Company culture – it seems that every article and tweet nowadays is about this topic. Company culture impacts everything from employee retention to business results and more (for further reference see our previous blog). Having a successful work environment plays a critical role in today’s work economy, regardless of the industry. Avoiding these top mistakes can set your company up for success.
1. Trying to Recreate Another Company’s Culture
We have to start off with a warning: do not try to be like any other company out there. Your company is unique, and that’s why you are in business. Embrace what your company stands for, the values it was built on, and what your employees and work emphasize. You simply cannot expect to have a strong, successful, fun, engaging or retaining culture if you try to copy others. While certain elements are naturally going to be found in every successful work culture, make sure you’re creating one specific to YOUR business, not someone else’s. If you’re unsure where to start, do a branding exercise with your employees, see what ideas they come up with, what values they think the company embodies, and build from there.
2. Not Hiring the Right Fit
Just as you must build a company culture that truly represents your company and your employees, you also must ensure that when hiring for new ones, you consider how they will fit into your existing culture. The wrong fit can have negative effects on your team and company morale, ultimately costing time, money and momentum. Make sure the cultural aspect plays a large part in the interview process. If in doubt, paying for a day or two of shadowing before deciding to hire can allow the potential new hire to meet existing employees, as well as provide you the chance to observe how they interact. A little more investment in finding the right fit up front provides much more value in the long run.
3. Do As I Say, Not As I Do
A pitfall for many companies is the incongruity between what is communicated and what is actually done. This holds true for many areas of business, but it is especially critical to lead by example when it comes to culture. Leaders who actively promote and participate in a healthy work environment make a lasting impact. Don’t just say what matters, set the example. Be genuine, show real interest in your employees, encourage fun if work is completed, find a quirk that is characteristic of YOUR company – whatever that is, make it happen. In the end, your employees will feel the value you place in them and that can make a world of the difference in your bottom line.
While these might seem like obvious things, many companies overlook them, seeming to think culture will just magically happen. Don’t be one of those. Instead, take the time to make your company culture unique to you; your employees and business will thank you.