst themselves.

2. Be Open To Feedback

Company culture – by its very definition – is not a one-person show. It should NOT be entirely up to you as the business owner to set the company culture and ensure it stays the same forever. You should reach out to your employees, take frequent pulse checks on the culture, and be open to feedback from all levels if there are elements of the culture that should be changed.

3. Share Your Success With Others

We’ve all seen viral examples of company culture gone bad. In fact, the meme at the beginning of this email is one such example. With all the negativity around company culture, now is your chance as a business owner with an amazing company culture to push back against the negativity and promote what you’re doing that’s really working well. Tell your LinkedIn network about how you’ve built a great culture, and encourage your employees to participate in culture-building activities. When everyone is participating and there is a clear vision of what the company culture is, great things happen!

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for you this month. Don’t forget we’re running a HISTORIC special on the site – if you book a 3-month featured job post by 01/31/2024, you can save $100 and unlock our recruiter resources including custom ad creatives and Facebook campaign management. Visit www.findajobpa.com/post-a-job, or call me at 814-590-6221 to learn more.

Until next time,

Melissa