By Ian Cowley, Managing Director, cartridgesave.co.uk
Every business needs a culture that is unique to their company. However defining what that is and getting everyone to buy into it can be a long process.
No matter what it is that you produce or the service you provide, your employees will want to feel there is a heart and soul. No one feels invested in a faceless corporate.
So where do you begin? A simple email survey of staff, or meeting, can generate ideas around what values your business has or can realistically aspire to.
This might be a dedication to customer service, to innovation and creativity, to a relevant charitable cause or to improving your local area.
By finding out what matters to your staff and tying these in with your own thoughts, you stand a much better chance of securing support at every level of your organisation.
Put your values down on paper in as clear and concise a way as possible. A few words should be enough to capture what you’re aiming for.
Lead by example
Whatever you define as your company’s values, it’s essential that you live and breathe them. After all, if you don’t, you can’t expect others to.
Inspiring those around you, starting with your senior team, will create a trickle down effect as everyone sees the values and purpose behind the business brought to life.
Get involved, be visible, enthusiastic and prove that those words you wrote down as defining your company’s culture have practical, day-to-day, applications. If it’s about customer service, show others what this means and how it is demonstrated. If it’s a charitable drive, lead from the front by organising a fundraiser or activity.
Use your middlemen
Your corporate culture must develop and thrive on a daily basis inside each of your business’ departments. For this, you will need the full support of your line managers.
It is they who lead the teams that make up your organisation and they are the ones who have most interaction with your staff.
Ensure they understand what you are trying to achieve and how this can be communicated and demonstrated to staff in the workplace.
Ask for regular feedback from your line managers on how the message is being received as this will help you identify any changes you might need to ensure everyone projects your vision for a company culture.
Technology makes it easier than ever for us to talk to our staff through digital communications. Blogs, intranet, newsletters and closed social media networks such as Yammer are all useful business tools.
However, there is still no substitute for face-to-face time with those who work for you. To find out directly what they think, if a message isn’t getting through or to find out what could work differently.
To this end, include conversations about your company values in staff reviews and evaluations. Discover how much your message and vision are sinking in, what colleagues think is and isn’t working and how things can improve.
With a set of values that define who you are, you can be confident that your business is inspiring staff to greater achievements and – in turn – greater profits.