Creating A Welcoming Company Culture
We know that today people are not just looking for a well-paid job from 9 to 6. They are also looking for a place where they can truly enjoy working. It was about a decade ago that the ‘traditional’ working environment became outdated; nowadays, one of the matters that entrepreneurs cannot overlook is how to create a conscious and welcoming company culture.
You might be setting up your own business from zero or transitioning into a new setting with new team members; in either case, you need a strong company culture for the long run.
Why is having a precise company culture so important?
As you know, startup life is never without its up and downs. Thus, a welcoming company culture will help your firm survive through harder times with greater ease! The company culture directly affects the communication of your co-workers, as well as their performance and general motivation. So, you need to make sure the company culture that you are trying to create fits the nature of your firm perfectly. If you come up with a fitting model, a more efficient and happy working environment is guaranteed! But, what do you actually need to do when creating a welcoming company culture?
1. Address the topic head on!
There are a few things to consider on the way to creating a welcoming company culture. The first one is, of course, never to postpone your plans to get started with creating your own company culture.
Otherwise, you might face real problems once you grow to the next stage and move on to become middle-sized. You see this problem more distinctly with companies that are institutionalizing relatively fast. If newcomers are not motivated properly or do not know what to expect, this will result in a disconnection between old and new co-workers. What’s more is, you might encounter problems with your employees yourself, as they will not know how to approach you.
Of course, as the boss, you can force-direct your own relationships in the way that you want to, but having a general understanding of how to approach each other will help avoid such confrontations.
Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company – Brian Kristofek, President and CEO of Upshot
2. Keep everyone in the loop
Prepare materials informing co-workers of your company culture goals and plans. It might be harder for you to communicate your expectations to your team members once you start growing, so try to create a booklet or a slideshow explaining new members how you do business here and what they can expect. This will help accelerate their integration process and also put their minds at ease.
3. Have someone watching over everyone
A strong company culture means continuous efforts to sustaining a certain type of interaction. This is, of course, not a one-person-job and everyone in the company must pitch in with their own efforts – but you will definitely need someone keeping an eye on the general mood and coming up with ideas and solutions where necessary. Team activities or heart-to-heart conversations; whatever is needed at that time!
4. Get to know your people for real
We cannot advise you often enough to make a special effort to getting to know your team on a personal level. You spend more time with them in a day than your social circle, so it is crucial that you feel comfortable around each other and know that you will not be ‘hung out to dry’ if something goes wrong. Having an easily approachable boss will decrease the amount of problems you encounter and also increase the motivation of everyone to openly share and solve problems together.
5. Advocate for your team no matter what
Showing that you have their back on all matters against 3rd parties is the best way to boost confidence in your co-workers. A problem-free business life is far from being achieved by anyone, and mistakes will of course cause you money or job loss. Nevertheless, you have to take this as it comes. Watch out on how you react when your team members bring it up. Your reaction is everything to them in deciding what they shall do the next time such a problem occurs. You will set the roots for a trust-based relationship!
6. Pick your co-workers carefully
Be careful, not everyone is fit for the kind of environment you want to promote. You need to see if candidates have the potential to adjust to the way your team works. Identify your general characteristics as a company and compare them to the personal traits of each candidate.
Let’s say that you receive an application from someone who seems to be a perfect fit for the position in terms of experience and qualifications. However, in the interview, you identify a couple of ‘red flags’ that indicate that this person may in fact be a difficult team player. It is worth taking the time to openly question the candidate then and there about the way in which they envision working within your team. Their answers will likely provide you with insight into their ability to share tasks, receive instructions and collaborate with people from different backgrounds.
Shaping your culture is more than half done when you hire your team. – Jessica Herrin, Founder of Stella & Dot
7. It’s not MY company culture but OUR company culture!
You might be setting up your own company, but you will be running it with a team. So, you need to characterize your company culture to meet everyone’s needs and expectations. This way you will not have to impose anything on any of your team members to the extent that they are uncomfortable to play along. Collaboratively creating your environment as a team is the best way to ensure that your business runs smoothly.
Do not forget that we are social creatures. Working from 9 to 6 everyday without breaks is not the way to ensure efficiency. Search inspiration in personal connections and support; an outlet to be able to keep working at a certain pace. Corporate firms who make the mistake of overlooking this aspect of ‘work-life balance’ often end up with co-workers who pretend to work on their stations when the boss is passing by, but retreat to completing personal tasks on the clock. Communication is key – so be sure to continuously touch base with your team to ensure that everybody is not only coping, but flourishing.
Happy team building!