07 Sep Establishing a Strong Business Culture
You’ve never worked at a job that had a poor business culture if you’re lucky. If you’re like most of us, you’ve had that practical experience at least once. If you retract in your mind to what it appeared like, it may have shown itself as any one (or more!) of the following scenarios:
A. Witnessing your boss throw his weight around, showing off his wealth or status (e.g. handing an old poster of a nice Mercedes to an underpaid subordinate and stating, “Take that home and put it on your fridge and dream!”).
B. Being rejected. Everyone knows with what a click looks like and how they are great at making others feel detached, but wasn’t that so high school? Why is it being bolstered by grownups in the workplace?
C. Backstabbing. No person likes being talked about behind their back, and it’s especially uncomfortable if it begins to feel like the folks around you at the workplace are mentioning you. You start to suspect they’re only friends to your face, and you ponder what is being said when you turn around.
D. Allurements. How about being paid more or obtaining an added bonus if you’ll engage in certain actions with your boss? Ewwwwww. Enough said.
E. Stress to conform. What about helping someone that is frequently pushing you to compromise your own worth, or requests that you do things that violate your own values?
F. Criticizing management. You know it isn’t ideal when people are talking terribly about the higher-ups when they’re out of the room. Once again, this upholds the culture of backbiting and being two-faced, both of which don’t tend to enrich openness, trust, friendship or goodwill.
G. Disrespect. Whether it is manifested by discrimination, unsuitable jokes, sexual innuendo or making fun, we’ve probably all observed or personally experienced at least one of these real truths. They can be infuriating, awkward or embarrassing to witness, and if you are on the receiving end, they’re pretty hurtful.
In contrast, how can you grow a healthy business culture and develop an environment where people really want to be? What are some practices and philosophies you can implement that positively bring about good morale and make it more probable that you’ll gain respect and loyalty from your employees and have less of a turnover?
For beginners, be a company that values– and exemplifies– translucence. Be open, not dim. Be up front, clear, and respectful in all of your business practices. And never make it a question as to where an employee stands with you. Don’t let it be a secret if an employee’s job is on the line. Be up front with them about why, and provide specific things to carry out to improve. Make it clear what the standard is. Don’t allow cutting, deceptive or shady behavior in any of your employees, either. If they notice that you don’t tolerate that behavior, and that you’re living visibility in all you do, they’ll know they can take you at your word and trust you to be what you have presented yourself to be.
As a close second, make respect a must. How do you concentrate on creating a good feel in your workplace and cultivating an environment of respect?
Nobody obtains preferential treatment.
Everyone is needed.
Make an effort to endorse the belief that everyone has something important to contribute.
Don’t accept any form of discrimination, poking fun, or any other behavior that slights another person or leaves them feeling uncomfortable or left out.
Show genuine respect and encouragement.
Contradict snide, patronizing, or otherwise condescending behaviors.
And, as always, this value, as all others, has to be exhibited from the top. If you’re the center of your business, it will have to start with you.
No one likes to work for someone who is constantly breathing down their neck and not allowing them the space to do their job. If they’re doing a great job and are committed to the company, that will likely change if they feel as though they aren’t trusted, despite the fact that they are giving their best. For those that are working and making great contributions, allow them the compliment of knowing that you trust they will do what they’re expected to do, and they’ll do it well.).
Do things to boost morale and make things a little light-hearted every so often. Maybe it’s having everyone to dinner once a month. Maybe it’s scheduling a motorcoach every week for an arranged breakfast, where everyone has the chance to stop working at 9:00 each Wednesday morning and head out to eat together on the boss’ tab. (And also, that’s fun, cuz everyone can travel together and enjoy developing friendships!) Maybe it’s regularly providing drinks and snacks, or consistent thank yous for a job well done (movie tickets, dinner gift cards, etc.). Acknowledge birthdays and life events, and work to grow a culture of care and friendship.
There are lots of other things that could be included in this list, and you’ve likely thought of some as you’ve thought of the jobs you’ve had and the culture that was present at each workplace. Striving to develop a good company culture is hard work, but it’s worth it. If you can develop a place that truly manifests these values from the inside out, your employees are even more likely to be loyal, work hard for you, and value their jobs more.