Developing a Strong Workplace Culture in Your Organization

In our previous posts we’ve covered how to attract talent to small organizations and how to reward your staff. The third post in this series will address something that’s extremely critical, yet quite intangible in any organization, culture. Developing and sustaining a strong corporate culture is not something that can be achieved overnight. There are a range of factors that need to align correctly in order for any company, big or small, to affect change in this area.

a dream company culture

Readers of this blog are probably not working for Fortune 500 companies, so we’re going to direct our advice towards small to medium sized businesses. New companies and startups have the opportunity to start from a clean slate, more established businesses already have a corporate culture, they just need to define it first before looking to change it. We’re going to work off the premise that you have a company culture that you’re looking to improve on, that angles suits best. There are a number of ways to cultivate and maintain a strong workplace culture and we will address those here.

Training and Development 

At the heart of a person’s identity at work is their role and their place in the company. No person wants to sit still and not learn new things or progress. Providing staff with avenues to develop themselves professionally is a critical starting point. This is linked to our last post about rewarding staff, so we won’t revisit that here, but role diversity, opportunities to learn new tasks, systems, roles and expand, grow and get promoted are fundamental to a happy worker and workplace. Now that this is out of the way, we can talk about some of the more fun things you can focus on.

Team Building and Training Days 

These days don’t need to be reserved as prizes for performance or meeting sales targets. Company wide or team based days are great for developing a strong culture. Companies in this industry provide hundreds of options starting with the more casual cooking classes, paintball and go-cart racing days out. These are good ideas for bonding, socializing and having fun as a team.

team building

At the other end of the scale you can find more technical corporate options that range from problem solving to skills development courses. One team building experience I recall fondly was a full-day seminar run by Afterburner Australia who were a team of former fighter pilots. They taught our management team how fighter pilots assess their missions and how these same winning techniques can be applied to the corporate world. Completely different but still a fantastic problem solving type day out. In another team day out I recall our team of six staff being locked in a room that we had to escape from within two hours. Think the movie Saw. That might sound like a nightmare rather than a team building exercise, but it had the same net result – team bonding.

The key point to stress here is that team building days don’t have to be alcohol fueled rewards days for sales teams or achievement based schemes.

Perks of the Job

It’s common to envy your friends and jobs. Why? You’ve never stepped into their office, never done their job, but you have heard about the perks of their job. This is one of the tangible elements that people attach to a good work culture. People love to feel like they are winning. Getting free extras at work is great for the psyche of the employee. It doesn’t have to cost much for the employer either.

  • Language Classes: Everyone would like to learn a language, but most people never get around to it. Offer Spanish classes at lunch once a week. A Spanish tutor can cost $100 for a group class, that’s not much to pay and can be written off as a tax expense too.
  • Yoga Classes: See above example – the cost benefit is high and staff will feel reinvigorated and energized following a lunchtime yoga session.
  • Free breakfast: Many tech companies offer this perk, a kitchen stacked with cereals, muesli, fruit, bread and coffee costs very little. It saves staff money and time in the morning though – eating cereal at your desk saves you 10 minutes in a morning routine. Plus it’s free.
  • Skills Training: Maybe your staff want to learn computer basic computer programming. Why not offer a one hour class once per week, run by someone in the office who can code.

The options to add value within the workplace are numerous and they don’t have to cost a lot. Think about how people talk about their workplace. They talk about the perks of the job, not the job itself. These are tangible values that employees love.

The Line Between Strong Culture and Productivity

A strong culture in the workplace should not come at the cost of productivity or your ultimate purpose at work, doing your job. A strong culture should enhance a person’s desire to work and contribute because they are personally invested in the company. The feel like they are part of something. People reading this may think that these activities are distractions and reduce hours in the work day/week. On the contrary. People who are happy at work will work harder at work and enjoy their time in the office more.

Finding the balance between relaxed and fun workplace and productive workplace is critical. Many companies have social outings together and a social workplace. Jokes, jibes, and memories from nights out together are great, but management need to find the right line between socializing, switching off and working. Fostering a strong workplace culture is an ongoing endeavor, however it doesn’t have to be complicated, it just takes a little effort from management and the rest will fall into place.

How to Reward Employees Without Pay Rises

It’s particularly important for small business owners to understand the needs of their staff in order to motivate them, keep them challenged and reward them. When we think about rewards, our first inclination is to think financial rewards. A pay rise, more commission or material rewards for tasks performed. These can be nice, but financial reward is not always at the heart of what motivates workers. The challenge for managers and business owners is to identify ways of rewarding staff that doesn’t involve pay rises.

psyche of staff

Understanding your employees

Whether you run a two or 200 person company, the need to understand your staff remains the same. In larger companies the role falls to line management and HR, for smaller companies it’s the owners. People are unique, some a financially driven, others seek praise, while some want to feel a sense of achievement. The art of running a successful team and business is to know each team members hot button.

Understanding topics like staff engagement and motivation can seem tricky on the surface. But there are some easy ways to uncover this. First a little side memory that prompted this post in the first place:

I recall a past job where I worked for a company in an account management / sales role and our manager would dangle the same carrot in front of everyone. Commission. Now, for some team members that was great, but for others, it carried less weight. I had a teammate called Andrew, and deep down he didn’t care about $5k more in his pay packet, what he was really seeking was praise. That was his catnip. Not cash. He would positively glow when he got pats on the back for something he did at work, big or small, but he was totally indifferent when he missed or made target.

How to identify what motivates your staff (finding their catnip) 

The job interview stage is one of the best ways to assess what floats people’s boats. Ask the question. What motivates you. Some will be honest, others will roll out what they think you want them to say. But dig a little. Ask them in a questionnaire when they start their new job. Get them to rate the importance of praise, financial rewards, participation, achieving goals, time off work, promotions, social events and job diversity on a scale of 1-10. This way you can get a visual on how to reward them with what matters most.

How to implement your new knowledge 

Now that you have what motivates your staff mapped out, you can put it to good use. People who want diversity, want to have more tasks and responsibility in their job. This doesn’t have to mean a pay rise, this relates to a having a sense of purpose. When they prove themselves in one job, give them other tasks to master.

People who seek praise are simple, give them praise, but don’t overdo it. It’s important to give it when it’s deserved, some may prefer to receive it publicly, others just want the recognition from their boss that they did a good job.

Those who want financial or material rewards (which we all do to a point) can be appeased with other things than pay rises. Office lunches, Friday drinks on the company, free coffees, free cereal, fruit and coffee in the office in the mornings. Little perks are the currency that many people operate off. People like to feel as if they are winning. A simple free breakfast is winning for some.

Now this started as a trip into rewarding your staff but detoured into amateur psychology, however the two are one in the same thing. Understanding your staff is the key to keeping them motivated, happy and rewarded in their job. Pay rises are only a small part of the whole equation.

Attracting the Best Employees – Tips for Small Business

Finding and attracting new employees when you’re starting out can be a daunting task – however you have quite a few things going for you that you can sell and market to prospective employees. The US and Australian job markets are still in the state where employers hold a lot of power, so while you’re concerned about trying to attract good people to your business, you should also remember that you’re business (no matter how small) can sound exciting. It’s all about the pitch.

small business hiring





Selling Your Business in Job Ads

Naturally, one of the first places you’re going to put yourself is online. When writing ads for your new job, the first paragraph needs to really sell your business. Even if it’s just you working in it right now. The worlds leading companies all started as one person business run from a garage, so sell it. If you’re a services business, this is an exciting opportunity to get in at the ground level with a niche service provider. If you make or market products, sell the product as ground breaking, money making and innovative. For tech companies, it’s all about selling the concept, everyone understands that if a tech company gets it right they could go large – and take you on the ride with them.

Make Candidates Work for it at Interview

Don’t just spend your time in interviews selling yourself and your business. Small business owners have a habit of doing that. Get candidates to speak about themselves and make them sell themselves to you. If they have to work for it, the psychology is that they will want it more.

Keep your Interview Process Short

Don’t drag it out for the sake of it. If you meet good talent, other companies will be meeting them too, so move from first to second interview in less than one week, then to offer within days from there. Unless you have many great candidates to choose from, which is unlikely, you’re likely to have a gut-feel on one or two. Go with your instincts and then reference check the best people before offering.

You might also like: Tips for setting up your business

These are just a few prompts to help employers target the right employees and attract genuine talent. Happy hunting.



Setting Up Your Business – Easy Tips

People think that starting a business is the best thing to do to make more money. It is true, as this is the main goal of creating slider-networka business, but you need to stay focuse all the way if you want to be successful in your chosen domain.

There are many things that others could tell you about starting a business, but it’s also important that you are conscious of how important this is for you and for your future. It’s not hard to start a business or to be an entrepreneur, but you have to have that extra something to set you apart from the competition.

Not all are competent of starting their own business. There are really some personality traits that are extremely common among all successful entrepreneurs – these comprise frugality, self-confidence, motivation, cheerfulness, superb recordkeeping skills, honesty, honesty, and regulation. If you have similar traits, you may have what it needs to set up your own business.

Outstanding Tips for Setting up Your Business

Come up with an idea

Prior to quitting your job and lastly deciding to become an entrepreneur, you have to first think of a model, service or product that will make a steady stream of income. It might sound simple; however for most inhabitants, this is considered wave-chart-businessthe difficult part. You must visualize a plan that will put your familiarity, experience as well as know-how to use in the most profitable method possible. After you came up with an excellent idea, think researching the modern marketplace in order for you to see how comparable businesses have actually flared. It is wise for you to begin with areas of your interest, and have materials or tools for. This will in fact help bring down startup costs.

Make certain that you have a support

In case you are married or perhaps have children, you have to ask your relatives how they will sense about you start a business. This is due to the fact that your choice will affect them psychologically and economically. If they contradict your plan, think devoting time to address any concerns and make a decision if your goal is worth ongoing despite their negative reactions if you are incapable to change their minds.

trainCome up with a good business plan

There were plenty of studies conducted explaining that among the main reasons new businesses fail is due to improper planning. Experts extremely emphasized that if you are considering of opening your business, you should have a good business plan. This will in fact serve as a road map to direct you. There is certainly a need for you to talk with your investors or bank about what you are doing and why they have to invest in yourself.

Get the accurate funding

A lot of business will need start up income. Essentially, this investment will very much help you break even after a year; however, you have to bear in your mind that even successful businesses continue in debt for the first couple of years. Some probable sources of funding will comprise tapping into your investments, home bank, and money from other reserves, borrowing from associates or family, and credit cards.

strategic_planThese are just a few of the tips you have to bear in mind when planning of opening your own business. All these tips have much importance and it is assured that if you are keeping in mind all these tips in your mind and actually doing as per the guidelines and your initially prepared business plan, then there is no doubt that it will give you revenue and enlist you as a successful businessmen.