Building a business culture to be proud about
One question you may never have asked yourself, but is key to the success of your business, is how you personally transition through the various roles you have to inhabit through the growth of your business. On day 680, you will not and should not be the same person you were on the first day you started or bought your business.
This is because as a business grows, those who initially worked to build the business from the ground up are forced into increasingly managerial roles, and it is both the embrace of this reality and the adoption of what this means that will create a business culture that you can be proud about.
Shifting your approach
It is inevitable that as part of a growing business, you will hire increasing numbers of people who carry out the important roles that service your customers. This means that their number one concern are your customers. If they are in marketing, they want to figure out ways to reach and talk with your customers to promote your service and find new opportunities and innovations for your company. If they are in sales, customers are their number one concern, and communicating with customers is key to their role. The list goes on, from developers, scientists, business analysts and everyone in between, if they are working for you, then the customer is their number one concern.
So this means the customer is your number one concern as well, right? Wrong.
As the owner of a business, your number one concern is your business, and what constitutes a business? It’s employees.
Once your business grows to a certain point where you are allocating service roles and the like to new employees, your focus must shift from your customers to your employees. This is key to building a healthy business culture that you can be proud of.
Being a leader
Being an effective leader does not mean managing every process in your business, but hiring those who you can trust to not only carry out what is necessary but to innovate throughout the process. What you need to ensure is that you are meeting their needs, providing them with the room and support to grow your business for you.
How to do this?
Promoting career growth and diversity in work
Look at ways you can go beyond regulatory standards for making your workplace accessible. If you have a deaf employee, are they restricted to text-based messaging on a daily basis with other employees? If so, consider investing in educating staff in the basics of sign language to facilitate communication.
This is just an example of the ways in which you can be proactive rather than passive in your way to broaden the way your workplace welcomes those from different backgrounds.
Do you invest in educating your staff? Career growth and education is one of the best ways to retain staff, as long as you embrace the opportunities and innovation that arises from employees learning new approaches and skills.
Making sure work is seen to be appreciated and acknowledged –
Effectively rewarding staff for their work is not as easy as it looks. Monetary rewards are not always the best way to approach, while simple acknowledgement and praise can be more powerful than any reward system.
Be systematic in the way you approach praise, going as far as to keep track of where you have directed acknowledgement and praise and why, so that you do not miss out on opportunities to increase the mental health of your employees.
Assessing your workflows
How do your teams work and are they isolated? Maintain your knowledge of current management and workflow theories and approaches both in your industry and in the wider world. For instance, are their ways you can incorporate agility into your workplace, and test whether these are effective? Do you have daily standup meetings and are these effective or do your staff resent how they are conducted? What tools do your employees use in product and project management? Digital tools like Trello and Slack? How do they like those tools and can you measure their effect on productivity?
Conduct surveys and one-on-one talks
These two things are very different. Surveys may be about general workplace culture or about where employees want to see improvements. Make sure employees are assured that these are anonymous by using a service that promises this.
One-on-one meetings on a regular basis allow you to gauge morale in a workplace, as people find it very difficult to hide their emotions on their face. If you do come across issues, try to structure these in some sort of hierarchy so you can narrow down the source of an issue. Is it micromanagement? A high-stress environment? A lack of flexibility?
Adopting these measures and acknowledging your inevitable change from someone who had to contribute to every facet of your business to someone who is a leader for their employees is key to creating a business culture to be proud about.