How to Cultivate Company Culture
When thinking about how to create a positive company culture, fantasies of slides leading from floor to floor or private sleep pods may come to mind. Kitchens stocked full of free food for employees, or inspirational quotes on the side of edgy architecture. Silicon Valley leads the way for company expectations, and over time, “company culture” has come to be associated with aesthetic buildings and fun amenities.
However, the color of the letters on your inspirational quote board doesn’t matter if people don’t like coming to work.
When building a company, there are a variety of primary ingredients that must be added in order to create something great: good work, good people, and a good culture connecting them. This includes the way the office makes employees feel when they walk through the doors, and what employees take away with them each day when they go home. Company culture is impacted by every person on the team–from the CEO to the newest hire. So, it’s the job of every person on the team to make the office somewhere employees want to be.
While every company is unique, here are a few pro tips on how to ensure your company culture is one to be proud of.
Remove Traditional Hierarchies
If you were to have a question for your boss, which would be more efficient: asking your boss, or asking your team leader to ask the senior representative to ask the vice president to ask the boss?
Yeah, one of these things is not like the other.
While having a hierarchy in terms of sharing tasks and dividing work is helpful, it is bound to decrease productivity in terms of communicating as a team. Moreover, companies with strict hierarchies will be more likely to form mini cliques within each level, as employees feel they are restricted to spending time with those in their same position and cannot branch out. And so continues the cycle: people feeling left out and grouping together, not seeing the need to reach out to others, who then group up…
Like we said before: some hierarchies are helpful and assist in divvying up the work. It’s good to have oversight and guidance each step of the way. But socially, hierarchies are a way of assuring that your company culture remains divided. Encourage people to interact with those they wouldn’t on an average work day, and provide opportunities for them to get to know one another.
Good Attitude Before Good Food
Listen: everyone loves snacks, it’s true. That being said, it doesn’t matter how sweet the snacks are in your office, if the attitudes of the people are rotten.
Some companies are able to treat their employees to office chefs and company cars, but for most businesses, that’s not a reality. Still, the experience of a business with a personal chef and one without have just the same capability when it comes to building a positive company culture.
As they say, “misery loves company”–and that really applies to the workplace. If you have one person who gossips, or talks bad about their coworkers, it spreads. There’s just no way around it. The best way to combat this is to foster a positive attitude from everyone on the team.
Having a positive and welcoming atmosphere leads to better work, better ideas, and better collaboration. People are able to pick up on the unspoken feeling of an office, and that will impact how they interact as well.
Giving Time to Adjust
When someone new joins the team, it’s important to welcome them with open arms and to make space for all the contributions they can add to your company. That being said, welcoming a new employee isn’t a one-and-done deal; it’s an ongoing project that requires everyone’s participation.
Here at InnoVision, we believe that it takes a while for a person to become integrated into a company. This means that when we are training a new team member on how to use a new computer system, the layout of the building or even other people’s names, it’s important to be patient and helpful. There’s no shame in the learning game, and it’s vital that new team members feel that they are in an environment that fosters growth.
Perhaps your new team member sends a lot of emails–a lot of emails. That’s okay! That just means that they care, they want to learn, and that they’re dedicated to being a part of the team.
Sharing is Caring
Being a team means being a team and all that comes with it. Simply put, people working together to jointly overcome obstacles are more likely to do so successfully. A positive company culture means sharing in the successes just as much as sharing in the challenges.
Walls are good for keeping the cold air outside the building–but not so useful when they’re put up between coworkers.
When a project doesn’t quite pan out the way everyone was hoping, it can come easily to point fingers to shrug off blame. But just as everyone on the team deserves to celebrate a success, everyone on the team should share the weight of the challenges the office may face to tackle them. People feeling singled out are far more likely to feel uncomfortable in the office and therefore more likely to reciprocate that uncomfortable feeling.
Each New Team Member is a New Chance
Each new person who joins the team is a part of the future of the company–and they must be treated as such. While not everyone is skilled at making new friends on the playground, it’s not a challenge to extend an invitation to your game of four-square.
But, really, analogies aside: each new team member is a new chance to create the company culture of your dreams. Treating others how you want to be treated is step one. Embracing people when they come in and extending that warm mentality will continue along as the next new people come in, and so on.
Work Hard, Play Hard
When you’re sitting at your desk and working on a project, it’s important that you’re putting your whole effort into what you’re doing. If you’re going to do something, do it all the way.
That being said, it’s equally as important to give time to your employees to be people too. Doctor’s appointments, parent/teacher conferences, birthdays, and everything in-between are important because they’re a part of being a team player.
Work and play can also mix, to an extent. Here at InnoVision, we have had a variety of fun events–rock, paper, scissors tournaments, scavenger hunts, photography contests, etc.–and each one has provided an opportunity for the team to take a breather from their work as well as to spend time together and to get to know each other as people.
To learn more about InnoVision Marketing Group, contact us today.
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