Every organization — no matter the size, age, location, or financial position — has a company culture. Whether that organization chooses to put a strong emphasis on it, is up to them. In today’s day and age, however, company culture has been making strong headlines, empowering organizations to taking a deeper interest in how they can use their company culture to their advantage and for their employees benefit. Essentially, company culture is the personality of a company. Some super small start ups may have a company culture that includes beer on tap in the office, working 12 p.m. – 2 a.m. hour days, and a casual dress code. Most likely, that embodies the overall personality of the people working there. On the other hand, you may have a gigantic financial institution that wears full suits everyday, have minimal distractions in the office, but have regular happy hours. Company culture varies and can be impacted by many things, but at the end of the day, a company’s culture is a key factor in attracting (and retaining) the right employees. So, how can you build company culture? Here are a few recommendations that have made us a certified Great Place to Work here at Avionos. Define your company culture and communicate it. Communication is KEY! If you promise beer on tap and half days every Friday, but know you won’t follow through, don’t use it as a ploy to get employees through the door! They will sooner or later find out the truth and be far more upset when they realized they were lied too. Plus, you may be attracting the wrong type of employee if that’s what they find important in a job role. Up front, be sure to define what your realistic company values will look like. At Avionos, our C.O.R.E. Philosophy (Curious, Open, Responsive, Enthusiastic) can be found on the walls in our office as a reminder to employees. Keeping these values top of mind encourages us to embody company culture every day.
It’s about the little things.
Sometimes, it’s the little things in life that mean the most. Ideally, we would all buy our employees a new Lamborghini every time they closed a big deal, but in keeping our culture realistic, we know that’s probably not going to happen. What could happen, though, is a simple thank you note, an email shout out to the team, or perhaps taking them out for a cup of coffee. Everybody wants to feel recognized, special, and important. It doesn’t have to take much, but it can make all the difference in a person’s attitude.
Encourage social connections.
There’s a reason happy hours and corporate outings are so popular — they encourage social connections! Your employees are people and people have complex emotions who need social interactions.. So, while they may be buried at their cubicle for 40+ hours a week, be sure to help them stay sane and balanced by building in ways to cultivate social contact. This can include lunch and learns, holiday parties, coffee break chats, intramural sports teams, seasonal outings, and more. Seriously, don’t you want a chance to talk about something other than the latest sales pitch, too?
Sounds simple enough, but listening can be difficult — especially if you’re the boss. Again, employees are humans, and humans like to talk. If they aren’t happy, odds are their body language, facial expressions, and the gossip they share with their cubicle mate will make it obvious. The key is to not only watch out and listen for it, but to also make improvements where fitting. Of course, employees are always going to be unhappy about certain things, but if you hear your staff member making suggestions for better snacks in the office, it might not hurt you to make a Target run.
In today’s society, meaning and purpose cross everyone’s mind. Am I fulfilling my purpose? Is this where I am meant to be? It may sound cliche, but I’m sure you can think back to a time where those thoughts crossed your own mind, too. In terms of your company’s culture, helping ease those thoughts can create major gain. For example, think about your company’s social well being. Do you provide volunteer opportunities? Encourage fundraising for good causes? Get involved with organizations in your area? Consider bringing in some high school students for a mentorship program, or volunteering at a local nursing home for half a day. Not only will this give your employees a chance to bond, but it’s also good for society! Each company is different, and finding the right “personality” may take some trial and error. As long as you’re putting forth the effort, your company culture is sure to follow.