One of the best things modern workplaces invest in is positive company culture.
Touted by every magazine, website, HR rep, brochure and Ted Talk speaker, its almost become a cliche, but actually creating one is not easy
Good company culture means you create a space where people like to work, a place where they feel safe and welcome. As with many good things, it’s easier said than done. In the article below you can find our quick guide that can help you develop your office into a space that breeds productivity, motivation, and warmth
Figure out what your values are
Strong company culture does not necessarily mean playing pinball all day, lounging in bean bags, and going out drinking with your boss every other night
It's about establishing core positive values, sharing them with people who feel the same, and actually implementing them. In other words, you cant even start doing this without figuring out what you value most
Sit down, and just brainstorm. What do you want your office to look like? What kind of work environment do you want to build, how do you want people to feel. Do you want an office that is all about go-getters, people relying on adrenaline, long hours, high-risks, strong results? Or would you rather have a team of artists, of people focusing primarily on perfection, no matter how long it takes,
Of course, don’t forget about the realities of your field. Some industries might handle lax deadlines, while others are entirely dependant on them. Certain areas have more room for error, others stand on the shoulders of perfectionists.
Make peoples jobs easier
Now, this doesn’t mean you should let your people slack off. We are not talking about lowering standards here. Instead, we suggest you help people focus on their tasks, without them becoming overwhelmed by external factors. So - make their jobs easier.
The first thing you want to do is invest in the right tools. Having old computers that take (what seems like) hours to start up, uncomfortable chairs, dangerous equipment, all of this creates unnecessary stress and makes even the most basic of tasks harder.
Invest in good tools - you want better computers, buy the latest software, get a centralized employee app for communication, rent out a nice office and purchase comfy chairs. You should also learn how to communicate more effectively. Think about how you assign tasks, how you share your ideas and projects. Learn to get to the point quickly, to not let people get bogged down in unnecessary minutia. Ambiguity and uncertainty breed resentment and stresses people out.
Your workers might also see you as cheap, or lazy, or simply might trust you less due to your poor communication skills if you don’t take the above into consideration.
Get the right people
All of the items on this list simply cannot work if you don’t get the right people on board. If they don’t align with your values, with your company culture (or how you want it to develop), you will not be able to establish the culture you want.
Keep an eye on the hiring process. Talk to everybody, maybe even create a survey. You can’t force people to care about something, hiring the wrong person for your company is a mistake right from the get-go. An employee who doesn’t fit in will drag others with them.
Feedback, feedback, feedback
There is no way to know if this is working without speaking to your people. Maybe they are annoyed by constant team-building sessions, and would rather have an office party. Perhaps they want you to change up caterers for office lunches. They might prefer you invest in new computers instead of getting new chairs. The only way you can figure this out is to ask.
People need to understand that feedback will always be accepted and respected. You can guide people into giving you information better, but you should always respect it. Maybe dedicate an hour or two a week, on specific days, dedicated solely to conversations about the office itself. These meetings shouldn’t revolve around any business talk, it should only focus on making your employees’ lives better.
Cultivate growth and warmth
You need to create room for people to share their grievances, their issues, and their ideas. Sure, you probably got an HR rep, but that’s the bare minimum. Talk to your people, let them feel they are heard. You might get surprised by their responses and plans. Having people be closed enough, afraid to share their grievances and suggestions means you’re missing out on potentially essential solutions and developments.
Furthermore, a happy workplace is a productive workplace. Show people you care. Remember birthdays and important moments. Buy lunch from time to time, organize meetups and team building sessions.
On the flip side, have zero tolerance for sexism and racism. Every religion, race, and creed needs to be respected. Organize consultations and seminars, hand out handbooks, and remember to lead by example.
Creating a rock-solid company culture is not easy. There are many challenges you need to face. Motivating people, investing in the proper equipment, dealing with feedback, gathering high-quality talent - all of these issues need to be not only solved but embraced.
If all of this is too much, start small and remember just how beneficial this is. A positive work environment means greater productivity, stronger efficiency, and in general, makes your employess’ lives, and yours, much more fun.