The office culture you nurture plays an important part in your company’s success. To create a happy workplace, take these ideas to improve company culture from some of the world’s most successful business leaders.
Building a positive office culture is essential to your company’s success. After all, your business is only as strong as the team you’re working with. It is thus important to give your employees an incentive to do their best work.
Chances are you’ve already tried many culture building activities for teams. But have they delivered the results you were hoping for? If not, perhaps you haven’t turned to the right people for advice.
Most of today’s successful companies owe their results to the great office culture they’ve nurtured. Their leaders are well-known entrepreneurs that inspire millions around the world. What’s more, they’re always ready to share their knowledge with other up-and-coming business leaders.
Here you’ll find seven of their best office culture ideas. With their help, you will learn how to build an effective team in your own company.
Idea #1 – Rethink Your Hiring Policy
In business, it’s all about finding the right people for your company. Many leaders go for people with impressive credentials. But this alone isn’t enough to guarantee they’ll be a good fit for your team.
You also need to look at each candidate’s individual qualities. This will help you see how valuable they’ll be for your team in the long run. You need team members who will share your goals and work hard to achieve them. After all, you can teach people new skills, but you can rarely change their approach to work.
Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, once discussed his company’s hiring policy in great detail. He said that their goal was to hire people who believed in the company’s long-term vision. Moreover, they needed to feel that the culture that Zappos nurtures was the right fit for them.
Groupon’s Andrew Mason also has something to say about this: “Hire great people and give them the freedom to be awesome.” So, all ideas to improve company culture start with a good hiring policy. When you find the right people, it’s up to you to give them an incentive to be creative and do great work.
Idea #2 – Focus on Your People
Ernst and Young, the leading professional services firm, points out the importance of focusing on your people. In their 2012 annual report, they looked at how the businesses they worked with managed to improve sales techniques. As you know, sales are crucial to your company’s bottom line.
But there’s more to it than just sales. This report reveals that most business leaders see their employees as their top priority. They have thus found ways to motivate their teams and help bring out the best in them. In doing so, they have set some of the best team culture examples.
The main takeaway here is simple: with a great team, you’ll have an ace up your sleeve. This only reinforces the previous idea about hiring policies. But you also need to let your people know how much you appreciate their great work. Zappos’ Tony Hsieh put it very succinctly. “To make customers happy, we have to make sure our employees are happy first,” he said.
You should thus make note of every success they achieve and commend them for it. If they happen to fail at something, help them get over it by lifting their spirits. When the members of your team are happy, it will show in their work. Their satisfaction is the one thing that can ensure the continued success of your business.
Idea #3 – Insist on Cooperation
Stewart Butterfield founded the image-hosting platform Flickr in 2004. From the get-go, the company stressed the importance of cooperation between team members. “One of our values is that you should be looking out for each other,” he says.
For decades, experts have been telling us about the value of competition in the workplace. But Butterfield doesn’t believe in it. Instead, he thinks that everyone should try to make everyone else’s life a bit easier. This belief helped him set one of the more unique team culture examples.
The truth is that your employees are working toward a common goal. As such, pitting them against each other is not something you want to encourage. You don’t need employees who will sabotage each other at every stage of the process. It could create a rather toxic culture in the workplace in a very short time.
Promoting cooperation is one of the best things to do for team bonding. What’s more, it may even inspire you to do other great things yourself, like it did Butterfield. In 2013, he launched Slack, a collaborative online work platform. He saw this as a way to share his ideas to improve company culture with other up-and-coming leaders. The fact that six million people use this platform daily only validates his views on office culture.
Idea #4 – Delegate Your Work
As a business leader, you can’t do all the work yourself. After all, that’s why you hired your team in the first place. You wanted someone you can rely on to complete certain tasks as well as you would.
Yet despite this, many entrepreneurs don’t like to delegate. Bill Smith of Shipt (a grocery delivery startup valued at $550 million) cites this as one of the main causes of poor time management. Moreover, it doesn’t promote a positive workplace culture. In fact, by failing to delegate work to others, you’re telling your team that you don’t trust them. This is in contrast with other positive team culture examples highlighted here.
If you refuse to delegate, you’ll have a team of unhappy employees. Your actions will make them feel like their input doesn’t matter. This will thus stifle their creativity and take the fun out of their work process. Their productivity will also suffer as a result.
To delegate work in a successful way, you need to play to your employees’ strengths. Assign them tasks that are a good fit for their individual skills. Of course, you still need to check their progress from time to time. But at the same time, you must have faith that they will do what’s in your company’s best interest.
Idea #5 – Discuss Your Company Culture
You can’t expect a positive company culture to develop on its own. On the contrary, you’ll need to put in a lot of effort to achieve it. Not only that, you have to encourage your employees to take part in the process, as well.
Most leaders fail to do this, thinking they’re the only ones who should have a say. Dharmesh Shah, the co-founder of HubSpot, isn’t one of them. He says that you need to be more conscious about creating your company culture. In doing so, you also need to discuss it with your employees.
Here’s the thing: your employees likely deal with clients more often than you do. Therefore, they might also understand your client’s needs better than you do. Their ideas to improve company culture may thus prove very valuable. Whatever you do, you shouldn’t discard them right away.
Instead, encourage your employees to share their input freely. Take their ideas into consideration and discuss them with the whole team. Together, you can build a great office culture that will also have a positive effect on the quality of your work.
Idea #6 – Go Easy on the Company Policies
Many companies opt for a more structured office culture. To achieve that, they enforce lots of rules employees need to follow. Patty McCord, the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, doesn’t believe in this method.
She stresses that many companies spend a lot of money to devise HR policies for dealing with problems at the office. Netflix is different. According to her, they ask their team to rely on common sense and logic instead of office policies. This has helped them achieve much better results and at only a fraction of the cost.
The lesson here is that you should trust your employees to make the right choice at any given time. Sure, some basic policies still need to exist. But you need to loosen the rules up a bit. Otherwise, they may feel oppressed, which won’t do your company any favors.
You need to treat your employees as your equals. If you trust yourself to do what’s right, you need to trust them, too. After all, as some of the best team culture examples teach us, you’re all in this together.
Idea #7 – Build Your Company on Love
Richard Branson, entrepreneur extraordinaire, knows a lot about building a great office culture. According to him, the key to success is to treat your staff the way you want others to treat you.
Kip Tindell, the co-founder and former CEO of The Container Store, puts it even more crisply. In his own words, “You can build a much more wonderful company on love than you can on fear.” They both teach us that the age-old tradition of instilling fear in your employees should be a thing of the past.
Instead, you need to inspire your teams to achieve great things. Use every opportunity you have to get to know them better. Find out what motivates them and figure out how you can support their professional growth. Share your business know-how with them and always make the time to talk to each of them in person.
This is one of the most effective team building strategies. With it, you’ll have a group of very happy employees, all driven to do their best work. That’s the reason why Tindell’s company has been among Forbes’ “100 Best Companies to Work For” for 17 years in a row.
As you can see, there are many aspects of good office culture that you need to consider. It all starts with your company’s hiring policy and the way you choose the members of your team. You need to make sure that they believe in your vision and will do their best to fulfill it.
But it doesn’t end there. You also need to treat your employees well and look at them as your equals. This will encourage them to be creative and work in your company’s best interest. As a result, you’ll also have many happy clients eager to work with you again.
All the leaders you’ve read about have vast experience in building successful teams. Over the years, they’ve helped set some of the best team culture examples. As such, you should consider taking their ideas to improve company culture at your own workplace.
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