Whether you are a small business owner or a manager of a large company, developing the right culture is critical for employee job satisfaction and productivity. If you create an environment your employees enjoy, not only will they be happier at work, they will work harder, be more successful and stay with the company longer.
Like anything worth doing, it takes some time and effort to develop the right culture. However, companies like Google, who provide wellness centres, sports complexes and donate $50 for every five hours an employee volunteers, prove that looking after your employees pays off in the long run.
This year, Google topped Fortune magazine’s “Best Company Work For” list for the fifth time. In the 16 years the company has been in operation, it has gone from a two person start up to an organisation with nearly 37,000 employees in 40 different countries. The link between a company’s culture and its growth is undeniable.
Here’s how you can develop your own “Google culture”:
1. Determine your ideal business culture.
What atmosphere or persona do you want your business to have? You are the leader and your employees are going to follow your lead. Even clients will determine if they want to work with you based on your employees’ attitude. Figure out how you want your employees to act and how you want your business to be portrayed. For example, an events company may want to their culture to be fun and energetic, while a law firm may want it to be structured and formal. By determining your ideal business culture, you’ll have more direction on how you want to build your business.
2. Ask the people around you for ideas.
Talk to your employees or other people associated with your business for ideas about your business culture. How do others see your business? If their feedback is not positive, ask them what they would do to improve it. Share your ideas and discuss them with others to see what they think. If you collaborate with other people, you’ll get a bigger picture of the culture that best fits your business.
3. Build your environment to support your business culture.
If you want to be different from the majority of companies, who want to squeeze as much out of their employees while investing in them as little as possible, encourage your employees to get active. This could mean paying for their gym membership or investing in a mini gym for your office, but it doesn’t have to cost you anything. It could be as simple as encouraging them to go outside to get some fresh air, sunshine and have a walk around the block.
In our office we have “squat time”, which means whenever the energy in the office is a bit flat, or someone wants to get up and move, they call out “Squats!” and the whole office joins in. Not only does this improve our fitness, it creates time for employees to interact on a social level and gives us a giggle! If your business values contribution, you may like spend some time volunteering for a charity. The joy your employees get from giving will inspire them to find other ways they can contribute at work and in the local community.
4. Have fun!
If you want to inject more fun into your workplace, you could invest in a games room like Google does; however, there are plenty of other simple and low cost ways to have more fun at work. For example, our team has “Wacky Wednesdays”, where we dress up and come to work in a silly outfit. We also have “Team Time” once a month, where we get together for a fun activity, such as laser tag or trampolining. Remember not to take your work (and life) so seriously… laughter is the best medicine and if its fun it gets done!
Your business culture acts like a magnet; it either attracts or repels your employees and clients. If you take the time to build an attractive culture, your business will stand out from the crowd and you will most certainly be rewarded for your efforts.