Entrepreneurs: how to foster a better company culture


In today’s digitalised and fast-paced world, entrepreneurs are looking at new ways of gaining a competitive edge and driving business growth. But they can’t achieve this alone. Although entrepreneurs are autonomous and resourceful by nature, they still require a support network to bring their inventions and innovations to life. Entrepreneurs, the most powerful support network is right in front of your eyes: your employees and your company culture.

You work hard to be the boss or get promoted to a management position, but what do you do once you get there? Doing the job is one thing, but teaching and encouraging an entire team to do it too is intimidating and stressful.

How to foster a better company culture

Hopefully, the company you work for or business you’ve established has enough benefits like health, dental, paid time off, or even perks and education on necessities specialized for your field like car insurance for healthcare workers. Companies do their best to design a compelling package to get new hires, but it’s your job to create a company culture that makes employees stay.

How Times Have Changed

Company culture has always been a discussion in the business world, but now more than ever, the atmosphere of the workplace could easily make or break a company. With the millennial generation getting older and filling up more of today’s workforce, companies have quickly realized that the younger generations want more than just money.

We all need money to live, and if a position is willing to pay you top dollar, you’re crazy not to take it, right? Well, many people today would say you’re wrong. In the past decade or so, the campaigns for anti-bullying, more inclusivity, and mental health have influenced the workforce in more ways than diversity training. People have always aspired to feel valued, heard, and proud of what they do, but the way we see obtaining that today isn’t the same as it was for our parents and grandparents.

Advice Tip 1: Morals Versus Money

If you’re having trouble thinking of what you and your company do to establish a culture, chances are your neglect to do so is the culture, which likely isn’t a positive one, and your employees know it.

It is common practice for today’s workforce to leave a position for a lower-paying one that comes with a company culture aligned with them as an individual, making establishing a positive atmosphere essential to a company’s growth. The good thing is that it’s never too late to reset the energy. Ways you can increase company culture are:

  • Choose a cause to focus on: Pick a campaign that aligns with your field and your beliefs to get your employees involved in philanthropy. This can be done by financial and non-financial donation activities such as a walk for cancer or sales initiatives that go to your cause.

  • Create a social atmosphere: Encourage everyone to get to know each other. The words work and play are often found together for a reason, and that’s because there needs to be a balance. Find time for activities during weekly meetings or quarterly events that bring everyone together in non-work related ways.

  • Sell Solitude: Those with a better mental and physical wellness balance are proven to be more productive. You can encourage this by being more flexible and offering remote days, group fitness challenges, morning meditations or yoga, or fitness club memberships.

All of us can become drained if we’re continually pouring our energy out for work and don’t give ourselves time for rest and play. Helping employees incorporate those aspects of life into their work will keep them happier longer. Without happiness, we are likely to burn out, making our work performance less productive and everyone less satisfied.

Don’t be ingenious when designing these things. Keep your values authentic to you and the kind of people you want to attract, and the positive vibes will naturally circulate without force.

Advice Tip 2: Proper Listening

Pizza parties and free donuts in the morning no longer cut it. Your subordinates want to feel like their contributions matter. Granted, you can’t always accommodate every thought each employee has when they have it.

Ensuring that people feel heard is a lot more than just saying, “Okay.” So even if you’re genuinely listening, you could still be coming off as dismissive, so here are some phrases and responses to practice using with employees:

  • “I love that you’re taking the initiative to have a positive influence here.”

  • “I want to be able to hear and process your idea, but I’m too busy to give it my full attention at the moment. Can we schedule a time to talk about it?”

  • “I see how that idea could help in those ways, but unfortunately, it would affect ___. Maybe we could come up with another similar idea to make it work.”

These phrases give more assurance and value to your subordinate’s needs while establishing clear boundaries that you may also need. Things can move fast during the workday, making dismissive responses a habit. By merely rephrasing your answers, you can show that you actively listen and are not just waiting to shut them down.

Advice Tip 3: Champions Are Groomed, Not Born

You can’t expect the perfect employee to just walk in off the street, let alone assume a new hire will do things the same way as the company likes or needs. By increasing positive reinforcement, you will allow positive feedback to be your biggest teaching tool. People like hearing that they are doing something well, and the boost of confidence will help them perform.

Think of the last time you saw your favorite artist perform, then picture it as if they were shy and insecure. The picture changes quite a bit, doesn’t it? When someone is doing a great job, verbally let them know and give some kind of physical reward. If you’re stuck on ideas, a few forms of reward could be:

  • Money: Who doesn’t like an unexpected bonus? Besides, money is one of the reasons you’re there.

  • Acknowledgments: Put up a bulletin board or something that can set goals for everyone else to make the highest performance the new standard. Make their accomplishments known to the office and celebrate even small wins.

  • Promotion opportunities: Even when employees are happy, they want to know that their current position isn’t a look into their permanent future. Keep offering genuine incentives to move up in their roles and get that promotion.

  • Gifts: This is a love language for a reason. Thoughtful gifts can show your employees that not only are you happy with their performance, but you’ve noticed them specifically.

  • A day off: Paid or not is up to you, but giving an employee a pass for a day of their choosing off work is a great incentive to allow them time for other passions.

There are countless ideas for rewards, but as long as your reward system is something your employees can enjoy, you’re on the right track. Depending on the amount of support you have and your company’s size, this may take some extra creative effort, but giving your employees goals to accomplish will keep your performance high.

What to Learn

A successful team is your biggest asset to your company and your position. When company culture isn’t prioritized, negativity often comes to fill the space, and your place of business quickly becomes less lively than the morgue.

Employees don’t stay where they think their professional growth will die, and a high turnover will drive away potential office rockstars. Investing time, effort, and money into your employees should be treated more like riskless bonds, not risky stocks.

With each new hire, you are building your investment portfolio for your business, and investing in each individual’s performance comes back tenfold when done right. Value your employees, and they will value you back.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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