Increase Your Company’s Cool Factor

It seems everyone is talking about what it takes to attract and retain top talent. Business owners recognize that what saves an organization the most money in the long run is getting the right people in the rights seats and keeping turnover rates low. Organizations try to obtain a competitive edge by implementing corporate strategies, innovative technologies, higher salaries and creative marketing endeavors, but in today’s ever evolving landscape, that competitive edge does not last long. The question is, what can you do long term to be a more magnetic company? The answer is simple: create a great company culture.

Companies with cultures that are adaptive and aligned with the company’s core values and business goals out perform their competitors, retain their employees and attract top level applicants. Company culture is constantly changing. Employers have to be cognizant of this change and be able to embrace the organic growth that culture requires. Great company culture doesn’t just happen. It takes the same planning and strategy that you used to build your business.

Here are 8 steps can you put in place to help you build a great culture:

1. Get Organized
First, take a look at your organizational chart of your company.  It is very simple. A company cannot succeed without clients, and happy clients lead to more clients.  Who in your company spends the most time taking to your clients? How you treat those employees directly impacts their client interaction.

2. Create Values 
Create core values for your company and use these values as a compass to always navigate your employees towards the same common goals.  No one can tell you what the core values for your organization should be.  Only your organization can determine what is important to them and what traits will help them succeed.

3. Communicate
Communication and an open environment are key to allowing employees to thrive.  Do your employees enjoy what they do? Can they be open with co-workers? Do you have real and open discussions?  This may sound cliché, but an employer who has great communication skills, will inevitably always have more satisfied employees. 

4. Create Leadership 
A strong leadership team is paramount to an organization’s success. It is all about clarity and transparency.  You need to build a strong leadership team, create clarity with your employees, over communicate that clarity and constantly work to reinforce it.

5. Find People Who Complement Each Other 
No, I didn’t say “compliment” each other, although we can all use some nice praise sometimes!  I mean that build a group of people that each have the qualities another lacks.  Match introverts with extroverts, risk takers with conservatives.  Identify each member’s strengths and weaknesses and pair them with someone who can bring that quality out in them. Diverse perspectives with a common goal and values create a well-rounded, collaborative team.

6. Build Teams and Have Meetings
Building teams helps empower employees and allows them to collaborate to share ideas and creativity. Putting a team together is just a first step. You need to ensure that each member of the team are working with their strengths and all voices are heard.  Varying communication methods may assist those who are more introverted. Having regular scheduled meetings are beneficial to allow a venue for open communication, idea sharing and making everyone feel like a member of the “team”.  Keep a regular schedule, establish agendas and remember, it’s OK to have fun!!

7. Have Fun, Be Flexible
Sure, you are running a business, but having a little fun can go a long way.  Granted, your level of fun greatly depends on the type of company you are.  A software company can be a little more silly at times than a doctor’s office. I am not saying that you need to have beach balls bopped around all day, or beer on tap in the breakroom, but how about half-day summer Fridays, or spontaneous ice cream socials? Today’s workforce is changing. Millennials working all day on their phones and tablets simply work differently than those baby boomers of the past. Perhaps lightening up your stringent work hours allowing a more flexible schedule? Allowing employees to change up their hours, while not interfering with their workload goes a long way towards employee satisfaction.

8. Measure and Track it
Don’t assume all is well and your employees are happy. Use tools such as surveys, exit interviews and performance reviews to keep ahead of any problems. Look for simple signs of happiness and satisfaction such as smiling, showing up on time, friendly, casual relationships between co-workers, participation in after hour events. Are your employees cleaning up after themselves? Being responsible with supplies? Are energized? All signs of a happy, healthy work place.

Company culture is a strategy.  Probably the most important strategy you will have as an organization.  I will leave you with three rules to live by to nourish and help grow your company’s culture. First, be the boss that you would want to work for.  Second, find the best in people and build on that and third, always focus on the positive, and manage the negative.

Kristopher Powell, CEO/President HRPro/BenePro