Your company culture has a direct impact on how happy your employees are, and that affects how they handle your customers. Here are four things you can do to create a winning company culture in your small business.
How much time do you spend thinking about the culture and environment of your company? Is it something you only consider when listening to a speaker at an industry convention? It’s more important than you might think.
Think about jobs you have held in the past. It’s likely you don’t remember the projects and daily workload. You remember the people, you remember how you felt each day, and you remember how much you did or didn’t like your boss.
Company culture affects your bottom line and because of that, you have to constantly evaluate and evolve your employees’ experiences while they work for you. It’s the only way to attract and retain the best talent. Here’s how.
Work at Home or Flextime
In an increasingly connected world, an office might not require a worker’s physical presence all of the time. Allowing employees to work from home one or two days per week is one way to show the younger generation of superstar talent that you embrace new technology and look for ways to provide an environment of trust and comfort.
Another strategy is flextime. Allow employees to work an extra hour on a certain day of the week in exchange for leaving one hour early on Fridays.
Flexible work schedules and work from home opportunities don’t work for all businesses. If you own a restaurant, your servers can’t work from home, but for many businesses, this is possible. When thought through, it can be profitable for you as well. If your employees are on a schedule where each works from home certain days of the week, you won’t have to pay for as much office space.
Be Accessible and Communicate
Remember the old saying, “If I wanted your opinion, I would give it to you?” The days of treating your employees like underlings are long gone. Today’s top talent understand that they report to a boss but they expect the boss to treat them like an equal.
This means, be accessible. Listen, and most important, care about their ideas. When something goes wrong, listen to their side of the story instead of losing your temper. Consider placing your desk in the same area as theirs. If you have a shared office space environment, cutting yourself off from the collaborative culture probably isn’t the best team building idea.
Communicate by keeping employees informed about what’s going on behind the scenes. This not only makes them feel valuable, it also keeps the rumor mill in check. If your company is transparent, it’s hard for the rumor mill to thrive.
Deal with Negative Employees
Everybody has bad days and eventually, everybody will go through something that has an impact on mood—sometimes for an extended period. Those people need the support of a caring boss and coworkers. Those people aren’t negative employees.
Employees who complain constantly cast a dark cloud over the office. The best part of the day is when they go to lunch. On the other hand, sometimes they are good workers and valuable members of the team because they see problems in ideas or processes before others.
First, give negative employees an open door. Talk to them about your concerns and let them know that when they see a problem, you want them to come to you. Let them know that you’re genuinely interested in hearing their thoughts and opinions. Tell them that talking to other employees isn’t appropriate, productive, or helpful.
Next, tell them that when they have a complaint you also want to hear something positive. If you don’t want to make it serious, make it light-hearted. Tell the office that you’re randomly going to ask people to tell you something about the company they like.
If none of this works, let the employee go. He might be talented but there are plenty of talented people looking for a job—and they won’t come with a negative attitude.
Random Acts of Kindness
Regardless of personality type, all employees like to be recognized and they’re energized when somebody obviously cares enough to take an interest in their lives. How can you do that? If you have a company Facebook page, Instagram, YouTube, or Viddy account, acknowledge employees and their value to your company. Ask others to reply to the post and add their positive thoughts.
Ask the office to come up with a charity they all believe in. Tell them that when they do something extraordinary for somebody else, you’ll donate a certain amount to that charity. Tie sales and output goals to charity donations as well.
Finally, encourage employees to tell you when a co-worker is in need. Set aside money in your budget to meet the needs of your employees. You can’t single-handedly solve all their problems, but you can offer help. What better way to set up a positive work environment then to treat everybody like family?
You and your employees are spending a lot of time together. Nobody wants to spend a significant portion of their life in a place that feels negative, dark, and intimidating. If you want quality employees who will stay with you, make your office culture a priority. Some studies have found that workers will accept less money when they feel valued.