Building a company culture for your small business is one of the most important things that you can do to ensure its success, and yet it is a strategy that is often overlooked by small business owners. Consider these six tips for building a successful company culture for your small business.
Create a Mission Statement. A mission statement may seem unnecessary or even trivial for your small business, but it can play a very important role by in creating a company culture by setting forth clearly and concisely the values that you want to drive your business. Take your time writing a mission statement and give it a great deal of thought. In particular, think about how you want your employees, customers, and vendors to view your business. Do you want your business to be known for its integrity, its customer service, its innovation and so forth? If so, say that in your mission statement.
Communicate Company Values to Employees. Be sure that every employee knows the company mission statement and understands the importance you place on the values it conveys. You might want to hang a copy of the mission statement in a prominent place in the office, give it premier placement on the company website, and even have it printed on business cards and stationery.
Personally Reflect Company Values. Having a mission statement and saying it is important are meaningless if you don't reflect the company values in your actions. If superior customer service is a company value, show that in how you treat customers every day. If you do, your employees will follow your lead and this value will become part of the company culture.
Reward Actions That Reflect Company Values. You can reinforce your company values and help to foster a solid company culture by being sure to reward behavior that is consistent with and supportive of those values. Whether it is verbal praise, a pat on the back, or a small bonus, acknowledgement that an employee is living the company values will communicate more clearly than anything else you can do how important these values are to you.
Enlist Employees in Decision Making When Possible. One mistake that many small business owners make is authoritarian decision making. While there certainly are decisions that only the owner can make, there are several reasons why taking into account employee feedback whenever you can may pay off for your small business.
First, in some instances, employees may have information or perspectives that you don't and, as a result, their input could help you make better informed decisions.
Second, when it comes to decisions that directly affect employees, such as those related to benefits programs, knowing employee preferences could actually result in more cost-effective decisions and higher employee morale.
And third, when employees believe that their opinions are valued, they are likely to feel more invested in the company culture and happier working there.
Work and Play Together. Create opportunities for employees to socialize as a group. Whether you order pizza for lunch for the entire office once a week, organize a company softball team, create a tradition for celebrating employee birthdays or employment anniversaries or come up with your own unique activity, finding ways to help employees relax together can help to create a greater sense of camaraderie and loyalty to the firm and strengthen your company culture.