Establishing company culture is one of the most important steps a successful business can take. In today’s business world, it seems as if employee loyalty and the days of working at one company for your entire career are relics of the past. But, with a little culture, they don’t have to be.
According to Forbes’s “Six Reasons Your Best Employees Quit You,” some of the main reasons employees move on from a company are that they’re disengaged and unmotivated by the its vision. The solution, Forbes says, is that companies must “engage employees around a powerful mission and purpose.” The best way to attract and retain a successful, engaged team is by building a company culture they can believe and thrive in. Here are five steps to help you establish a culture that engages your team and breeds employee loyalty.
1. Define the Culture
As a business owner, the best time to define your company culture is as soon as possible. If you want to build a brand that consumers can believe in, then it starts with you and your employees. You have put blood, sweat, tears, and precious time into getting your company running – but why? Why does your company exist? What about your company makes you proud? How do you want customer and team members to view your company? You have to be able to answer these questions and communicate your vision to the rest of the world.
2. Teach Your Leadership the Culture
As the saying goes, “More is caught than taught.” Your team will always compare their actions to their leadership’s actions so it’s best to lead by example. If one of your leaders is known to show up late every day, then the message is sent to the team that it’s either okay to be late or that the rules don’t apply to leadership. If you want your team to arrive on time and ready to go, then this type of behavior will crush it. The fastest way to destroy your culture is to allow your leadership to deviate away from it and play by different rules. Unity is key in company culture!
3. Teach Your Team the Culture
Don’t assume that your team members will just pick up on the new culture. Explain to them how your company is different and take the time to answer their questions. The best way to do this is by creating an employee handbook that explains your brand’s vision and expectations. Establish weekly or biweekly team meetings where your team can get together, recite, and discuss your company’s mission and how each employee is working toward it. There should be no question what your brand’s vision is or how it applies to what you do.
4. Appoint a Leader of Culture
Is there a person on your team that truly believes in your company and has the potential to be a leader? They could be the perfect person to be your “Leader of Culture.” This frontline cultural ambassador will be responsible for leading the rest of the team in building and enhancing your work culture. While they can’t do it all on their own, they can be the driving force to get everyone on board. Celebrate this person and explain to the team why they are important.
5. Reward the Culture
Whatever is rewarded will be repeated. Management expert Ken Blanchard teaches that you should catch people while they’re doing something right. Take time to “walk around in the trenches” and make note of team members that are going out of their way to exemplify your brand’s vision and culture. When you see something good, reward it! These rewards don’t have to be about cash bonuses, but you should have a reward system in place. To get started, check out Entrepreneur’s article on “The Best Ways to Reward Employees.”