Entrepreneurship offers many benefits – the chance to pursue your passions, new challenges to tackle that you never would have explored in your previous role, relative autonomy in your work habits and a more desirable work-life balance. However, perhaps the best aspect of starting your own small business is being able to create the type of company culture you’ve always wanted. In every previous job, you likely entered into a role at a well-established and long-standing company with its own set ways of doing things. Company culture can encompass every aspect of a business’ operations, from how meetings are run and how employees dress, to the food options available and what types of decorations cover the walls of your office. Each of these individual aspects can have a substantial influence on the success or failure of a company. Employee productivity and morale are two areas in particular that rise and fall depending on what type of company culture has been established. As the founder of the company, you will doubtless play a huge role in determining what type of culture is ideal and the best practices for managing your small business. Here are some tips on how to create the ideal company culture.
Be clear about what you stand for
The first step in creating the company culture you want is to be clear in communicating exactly what type of culture you want. While this might seem obvious, it is also an often overlooked step. This means more than just printing and publicizing a mission statement, according to Forbes Magazine. Your dream and company culture should extend beyond your company’s financial interests to touch on what kind of impact you want to have on the community at large, how you want your employees to feel about working there and what you want the public perception of your small business to be like. Additionally, clear and open communication is often a desirable asset in any company, so get the ball rolling by being crystal clear about your goals and principles.
Flex your flexibility
As employees become more and more busy with every aspect of their lives today, flexibility has become one of the most desired traits of any company. Employees often cite maintaining a reasonable work-life balance as one of their top priorities. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, offering your workers this type of flexibility and autonomy can go a long way toward not only attracting employees but also retaining existing ones and developing general widespread loyalty.
One of the most common ways to demonstrate your flexibility is allowing your employees to work from home a certain number of days each month. With the proliferation of smartphones, virtual private network connections and webconferencing, working from home is not the drain on productivity that it was once considered to be. In fact, some workers actually benefit from working at home, saving on their commutes while also being able to take care of important errands, like looking after kids or going to the post office.
No worker will enjoy having an adversarial or authoritative relationship with their manager, or having a boss that’s constantly looking over their shoulder. However, workers do appreciate having a manager who always has his or her door open. Promoting accessibility at your company can drive workers to develop closer and more meaningful professional and personal relationships at all levels. This is not only a boost for company morale, but can also help foster more innovation and better organization. If all ideas are welcome at your desk at any time, employees will take it upon themselves to try and better the company.
Give them a piece of the pie
As mentioned previously, the best employees are those who are not just doing their jobs, but who actively attempt to improve the company at all levels whenever possible. Workers will be that much more likely to contribute to the overall wellbeing of the company if they feel they have something concrete invested in it. Consider introducing a profit-sharing program, whereby employees get rewarded if the company does well. This incentive-laden program will dangle an appealing carrot in front of workers, spurring them to continue giving their all to the company. The literal sense of ownership of the company will also foster increased responsibility in employees at all levels, which can take a significant load off your back. A self-policing and self-monitoring system of checks and balances will result in more mature, innovative and exceptional employees who are happy to be a part of this great culture.
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