How to Build a Strong Company Culture

When a great business concept is born, its creator spends much of their time planning budgets and hiring employees.

They may even setup social media accounts to help spread the word on their product or service.

However, regardless of what niche the business happens to occupy, the one aspect that makes the business truly unique is its culture.

Workplace culture is defined as the unique style and approach of any given company. Culture impacts everything about a company, from its hiring practices to its level of employee engagement.

Granted, what works for one business may not work for another. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to creating the “perfect” company culture, but there are some factors that will foster a cohesive and productive one.

Setting Clear Roles & Goals

If it’s one thing that’s true in any workplace, it’s that employees like to feel that their contributions are valued. What can undermine this need very quickly is a manager who does not explicitly state what the employees’ objectives and respective jobs are.

It has been shown that employees who have a deep understanding of their role and how it contributes to the company’s bottom line are powerful motivators. When they know how significant their contribution is, no matter how small, it tends to spur employees into action.

Take a look at your own organization. Does everybody understand their role and how their specific tasks help achieve company objectives? If not, consider revising the current approach if your employees struggle with motivation or job role confusion.

Give Respect, Earn Respect

This ideal may be considered beating a dead horse, but there are still a large number of organizations that don’t practice it. Instead of shying away from employee discord, regardless of the situation, try handling it proactively.

This is especially true in organizations where attrition rates are high. Part of making an employee feel valued is listening objectively to their concerns and fostering an environment that makes them feel comfortable talking to you. They simply will not feel comfortable talking to someone that they don’t respect or feel respected by.

Some of the ways that employers can make their environment more conducive to communication include:

  • Build trust by assigning a task and trust that the employee to do it.
  • Be an attentive listener.
  • Practice mutual respect.

Even in an organization that historically lacks in this regard, it’s entirely possible to turn it around by simply being a respectful and empathetic human being. One of the worst aspects of a failing company is the complete lack of communication, so make sure that your company culture invites open communication through consistent mutual respect.

Acknowledge Achievements

All wins, whether big or small, need to be acknowledged. Part of gaining mutual respect and trust from your employees is to consistently inform them of the value of their contributions.

This doesn’t mean shooting off a generic compliment, however. In order for this to work, the acknowledgement needs to be genuine.

For example, if a hard goal for a team is set, they’ll need consistent feedback so that they know if they’re heading in the right direction. To provide the best quality of feedback possible, set small goals from the start of the project to the end goal and inform your team when those goals are met.

For this to be effective, ensure that the goals you set are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Further, it’s a good idea to have goal progress written on a chart or graph so that your team can monitor their progress. Make sure that progress is regularly updated and inform your team how their contributions are helping to reach the end goal. Doing so is a powerful motivational tool and keeps everyone informed real-time.

Know Your People

Part of a healthy work culture is the camaraderie that exists between both employees and managers. As a manager, getting to know your employees allows you to assess their strengths and weaknesses, as well as personality types. Some managers even have their employees take a personality test to learn more about them.

However, in the end, face-to-face communication is the best way to build relationships. Nonverbal communication doesn’t translate well through email or social media very well, and can result in seemingly endless message streams where no one really learns anything about anyone.

Through consistent communication (face-to-face when possible), you can get to learn a lot more about your employees, what motivates them, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Remember to foster an open environment and put them at ease to get the best information possible.

Communication is Key

In the end, what separates a strong company culture from a fractured one is the depth of communication that occurs. A stifling, uptight office environment hardly invites camaraderie, and its culture suffers as a result.

In contrast, a strong company culture has its roots in mutual respect and open communication, where everyone feels valued and knows where they stand.

(Photo by StartupStockPhotos / CC BY)

Robert Conrad is a former business student and manager with more than 10 years of experience. These days, he applies those skills towards mentoring at-risk youth and plays video games during his rare downtime. Robert can be reached on Twitter or Facebook.


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