Our last blog post explained the reasons why developing a vibrant business culture is essential for your brand. The positive effects of a healthy culture are extensive, while the impact of letting the culture of your company degrade can be very negative indeed. In our last post, we touched on the way to measure the cultural health of your company, so how do you do you enrich that culture if needed?
The first step is to ask yourself a couple of questions to get a sense of the “feel” you’d like your business to have:
- What characteristics do you want your company’s atmosphere to convey? Originality, respectfulness, acceptance, fun, etc.
- How can you echo you company values in its culture?
- Who regulates the flow of information? How and what’s distributed to the staff?
- How are employees currently rewarded?
- Does the organization give everyone a “voice?” Are employees asked to share their ideas and thoughts?
More questions than solutions may come up, so brainstorming with your co-workers is a great way to find creative answers. Here are several ideas to start with:
Suggestion/Thought box – Providing people with a way to share their thoughts, anonymously or not, helps make the culture of a company feel more open. You may learn some important things that need tweaking and may wish to bring them up in company wide meetings.
Empower employees – Give people ownership over their jobs by treating them like peers instead of peons. You can accomplish this by being more transparent; don’t just communicate when you have successes, tell them when things aren’t going perfectly. It will create a team full of mutual support.
Flexible hours – Giving people some flexibility to get their work done demonstrates confidence. Trusting them to manage themselves will lead them to respect you more.
Dress code – Nowadays it is rare that people have to dress in suits and ties all the time. Giving workers freedom to express themselves with their clothing is an easy way to make them feel accepted for who they are. To take this one step further, consider themed days: silly hat day, bright clothing day, 80’s day, etc. It’s astounding how important self-expression can be.
Celebrate – Your organization is the sum of everybody in it. Celebrate your team with group activities. For instance, cater lunch for everyone, have a movie or game day, or just throw a party. This can cause more communication in your team and promote collaboration.
For some added fun, here are a few things real companies do to improve their culture:
- Spontaneous Nerf gun wars
- Painting inspirational quotes on the walls
- Hitting a loud gong when there is a success to let the whole company know
- Foosball tournaments
- Lunchtime Yoga
- Lunchtime Crafting Club
- Monday Mad Libs, whoever wishes to contribute, does, and then the completed Mad Lib is emailed to the company