Steps for Small-Business Owners to Foster a Strong Company Culture

by Jody Ordioni

Steps for Small-Business Owners to Foster a Strong Company Culture

The market is ripe with people looking for job opportunities today. If you are a small business looking to fill vacant positions, it is a great time to be working. Prospective employees, these days, look beyond salary packages. Your company can outperform others, only if you make work enjoyable for the employees. You can invest in the culture of the company to attract talented employees.

Define the Values and Culture of Your Company

Free perks might hold the interest of employees for some time, but ultimately, you'll have to answer important questions, such as what the direction of the company is and where are they headed professionally. Without a defined culture and values, the employees can feel disenchanted and get derailed. Your company values should be unique and must be incorporated into the very fabric of the company. Define the culture and then stick with it, ensuring that your employees also follow the same values.

Introduce Changes to Culture Whenever Necessary

Small businesses usually work with fewer employees, who over time, end up becoming a close-knit community. The values of the first few employees generally set the culture of the company. As owners, it becomes your job to proactively make changes whenever necessary. For example, if productivity is not as high as it could be, then perhaps hire more active employees or diversify the employee pool if there is a lack of differing opinions. Small businesses are intimately influenced by the Board as well, so it can be a good idea to invest in Board culture as well.

Hire Someone to Manage People

This role is not only limited to HR or a manager, rather this post can be seen as a people's person. Someone who can influence the culture positively and help to bind it by creating a good working background should be identified or hired. However, the responsibility to drive culture should not rest on the shoulders of this one person only. Culture is cultivated by the effort of each employee. In a small business especially, culture has to be built meaningfully. All socializing activities should serve a broader purpose of strengthening the culture.

Building Your Talent Brand

Talent brand can be understood in terms of how your employees feel and think about your company. Candidates should not be treated passively, rather, you should make an effort to connect with them and allow them to gauge an understanding of your company. Your employees have the right to know what exactly they are signing up for, in terms of the work environment. Your employees should build upon your culture and enhance it. They should understand the vision of the company clearly. If both the company and the employees work in tandem, then they can move in the same direction.

Optimizing the Hiring Process to Bring in the Right Ones

Hiring is a daunting process for anyone, however, for small businesses, it can be the difference between sustaining the company or going under. Your early hires can make or break the company culture in a tangible manner. While skilled employees are needed by small businesses, the importance of the right fit for culture cannot be overlooked. While looking for culture-fit employees, do not go for the exact copies of yourself. Rather, hire people who bring in diverse opinions but still resonate with the core values of your company.

Reinforcing your Core Values

To let your culture thrive, it is imperative to reiterate the core values time and again. Having initiatives and plans that highlight your core values is a good idea. However, you don't have to go all out or build expensive reward systems for your employees, considering small businesses work on a limited budget. Small gestures can go a long way. Sending flowers to your employees on their birthdays or anniversaries or booking an Uber for someone in a bind, contributes to your culture as well. While these things might not be in any handbook, they will surely help to deepen the company culture.

The Bottom Line

Company culture is a great way to retain and attract talented employees. Yet, it can be difficult to go toe-to-toe with bigger corporations that have thousands of employees. You can still build a meaningful culture that contributes to your growth, if you stick to your core values, uncompromisingly.

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