Many people look at company culture as something only startups and large organizations have to worry about. As long as you’re small, you don’t need to think about it too much right? That’s incorrect because company culture, if not steered in the right direction deliberately, has a way of being absorbed by observation.
If someone on your team cuts corners and you or management doesn’t deal with it then it’s assumed to be acceptable. It’s a dangerous precedent to set.
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We live in a world where prospective employees are in control. There are more options than ever and people switch jobs more often than ever. If your company culture is lacking then they’ll jump ship without a second glance. With the right company culture, you can attract better talent and deliver work you can be proud of.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to build the right company culture the first time around.
The first step is articulating your vision. It’s not enough to say you want a great company culture that attracts top talent. What does that culture look like? What are the things that are off-limits or taboo for your team? What kind of behaviors do you encourage?
In addition to the nitty-gritty questions that need to be answered, you should also answer the amorphous questions.
Answering these questions can help you define the areas of your culture that are lacking and what you’re doing correctly. Even if you’re in survival mode right now, it’s still important to define these things before you start scaling quickly. As they say, prevention is more important than cure.
Once you’ve gone through and answered the questions outlined above, coalesce them into core values of the organization. This isn’t a one and done thing but a process that’s constantly evolving.
After you know where you want to go, look at where you are. Taking the questions from above, also ask yourself whether your current team will able to get you to where you want to go? For example, if most people don’t put forth ideas on their own, is it because they’re not enterprising or is it because they’ve been overshadowed by specific people?
Here are a few action steps you can take when trying to assess your company culture
Take as much time as you need with this step so you have a clear idea of your current company culture. The results may not be what you want to see but that’s perfectly alright. Now you can make the necessary changes to get to where you want to be.
There is no progress without action. Action isn’t useful unless it’s following a plan that everyone can identify and get behind. When organizations try to make changes to an already established culture, they tend to follow a top-down approach. You or senior management decided on everything and then forces it on your employees.
If you have a small team, this may work but with a larger team, you’re bound to see pushback. People have come to accept their current situation and are often reluctant to change. Maybe the new direction won’t help them or maybe it’ll be a difficult transition.
For example, if the team responsible for managing your blog is bringing on questionable partners, they’ll push back against a new set of guidelines. If the sales team uses high-pressure tactics then your new culture may force them to retrain themselves.
Whatever the case, consider getting employee buy-in with your action plan. Let them make suggestions about the best way to implement the changes you want to roll out. Give them an opportunity to talk about specific milestones or rewards.
Only then should you finalize the action plan and start to roll it out. Even if you go through this process, know that there will be pushback from certain people. This is inevitable but stick to your guns. Eventually, the people who are fighting the changes will get on board or leave for other places.
Whether you’re using a service that can fill multiple staffing positions for you or you’re going it alone, it’s necessary to ensure you’re hiring the right people. Yes, you can trust your gut but eventually, you won’t be the only person hiring. It’s better to create a standardized set of processes from the beginning.
A simple checklist that takes the following things into consideration is more than enough to get you started. Over time, you can add and subtract elements from the checklist.
That’s it. This process doesn’t need to be complicated but, of course, you can make it hard. The most important thing is finding people who fit your culture and have the skills you need.
Company culture, whether you realize it or not, exists in your organization. The companies that tend to excel in the end are those that take deliberate steps to build the culture they want. This guide has outlined the steps you can take to ensure you put the right culture in place from the beginning.
Let me know what you think about company culture in the comments and don’t forget to share.