The average person spends 40 hours working at their job each week. When you factor in time for sleeping, this makes up over a third of someone’s waking hours. While this is pretty consistent across the board, how an individual spends those work hours varies — especially when you consider things like job satisfaction and happiness.
You see, employees who are happy at work tend to be more motivated, productive, and effective at their job duties. Those who would rather be picking up trash on the side of the street end up producing poor results, since they don’t feel engaged or connected to their work.
In some ways, employee attitudes are on an individual level — however, company culture plays a major factor in overall morale of your team and can make the difference between a positive work environment and one that is harboring resentment and toxicity.
You may be thinking company culture is something to be addressed internally, but the impact of it certainly sends ripples through your external stakeholders and even prospective clients. When you walk into a restaurant or retail store, you can quickly tell whether or not an employee enjoys their job. It’s in their posture, their tone of voice, and especially their quality of customer service.
With that said, company culture is essential to your external branding and customer service while also being fundamental to a positive work environment and reduced turnover. Needless to say, it’s a critical function of your office and, if it’s time for an overhaul, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s look at a simple roadmap to elevating your company culture.
Start with an assessment.
You may be ready to dive in with teambuilding exercises and free doughnuts, but you need to first take a step back and look at where you’re at currently. Complimentary sweets won’t go far if your team is not on speaking terms every other day of the week.
Check back in with your brand values and determine whether or not your culture aligns with them. How is it perceived from the outside? What would you like to be the first thing that comes to mind when someone sees your logo or hears your business name? If friendliness is a core tenant of your brand statement yet your employees are always frowning because they hate their uniform, you’ll know that’s a good place to start.
Remember that a positive company culture starts at the top. As the team leader, you need to identify the ideal work environment for your office and do what needs to be done to make it happen.
Host a state of the union.
Once you have some direction and a vision of your dream workplace, it’s time to bring the rest of your team onboard. Schedule a meeting, buy lunch for everyone, and start by asking the hard questions. Ask for their feedback directly. What would they like to see in the company? How can you make their work experience better on a daily basis? What needs to change?
Although the buck may formally stop with you, this needs to be a team effort for it to stick in place and become a culture that is here to stay.
Think baby steps.
You and your team may be excited for the next chapter in your company, but don’t expect to come in the next day and witness an overnight transformation. Change takes time, especially when it involves many people and their interpersonal relationships.
Start small with incremental changes throughout the organization. Switch up the furniture or update the staff uniforms. Start playing music in the office. Schedule a weekly lunch meeting to get out of the office as a team. Once you start showing your employees that you are committed to positive change, they will follow suit and jump onboard.
A positive company culture forms the foundation of a successful business. A negative culture, on the other hand, fuels just the opposite. Live by a “people first” philosophy and you will find that success and accomplishment truly is a team effort. Take care of your people and they will take care of you. After all, you are spending a third of your waking hours together — you might as well enjoy it.
Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner ofFantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and current international president for WIPA.