Company Culture: 5 Steps for Every Small Business

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Company culture matters, and it’s more than just free stuff and social events. As modern workplaces continue to evolve, companies are shifting away from aspects that may have mattered to their staff decades ago, but do not apply anymore with a younger workforce. According to Forbes, one of the biggest motivating factors making company culture popular is that culture is talked about more frequently than ever as a perk and attractive factor in joining a company.

There are numerous aspects that great company culture has a positive impact on. Recruitment, employee loyalty, job satisfaction, collaboration, work performance and employee morale are a few very important parts of having a successful business. In order to achieve a great company culture for your small business, start with these five steps.

1. Define Your Desired Company Culture and Values

Begin by asking three questions:

  1. Why does our company do what it does?
  2. What do we believe?
  3. Where do we want to go with the company?

Free perks like snacks, ping pong tables, coffee, etc. will help you get by for a while, but employees want to know where the company is going and why they are working for you. These are the most basic questions to ask yourself as early as you can, in order to help define what you envision for your business. Without identifying and defining your culture, employees can become disengaged and move on. Lastly, it’s important to do more than just display your values on a wall. Ensure your values are part of your employee experiences every day, and identify what it will take to stay true to your vision and values.

2. Identify Your Current Culture and Whether Change Is Necessary

Company culture starts with the very first person; their beliefs and values dictate what will happen next. When you have a few employees, you can start to proactively make changes to the culture that currently exists. For example, if you are concerned about the motivation and energy level of your team, you will make a deliberate decision when hiring to select people who have the ability to motivate and have the energy level you’re looking for. This will help reshape the culture. Changing a company culture isn’t easy, but it will be worth it.

3. Identify or Hire Your People Person

Hiring the right personalities with the right backgrounds has a huge effect on how a company operates culturally. Ideally, you need a culture champion who is separate from your HR person. Hiring an expert who is trained in culture to help drive and cultivate what you are trying to create will help you identify if it’s going well or not. And although this person will help, it’s not just their responsibility. Developing a positive company culture is everyone’s priority and should always be a top strategic requirement.

4. Invest Time in Building Your Talent Brand, and Optimize Your Hiring Process

What is a talent brand? It’s what your employees think, feel and share about your business as their place to work. Your talent brand is powerful, and it has the ability to articulate your culture through many different channels. Using your culture and values to hire is a great way to help your potential employees know what they’re signing up for (and anticipate going in the same direction).

When it comes to recruiting and hiring, taking the time up front will help you identify the right person to reinforce your company’s culture. Many businesses hire for skill early on because of the need, and often don’t place enough importance on the culture aspect when prospecting. This can impact your business more than you would think. Below are four ways to make sure your process is set up to hire the right talent:

  1. Ensure candidates understand and appreciate your culture and values.
  2. Delegate the interview process and include different teams in your business.
  3. Prioritize attitude over skills and experience.
  4. Don’t hire the same type of person over and over again.

5. Continuously Reinforce Core Values

Think about programs and initiatives to put in place that continue to reinforce your company’s core values, such as awards to an employee who demonstrates them the best. Participating in volunteer projects allows employees a chance to help at an organization or charity of their choice. Lastly, remember the small examples of going above and beyond: send a care basket to an employee who has a new baby, or flowers for a death in the family. There is no playbook for these types of things. Knowing your organization, you will be able to identify what works best.

Finally, don’t forget to measure your results. This can be done through employee engagement surveys, referrals, turnover rates and employee ratings and review sites, such as Glassdoor. These initiatives will help you understand whether or not you’re on the right track.

Looking for more advice on managing your small business? Check out Incfile’s blog for tips and information, such as what to avoid when hiring employees or how to develop a sales team. If your business has grown big enough that you need help managing your annual reporting or other compliance documents, we can help with that too.

This article was originally published on the Incfile Blog.

Chris Keller

Chris Keller is a veteran the in business finance industry. Prior to starting his own business, he managed product lines at two Fortune 500 companies focusing on their Profit & Loss statements.

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