In the early days of your start-up it can be tempting to focus on your strategy for growth – but without a clearly defined company culture, you risk limiting your business’s potential and damaging productivity.

Company culture represents your core values, identity and everything the brand stands for. It guides your employees and sends an important message to the outside world, which is why it’s essential to consider it at every step of your journey and ensure it can scale along with your company.

Have you ever considered how your employees’ happiness can affect your business’s productivity? It’s for this reason that more and more business leaders are focusing on company culture in order to improve engagement and enjoyment levels, and therefore boost productivity.

What you can do as a business owner

With almost 80% of Millennials seeking employment opportunities that represent a good cultural fit, you can’t afford to ignore getting your company culture right – and you won’t be alone – 87% of organisations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Define your values

Your culture will grow from your company’s values and long-term goals. It’s essential that you identify these from the very start as they will be the driving force of not only your culture but your company overall. They will help you steer your business, build your brand and gather the right team members.

  1. Lead don’t manage

Promoting a strong company culture within your business means setting a strong example for your employees – so lead by example and fully embrace the company’s values and goals. That said, a healthy company culture is also one where people feel like equals – so try to nurture an anti-hierarchal structure in which everyone is valued whenever you can.

 

  1. Focus on people
    As a business leader, your most important asset are your people. Surround yourself with a team that lives and breathes the company’s values and goals, and clearly explain the company culture throughout the recruitment process. And don’t stop talking following a new hire – focusing on personal development through regular reviews can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction levels and therefore productivity – 62% of employees agree that their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.

 

  1. Create a positive environment
    Creating a productivity-boosting company culture also means making physical changes to the workplace where necessary. Environment can have a direct impact on the happiness of an employee so consider desk and chair ergonomics, lighting and noise pollution, and providing varied spaces where people can work, hold meetings, take phone calls and enjoy some time out.

Why is company culture important?

– It can boost motivation
One word: absenteeism. Low engagement levels impact a team’s motivation and can result in reduced productivity and lost working hours due to sick days. Avoid this at all costs by ensuring people feel inspired by their day-to-day tasks and feel committed to the business’s values and goals. Remember, companies with employee engagement programmes achieve a 26% greater year-on-year increase in annual company revenue compared those who do not have formal programmes.

– It can boost health
Studies show that healthy employees are productive employees. Perks like free sight tests, yoga classes, reduced gym membership and weekly fruit baskets can all have an impact on people’s wellbeing. Place an emphasis on nutritious eating and regular exercise in your company culture by encouraging group activities and healthy lunches.

– It can save money
Hours lost to sick days and high employee turnover can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line. The more your employees want to come to work, and the more you invest in and appreciate their talent, the better off your business will be in the long run.

– It can highlight potential problems
Regularly checking in with individuals and teams as part of a strong company culture can help reveal any issues early on – it might be regarding a lack of communication or collaboration, or a project that has run into an unforeseen challenge. By putting an open and honest culture front and centre, you’ll know about the issue and can react to it before it becomes a problem.

Check out last week’s blog on how to keep on top of cashflow here.