Building a company culture is usually never a stated goal of business. Nonetheless, the best companies in the world all have unique cultures, some of them actually quite famous. Google is well known for offering “brainstorming time,” and Facebook attracts people with its “everything on site” ethos (employees literally do not have to leave the Facebook campus for any of life’s essentials).
You may not have the money to build a culture like Facebook or Google. You can, however, build a culture based around the synergy and personality that your company naturally evokes. Let’s take a look at the core tenants of creating a productive, uplifting culture in your office.
What Makes A Company Culture
Each company will have its tweaks to the tips presented here, but there is one commonality in all company culture – it is NOT an executive decision. Culture comes from the bottom up. It may be legitimized through executive policy, but it is never pushed.
You may notice that your staff meets at a certain coffee shop before starting the day. Why not have that brand cater in the morning to get a few extra minutes of productivity? Perhaps water cooler conversation centers around a certain Netflix show. Maybe management suggests a Halloween party around that theme. Listening to and legitimizing what is already bubbling up from the office is a great way to create productive habits and give employees events to look forward to.
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Implementing Culture vs. Policy
Culture changes. Policy changes too, but not as often or as drastically. Changes in a company culture occur organically, and it is up to the management and executive staff to keep up. If an idea created excitement last year and does not this year, scrap it. Don’t argue or pine for the past.
Culture also changes based on the people who are in the office. Does your company have a high turnover rate? If so, then you can expect to see a culture that turns over as well. During these changes in personnel and personality, it is essential to recognize the difference between culture and policy. Quick culture changes make people happy. Quick policy changes make people mad.
How To Add To A Company Culture
The people in your office will naturally find their social leaders. These leaders may or may not coincide with the official hierarchy of the office. Your job as a manager or an executive is to recognize these social leaders just as much as you recognize your official titles. The best ideas for new culture will come from these leaders.
As you add to your company culture, you must also trim away the fat. For instance, break time cannot slowly expand into lunch, of course.
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Keeping Company Goals In Mind
Culture does not mean “fun, unprofessional stuff that takes away from productivity.” Your culture, when properly implemented, will surround your business goals like a soft blanket.
For instance, if your Millennial dev team prefers to work away from the rest of the company on beanbags around a circular table, give them this environment. They will all be in the same room working on the company’s projects – they will just be doing it in a culture they prefer.
Events And Awards
This can be tricky. In general, the younger the employee, the less they enjoy official titles and individualized recognition. If your employees are all Millennials and younger, you may want to employ official company events/award productions in an ironic way. Give away awards such as “Most Likely to Come in Late from Break” or “Coffee Queen of the Month.”
Older employees may respect this tradition a bit more. As with other aspects of culture, it is the job of management to listen to employees and respond accordingly.
Follow the tips above and keep your ear to the “street” (your employees). Build your company culture around a personalized representation of your employees, and you have the best chance at a productive success that will last.