Next week, BBB serving Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia will host our annual Torch Awards for Ethics luncheon, where we will announce the winners and finalists of our 2022 awards. companies under close coverage at the moment, we can share that one of the most common traits noted with each company’s submission is their focus on intertwining their organization’s values throughout their operation.
In honor of Small Business Week, your BBB offers tips for getting the most out of your company culture.
Company culture is how your employees interact with each other, including how they work together and the values they share. Your company’s culture is key to maximizing productivity, and to get the most out of that culture, you need to ensure that employee morale is high. This way they will be encouraged to do their best.
As a small business owner, you know culture is everything and you continually strive to establish a positive culture that aligns with your brand. If you’re looking for ways to make your company culture more effective, there are a few simple tricks you can try that will go a long way.
By implementing or refining the eight tips below, you can ensure that you consistently promote a positive company culture that your employees will thrive in:
1. Prioritize open communication. One of the most important steps in creating a positive company culture is ensuring that there is open communication between you and your staff members. This will allow you to talk to your employees about their performance and how they can improve, and it will also allow them to contact you if they have any issues. Your employees also need to be able to communicate and learn from each other to improve their skills.
You can use several different communication methods, such as email, text, or even face-to-face conversations, as long as all of your employees have an equal opportunity to participate in the discussion.
Without open communication, it can be difficult for you and your employees to understand what each person is responsible for, and it will be much more difficult to resolve any issues that arise, which will hurt business productivity.
2. Practice what you preach. Another key to creating the optimal corporate culture is to practice what you preach. If you want your employees to function in a certain way, you must follow the same values. By setting a good example for your employees, you will earn their respect and boost their morale.
It’s important to make sure your employees understand the expectations you have in place, and there’s no better way to set those expectations than by meeting them yourself.
3. Be inclusive. Your employees will not be able to thrive if they fear being judged by their co-workers. It is therefore vital that your corporate culture is inclusive, which fosters trust and respect. Your employees will then feel comfortable coming forward when they have a problem.
Being inclusive also means making an effort to understand the individual needs of your employees, which builds loyalty. When people feel heard, they will want to give their best. You will earn their respect and they will strive to earn yours.
4. Encourage collaboration. When you encourage collaboration, you create an atmosphere that allows your employees to share ideas. When everyone has a chance to provide input, you can make more informed decisions. Your employees will be more motivated to do their best and share their personal knowledge, which creates a corporate culture in which everyone is inspired to learn from each other.
5. Always be transparent. Being transparent eliminates misunderstandings. Your employees will better understand your expectations of them and what is happening in the company, which will improve morale.
Transparency also builds trust. When your employees know exactly what you do and why, they’ll be more likely to trust your decisions, which will improve your relationship with them.
6. Allow flexibility. Flexibility is an essential part of a productive and successful corporate culture. If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown business owners anything, it’s how vital workplace flexibility really is.
By prioritizing flexibility in the workplace, you’ll keep morale up and increase productivity. One way to do this is to encourage employees to work from home, if that model works for your business. You also need to have an effective management system in place to ensure that your employees work efficiently and effectively.
7. Create a sense of alignment. Being “employee-friendly” should be a practice that instills itself into your overall culture, as it develops a strong relationship with your employees. Beyond the basic aspects of offering benefits – eg 401(k), health benefits, etc. – to your employees, you also find a way to align their professional goals with the overall business objectives.
This will allow you to empower your employees and maintain the motivation necessary for business growth, as well as a beneficial situation for employees who want to achieve more as individuals as well.
8. Protect employee welfare. Finally, one of the most important aspects of a positive workplace culture is taking care of your employees. This will help them stay productive and healthy.
Giving employees a creative space where they can push to achieve the business goals you have in place while being careful not to limit them to siled aspects of their work will drive even more growth. This growth is not just about revenue, but about building trust across your entire business as a team.
Stay tuned for next week’s column where we’ll spotlight our Torch Award winners, finalists and final nominees.
Michele Mason is president of the Better Business Bureau in Chattanooga