Are You Building An Inviting Company Culture?
by Kurtis Blackburn
Just like schools, countries or even groups of friends, the workplace thrives on culture. Whether or not that is a productive, uplifting culture falls to you. A lack of culture in the workplace can leave your employees feeling alone, unvalued and unappreciated. It’s one of the quickest ways to lose dedicated employees, and it even makes it harder to attract top talent. In short, lack of workplace culture can put you on the fast track to failure. So how does one go about creating a positive, uplifting culture in the workplace?
Lets start by taking a look at some companies that have it down to a science. With locations in Chicago, Kansas City, and Pheonix, “The Nerdery” has become one of the fastest growing companies in the country. At only 12 years old, the Nerdery has become incredibly successful in a very short amount of time. They believe that what sets them apart is the culture they have created. And their many awards can attest to that fact, as they are regularly awarded “Best Place To Work” from both the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, just to name a few.
The company itself was started by 3 self proclaimed ‘Nerds”. They wanted a place that they themselves would love to work. They were tired of waiting for someone else to do it, so they went out and created it themselves. They strive to make their workplace culture as inviting, and enjoyable as possible. Encouraging employees to be themselves. Since that time the company has all but exploded! They are bringing in more and more top talent every day, and, more importantly, keeping it with their interesting and dynamic work culture.
They wanted a place that they themselves would love to work.
So what is it that really makes a companies culture? There are many things, but lets start at the beginning, bringing on new employees, and that starts with your job ad. Most often a job ad is the very first interaction a potential employee has with your company and your culture. With the right job ad, title, and description you can give them an idea of the type of culture your company has, which in turn gives them the opportunity to decide if thats the kind of culture they want to be a part of. If you’ve given them a small window into your culture, then they can decide if thats the kind of culture they want to be a part of, and more importantly, contribute to. This is the first, and easiest way to begin effecting your established company culture with a new hire. So, they have decided that the culture is something they want to be a part of. What comes next?
When a job applicant is looking to start with you, it is your job to be asking the right questions. Will this person add a new interesting work dynamic to my team? Can some new skill be learned through training? Asking yourself these questions when deciding on an applicant is your first chance to start effecting your work place culture in a positive manner. Ultimately, avoiding a singular mindset is crucial. If you are looking for one very specific quality or skill, your company will suffer. Sure, someone may come in with a shining resume and great experience, but are they the right fit for your company? Would you hire a lawyer for a daycare? Sure, they have schooling and work experience, but would they really be the right fit in that position? It’s up to you to make sure you are not doing a dis-service to either your company or the interviewee.
So lets say you hire someone you feel would be a great fit for your workplace culture, what comes next? How do you continue to tend and nurture that employee to positively impact your established culture? Well, the answer is both simple and complex. You must continue to make them feel valued, like they are part of a team. The answer itself is simple, but the execution can be a bit of a puzzler.
We’ve all heard of Google, and chances are we use it every day, sometimes multiple times. But did you know that Google has a very simple policy “ We are a dog company”. For awhile now Google employees are encouraged to bring their furry friends to work with them. And since its inclusion, the four legged friends have positively effected the morale of Google employees, improved productivity, and they are not the only company to be doing this. More and more people are realizing that having a four legged friend in the office is an incredible way to lift the spirits of your employees. This article, from CNBC lists 10 companies that will allow mans best friend in the office. This goes to show that more and more companies are taking notice. Now, this may be an extreme example, but the message is still the same. Encouraging employees to be themselves, and striving to improve the quality of office life will almost always give your employees the drive to work harder. After all, who would want to lose a job where you could take your dog to work with you? Making an office a great place to work will put you in the fast lane on the way to attracting and retaining top talent.
Company culture comes from the human experience, so make sure you are tapping into that as much as possible.
The “Dogs in the office” policy may seem like a bit much, but the heart of the idea is still there. Catered lunches, or employee activities are a great start to building your company culture for the better. Give your employees room to decorate their office, or some way to accentuate who they are. They are not just another number, so don’t treat them as such. Company culture comes from the human experience, so make sure you are tapping into that as much as possible. Give them opportunities to learn about one another, to grow and learn together. Let them build friendships. No culture is built on a foundation of anonymity or dislike. Help them nurture and build lasting friendships.
Adding food truck Friday’s or company retreats won’t make you the fastest growing company in the market, but they will help you attract top talent, and having top talent working for you is one of the best ways to make sure your company thrives. Properly utilizing your company culture just may be the key to taking your company to the next level. We would love to hear how you are making the most of your companies culture. Let us know! Have any questions? We are always happy to help.
We strive to continue to nurture our company culture, so let us give you even more tips and tricks, all you have to do is give us a call. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start making the most of your culture.
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