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A positive company culture has so many benefits, both for you and your team; it promotes teamwork, increases productivity and work quality, keeps everyone motivated and critically, keeps your team happy, which reduces turnover (a BIG hidden business cost).
Plus, think about the kind of company you want to build. Is it somewhere you want people to love to work? Creating a positive and collaborative culture in the workplace is the most critical step to achieving this.
Creating all of this starts with you, as the leader. If you are just starting your hiring journey or are looking to focus more on improving the team you already have, here are five ways to move towards becoming that business that everyone wants to work with!
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1. Create Your Business Mission, Vision and Values
If you don’t have these in place already, sit down and get them mapped out. A clear vision from leadership (a.k.a you) is needed to help your team understand the goals of your company and how you work towards these goals (which is determined by your values).
Not only will this help you at hiring stage to attract and identify people that will fit well within your business, but it will also increase motivation and engagement rates, as well as promoting teamwork when you have clearly laid out the common framework from which you and every team member operates from.
Don’t fall into the trap of determining these critical pillars of your business and then leaving them at the back of your digital desk drawer gathering digital dust. You will quickly undermine your authority if you don’t live them and incorporate them in everything you do. Nothing is likely to disengage your team faster than if one of your core values is “innovation” and you are resistant to change at every corner.
2. Create a System to Share Feedback and Recognition
Even the most self-confident among us want to hear that we are doing a great job! Whenever you hit a monthly/quarterly/annual goal, celebrate with your team and thank them for the work they have put in to get you there. You could even treat them and buy them lunch! Whenever you see them going above and beyond, thank them. It reaffirms they are on the right track and again, boosts their motivation to deliver a higher quality of work for you.
People generally want to do a good job, so if there is something you would like them to do differently, tell them! This isn’t the same as delivering negative feedback, all you need to do is thank them for doing whatever it is, explain that you would like it doing differently and crucially, explain why. This helps them understand why you want it done that way and increases the chances of them taking it onboard and actioning it for next time.
Add an agenda point to share feedback in your weekly or monthly 1:1s so you get in the rhythm of it. While it can be easy to remember to do with new hires, if you don’t make a conscious effort to deliver feedback on an ongoing basis, it is easy to forget to do, which over time is likely to make your team member feel undervalued and taken for granted.
3. Create an Environment to Share Ideas and Promote Creativity and Innovation
While the primary reason for hiring for someone is generally to take work off your plate, there is another huge benefit that you should be utilising that will have a positive effect on both of you; creating an environment where your team feel comfortable sharing ideas.
Creating the environment starts with you telling them that you would love their feedback if they think they have an idea that could help you move towards your business goals (which they already know from the previous step!), or if they think a process could be made more efficient. Get into the habit of asking them if they have any thoughts for improvement in the area they are responsible for or ask for their opinion on that new strategy you are thinking about.
This will make them feel respected and valued by you and renews their commitment to your business when they truly feel that they are involved in the process of moving towards your (now shared) goals.
You don’t have to act on everything they suggest, just chat it through and if you don’t think it’s going to work or isn’t the focus for right now, just explain that but state your appreciation for their input. You are also more than likely to find that a fresh perspective helps get you thinking more creatively and having a second person to bounce things off is so helpful for working through those a million and one ideas in your head!
Another great way to do this is to have an “ideas” tracker that your team populates whenever something comes to mind. Dedicate time in your weekly team meeting to go through the tracker and talk through the ideas together to see what could help you reach your business goals.
4. Foster a Sense of Ownership
When your team has a sense of ownership, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Taking ownership means that they will assume responsibility for both the task and, critically, the success of the task.
An example of this could be if your Virtual Assistant has the responsibility to create your Instagram posts. Displaying a sense of ownership could look like them posting and looking to see how it performed and then tweaking the creation of the next post based on those metrics.
So how do you create an environment that promotes ownership? While firstly, try and delegate responsibilities rather than tasks. Using the example above, this could be delegating responsibility for posting to Instagram using the pre-approved schedule and content strategy to achieve an xx% engagement rate or xx% follower growth on a month-by-month basis. This clearly defines the metric for success, which gives them the tools to evaluate their own performance and a clear path to improve upon it.
If you want to have an approval process before it is scheduled, by all means, add it in, but try to avoid then posting it yourself. It may well be quicker but by doing this step yourself, it removes your team member from the process and makes it difficult for them to see themselves as fully responsible for the task.
5. Invest in Your Team’s Development and Professional Growth
This is a key one! If you have employees, set aside an annual budget to invest in their training and development. Not only does it motivate your team, but it also demonstrates your commitment and belief in them and their skills and you will get to reap the rewards of this new knowledge or skill in your business.
A really great way to manage this is to ask your team to pitch to you what courses/mentorship/investment they would like you to make and how it will benefit them personally and the company. This will keep them focussed on finding development opportunities that will be an asset to you both.
If you are working with contractors, it can be a bit trickier. Technically they will have (or should have) budgeted for training expenses in their rate with you, however, if there is a skill you particularly want them to learn, I would generally say it something you should pay for. Here I would advise you stick to more tangible skills such as courses rather than softer skills such as coaching, although I think there are exceptions to this if you are their main or only client and you have a long term working relationship.
Consider a policy where a team member has worked for you for a certain period of time before investing (I recommend six months). You want to make sure they work out and are committed to a long term relationship with you. If you want some reassurance they won’t leave straight after you have invested in them, discuss extending your contract notice period or adding a contract addendum whereby they are required to implement that new email marketing systems after you have sent them on the course to learn how to do it, for example.
That’s a Wrap! Creating a Positive Company Culture to Motivate Your Team
Creating a positive company culture will make your business a great place to work, a goal I think everyone should have but can often fall by the wayside in the glitz of chasing those six and seven-figure revenue goals and creating that next high ticket offer.
The reality is though, by fostering a workplace culture that has your team excited to start work for you every day and where they are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to move your business forwards, scaling will become so much more effortless on your part and is one of the components to working less and achieving more in a sustainable way.
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