Company culture is the heart of any workplace. It is the core values and beliefs of a given company and the way that those values are implemented in order to affect workflow, employee experience, and interaction between management and other employees.
Most often when we hear the term “company culture,” it is in reference to large corporations, like Twitter, that offer their employees perks like unlimited vacation and free yoga classes. However, even a small business with a handful of employees can — and should — have an intentional company culture.
You may not be able to offer free on-site doggie daycare or massage therapy, but there is plenty you can do to create a positive culture on a small scale. Here is how to do it and why you need to.
Why company culture matters
It’s pretty simple: happy people make better employees. The more you can reduce stress and make employees feel respected, the more they will devote themselves to their work and be able to focus on what they are doing.
Your company culture reflects the values that you strive to uphold as a small business owner, and a positive culture will attract new talent, help retain current employees, and reduce turnover. Create a company where people want to work and you will find yourself with a group of exceptional employees who will factor that into their overall job satisfaction.
How to create company culture on a small scale
1. Know the culture you want
Figure out what you want your culture to be by thinking about your values and how you want others to perceive your business. Think about what is currently happening in your company that you would like to change. Maybe you want to increase diversity, or focus on sustainability? Figure out what you have to do to make it happen, even if they’re just small things.
2. Make employees feel welcome
Ensure employee safety while making them feel trusted and respected. Give new employees proper safety training and offer health benefits if possible. Maintain open lines of communication and check in on your employees regularly to make sure they don’t have any concerns about their workplace.
3. Have fun together
Plan team activities and incentive-based initiatives that get people thinking about your company’s core values. For example, if your company is concerned with environmental impact, institute an office-wide sustainability contest where everyone brings in zero-waste lunches for a week and those who participate are entered to win a draw prize. The point is to get people mingling and having fun together around an objective that promotes your company’s values.
Don’t forget to show off. Post photos of these activities on social media so the world can see what your culture looks like.
4. Hire the right people
This doesn’t mean hiring a bunch of carbon copies of one another — in fact, the opposite is true. Choose people whose values, experience, skills, and passions add to the company culture harmoniously. What you want is diversity that makes up a whole that will reflect the values and mandate of the company.
5. Ask for help
Now that you’ve hired all of these dynamic people who contribute to your company culture, get input from them on how to improve it. Provide easy and frequent opportunities for employees to give feedback on how the company could develop — you just might get some of your best ideas yet.
6. Keep growing
Once you’ve established your basic company culture, allow it to grow and change with your business. Keep taking stock of the values your workplace demonstrates and whether anything has become obsolete or needs to change.
Just because your business is small doesn’t mean that your culture doesn’t have a big impact. Follow these steps and you’ll see major improvements in your employees’ happiness and productivity, which will make everything run more smoothly and help create the brand that you want people outside of your company to see when they look at you.