10 Steps to Creating an Awesome Workplace Culture
Workplace culture is a valuable company asset. We’ve already talked about the importance of working for a company that shares your values here, but what if you are the employer? How can you create a great workplace that maximises your company’s productivity, reduces turnover and increases profit?
1. Hire good people.
To create a great culture you first have to employ the right people. Hire people who love what you do, see the value in your business and that share your vision. Avoid being narrow-minded here. Innovation happens when groups of people with varied backgrounds, disciplines and ideas come together to problem solve. It is essential they share the same core values though. If your goal is to create a rad sustainable surfboard company and you hire people that don’t care about the environment, they won’t share your vision and it could affect decision-making and product quality.
2. Have a vision.
Have this clear when you are hiring people and ask them the ways they could contribute to this idea. Think of creative ways to display that vision where everyone can see it and make reference to it regularly. Remember, someone is always watching, so be true to your own vision and curate a company ethos. If your vision is based on empowerment, then don’t put people down.
3. Celebrate success.
Break up the work that needs to be done in order to achieve your company targets into achievable tasks so that you aren’t overwhelmed and everyone knows what they’re doing. Make sure to celebrate success! Celebrate the actions that contribute to smashing targets, not just reaching the targets themselves. If you notice and appreciate the small, but equally awesome things your employees do for you they will be stoked to keep it up. This pays off by creating a staff of talented and driven people who work hard for you. It’s a well-known fact that staff can be a company’s biggest asset or greatest weakness, so share the love.
This is often overlooked but can be the difference between success and failure. Try creating an open community where communication flows freely. Make meetings positive and add in unique company traditions so that your people feel they are valued and heard. Some companies like to start a meeting by having each person contribute a positive experience. That could be a work related achievement or a great story for the group. Storytelling is a great way for people to learn and grow as a team.
5. Be goal orientated.
Creating goals and targets can seem counter-intuitive to creating a cool culture. However, if you find awesome ways to achieve goals you can create enthusiasm. For example, if an employee is finding something hard, work out ways to help them. Brad Smith from Braaap motorcycles talks about ‘attaching fun to fear’. His employee hated cold calling as she was afraid of rejection. She loved fancy dress so he let them dress up whilst they made calls. It might sound crazy but it worked and that employee smashed her targets. What’s more she was no longer afraid of cold calling and continued to help other less confident employees reach their goals.
6. Be open to suggestions.
If you’re struggling to find ways to improve the company culture then ask your employees what they would like. Make it clear you want practical answers. Some companies have in-house baristas, office dogs or secret handshakes. Others have something as simple as after work drinks on a Friday. Don’t be afraid to try new things and see how they affect your culture.
7. Relative rewards.
Make sure you reward staff in a way that is valuable to them. If a bonus is important to them then great, but what if they would prefer an experience? Find out what they love and reward them accordingly. Not only does this create drive and determination, but it also shows you care and that you have taken the time to get to know them.
8. Group activities.
If you want to create a cohesive and effective team then taking people out of the office environment to take part in shared activities is a great way to get people talking and making friends. Employees are more likely to work together if they know a little about each other. This could be as simple as a mid week lunchtime yoga class or a group surf before work. If you want to take it up a notch why not try classes, workshops or outdoor activities.
9. Create an awesome space.
Your office, shop or warehouse is a reflection of your vision so find ways to make it a useful yet inspiring space. Have a chill out area or cover the walls in inspiring imagery. Light, colour and decoration can all increase functionality and improve productivity and add the collective vibe.
10. Measure the impact.
Making these type of changes usually has a direct impact on the quality and quantity of work happening in an organisation. If you aren’t measuring it you might never know how successful one idea has been over another. Some companies have introduced employee based target initiatives and seen sales spike as a direct response. Remember to take the long view too though. Some changes take time and factors like reduced staff turn over will take a little longer to be apparent.
What would you like to see in your workplace and why?
Posted by: Sarah Price, on April 17, 2014
Craig Sims - White Horses & Surfing Life Publisher
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Greg Gordon - Owner of CR Surf
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Alexa Hohenberg - Owner of Still Stoked
Christine Deveney - TapaReef Owner & Creator
Russell Ord - Surf Photographer
Richard Kotch - Surf Photographer