BUILDING THE RIGHT CORPORATE CULTURE
“Culture Building” has become such a buzz phrase that we’ve lost sight of what it really means. For many companies looking to jump on the trend, things like nap pods or free ice cream on Fridays check the corporate culture box, and they consider the job done. Companies like these are missing the mark, with such perks just scratching the surface of a much larger task. When you get it right, a strong corporate culture results in happy employees, customers and shareholders. New founders take note: the right idea isn’t worth much unless you have the right team in the right environment to help you bring it to life.
A recent Deloitte report lists Culture and Engagement as one of the top ten workplace trends for 2015, saying “in an era of heightened corporate transparency, greater workforce mobility, and severe skills shortages, culture, engagement and retention have emerged as top issues for business leaders.”
How do you create a company culture that will attract the right talent, unite them in your vision and mission and keep them passionately engaged as they work to grow your business? Here are some thoughts to get you started:
- There is no one-size-fits-all solution
Consider your culture as a corporate fingerprint – unique and undeniable. A symbol of who you are and what you stand for. A recent Harvard Business Review article describes the difference between your team, purpose and culture: “the team is the company’s raw DNA, the purpose their religion, and culture their unique way of operating based on common principles, norms, and values.”
By creating a culture based on your brand values, you’re creating a united understanding of what the team is working toward, and a blueprint for how to get there. The article continues, “great cultures need a common language that allows people to actually understand each other: first, a common set of values, which are the evergreen principles of the firm, and second, a common set of standards by which a business will measure how they’re upholding those principles.” The language, values and standards you develop will be your roadmap, keeping you on course as you create an environment which will allow your team to achieve its goals.
- Put your people first
While working at Virgin, I learned to live Richard Branson’s “People First” approach to building a business. In an interview with Inc. Magazine he says “if the person who works at your company is not appreciated, they are not going to do things with a smile.” Similarly, an unhappy employee can ruin the brand experience for not just one, but numerous customers.
Feeling appreciated and empowered provides a sense of ownership and pride, which will lead to improved performance, workplace satisfaction and ultimately, satisfied customers.
- Benefits should be benefits
In any business, the kind of cultural workplace benefits you offer will tell potential employees a lot about what life will be like if they sign on. Recently, we’re seeing more of a focus on perks that improve the day-to-day struggle for a better work-life balance, providing a less stressful environment and a happier team. Just as your culture should reflect your values, your benefits should be tailored to fit as well. Packages should reflect the wants of the team you’re looking to hire. For some that might mean a fully stocked kitchen and monthly taxi allowance, while others might prefer in-house daycare and unlimited dry cleaning.
As HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan said to Business Insider, “companies need to change the way they manage and lead to match the way that modern humans actually work and live.”
- Fit is a deal breaker
Your culture is created by the hires you make, which makes hiring for fit is critical. While core competencies are required to perform a job, personality can’t be taught or learned.
Ultimately, hiring for fit will create a cohesive group, sharing the same values and working towards shared goals with a common language and mutual respect.
Sounds like a formula for success.