Practical Guide: How to Improve Your Business Culture
Many businesses are so focused on the bottom line that they neglect their company culture. This can be a fatal mistake, as according to a Forbes study, more than 90% of employees said that good business culture was important at their company, and 92% said that improving their company culture would improve the value of the company.
If you’re looking to improve your business culture, you must first understand what it is and what values you’re perpetuating in your organization.
What Is Business Culture?
Corporate culture is hard to pin down. It’s generally regarded as the shared set of values, beliefs, and goals that define a business. If everyone on the team adheres to the corporate culture, you’ll have a united front working together to achieve your objectives.
In the book Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson write, “Culture is the by-product of consistent behavior. If you encourage people to share, then sharing will be built into your culture. If you reward trust, then trust will be built into your culture. If you treat customers right, then treating customers right becomes your culture.”
According to C. Lee Smith, CEO of Salesfuel, a business culture is determined by four major factors: who you hire, who you fire, who you promote, and who you discipline. The idea is that you will reward the behaviors you want to promote and remove the behaviors that are against your company values.
Why a Strong Culture Matters
A great culture makes a significant difference in sales and profit results. As I’ve stated in a previous blog post, a strong company culture leads to engaged employees that stay with the company and want to see it grow. You need to look into how to improve your business culture in order for your company to last.
There are numbers to back this up. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that invest in employee experience are four times more profitable than those who don’t. Meanwhile,
TruePath found that turnover at companies with a poor culture is 48%. That’s a strong case to improve your business culture.
A poor culture creates lost work hours from employees calling in sick, showing up late, leaving early, and taking long lunches. Disengaged employees don’t feel the need to be productive and don’t particularly care if the company fails or succeeds.
How to Improve Your Business Culture
To improve your business culture, it’s important to be consistent in what you say and do. Your team is watching you closely for variations. Consistently share your core values and clearly define team behavioral expectations so there’s no room for misinterpretation.
A business culture can be ruined by bad managers. A Gallup poll found that 50% of US employees have left a company because of a bad manager. Your management team is responsible for modeling the business culture to the rest of your employees and creating the ideal atmosphere. Your managers should be caring, supportive, fair, trustworthy, responsive, and accessible.
Invest in management development. When you improve a manager, you improve their entire team, and you improve your business culture. If you don’t have time to develop your people, where will you find the time to replace them?
You also have to constantly manage and measure your culture. Hire only people that are a good fit and quickly remove malcontents that don’t fit your cultural expectations. Negativity spreads like wildfire in the workplace, so if someone’s not on board with your mission, show them the door sooner rather than later.
Finally, you should trust and empower your employees. Include everyone in decisions so they can see they have an impact in the workplace and that they’re a part of the big picture.
It might take some time to change your company’s direction, but investing in a good company culture is worth it in the long run. Nurturing a quality culture in your business is a critical responsibility of a CEO. Click here and download my free eBook to learn more about what you can do.