reating a healthy small business culture should be on the top of your to-do list when starting a company. There’s a lot that goes into developing a positive and constructive environment for your employees. However, it’s very doable. It all begins with the founder(s) and their core values. Keep reading to find out how to create a healthy small business culture for you and your employees. A study from The National Bureau of Economic Research surveyed CEOs and CFOs of more than 1,300 organizations on business culture. About 85% of them believe that an unhealthy corporate culture leads to unethical behavior. Additionally, research from Deloitte Insights found that 82% of CEOs and HR leaders surveyed believe “culture is a potential competitive advantage” for a company. These statistics indicate just how essential an organization’s culture can be to its success and the ethics of its workers. Cultivating the right business culture is something that needs to happen early on. This is because it's more difficult to change the established way of doing things later down the line. You can add all sorts of perks and benefits to motivate employees, but this isn't enough. You need to have a deeper mission to retain good employees and expand your customer base. People want to do business with someone who has their best interests in mind and does the right thing when nobody's watching. And this all begins with creating a healthy culture in your small business.
Define Your Small Business’ Core Values
You need to define what your organization’s core values look like early on. As your company’s leader, you need to have a vision. And this vision begins with knowing what type of business you want to build. Many founders start their businesses to make money, but there needs to be a more profound mission. In other words, why should customers invest in your brand? What are you really selling them? To build a healthy small business culture, you will need to answer these questions.
Your employees will respond to the way you treat them, how you treat customers, and the regulations and policies you set in place. If you want your organization to foster integrity, hard work, and empathy, you will have to embody those values. You need to know why your business exists to attract employees who follow your values.
Find a “People Person” Early on
The great thing about running a small business is the fact that you can be involved with what goes on at a daily basis better than a corporate boss would. However, building a startup or small business also means you likely don’t have access to a full-fledged HR department. But fret not, it’s not HR’s place to define company culture. Instead, consider hiring a “people person” as early as possible.
This hire should be someone adept at handling all types of personalities. They serve as the social glue of your business, making sure every person’s voice is being heard. Share the type of company you’re trying to build with your people person, as they’ll play a key role in instilling your values into the team.
And make sure you hire someone who is a culture fit. Just because someone has experience in HR doesn’t mean they have the right personality and demeanor to keep up with your personnel and carry your vision forward.
Take a Collaborative Approach to Hiring
When it’s time to hire new employees, involve current employees into the conversation of who you should hire. Find prospects who have experience and values in line with your company’s, and make sure multiple employees get a say on what they like or don’t like about an employee. Remember, the person you hire will become part of your family, so it’s essential to determine that they’re a good fit.
Create an application process that has questions from several employees. Taking this approach will make sure your team is taking a unified approach to hiring someone. During the interview process, involve several of your current employees who ask different questions. You can do this by having several of these employees examine a prospect’s CV and share what they think of a candidate. This multi-pronged, collaborative approach to hiring can go a long way towards helping you build a healthy culture with like-minded individuals.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
We live in the digital age, which means it’s a great opportunity to use technology to our advantage. How much technology you add to your business varies from industry to industry. However, the right business tools can make life a lot easier for your employees, making for a healthier business culture. Plus, many of these tools are readily available and affordable.
You can improve your organization’s marketing efforts with social media, bolster your networking with LinkedIn, or use Google Docs to share documents and information easily. There are also plenty of online courses for little to no cost that can get your workers certified in relevant business skills--LinkedIn is a good resource for earning certifications. By providing these services to your workers, you can help them level up their ability, and eventually their role within your company.
Remember, your employees need to feel like they are making progress, both as individuals and as a unit. Acquiring new business skills can make your employees feel valued, help them evolve professionally, and is crucial to maintaining a happy and healthy small business culture.
Foster Trust in the Workplace
This one is simple--you need to win the trust of your employees. You need to be reliable, and you can do so by following through on your promises. Also, be transparent about your company’s plans, and let your workers know they can speak up if they have any concerns. You also need to show your employees you trust them. A lot of employees do their best work when their bosses and co-workers believe in their abilities.
In order to build mutual trust, get to know your workers. If you learn what motivates each employee, you can put them in a position to succeed and grow. Recognize what they’re good at and encourage them to expand their skill set. Doing so will help you you offer each worker something of value that goes beyond a paycheck and social stimulation. You create a culture of trust, support, and happiness.
It all starts with the groundwork you lay for your small business. Your vision gives shape to your values, which pave the way for the culture that will define your organization. It takes foresight, planning, and action to create a healthy business culture. And for this culture to stand the test of time, you need to keep your workers are motivated, happy, and valued.