If you want to thrive in today’s competitive business environment, it’s important to provide a healthy work culture for your employees.

The benefits of cultivating a robust culture cannot be overstated. They include things like an increase in revenues, innovation and customer satisfaction, as well as a decrease in employee turnover, customer complaints, and business expenses.

But many companies fail to design and nurture a prosperous work culture. It’s not that owners don’t have high hopes of creating a positive work environment, they do, it’s just much harder than it looks. There is often a gap between the work culture a business promotes and the environment that exists. It’s also common misconception amongst business owners to believe that building a thriving culture is merely about getting the right mix of personalities, but it requires much more than that.

Going Beyond Matching Personalities

Exceptional leaders that create amazing work environments understand that cultures aren’t created from just matching personalities, one-off CEO pep talks or employee of the month awards. They understand that a healthy work culture is about building a team of people committed to the same purpose, behaviors, passions, and ideals. Great cultures get made by obsession, constant focus, daily actions, and a foundation of clarity & vision.

If you’re finding it hard to envision your ideal work culture, don’t stress, you’re not alone. Few businesses have a clear picture of what they want their culture to be, and even fewer have an idea of how to turn their vision into a reality. According to Jay Wilkinson, entrepreneur and CEO & Founder of Firespring, there are three important things to remember if you want to build a successful work culture.

Define Your Values

Typical core values that we have all heard about revolve around innovation, teamwork, integrity, and excellence. The problem with these types of intangible values is that they don’t work, and they’re way too generic. Company values need to be tangible & concrete, like a guide. When developing your values, ask yourself these questions. It this value unique? Are you passionate about it? Can you live it every day? Are you willing to sacrifice profit to protect it? If you need some inspiration, check out the core values of companies like Google, Warby Parker, Zappos, & SquareSpace. These successful companies continually rank high on the list of best places to work. Remember, if you don’t have a clear and precise idea of where you want to go, how are you going to get there?

Hire People For Their Values

Don’t just hire people because they look good on paper or have amazing technical skills. Hiring a person based on their skill set with no consideration of cultural fit will backfire. Bad hires regarding cultural fit become like cancers in your business and can destroy the cultural environment you’re trying to build. When hiring someone for a leadership role remember that the vast majority of your employee’s attitudes and the loyalty they have to your company get determined by the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor. If you’re picking your supervisors solely on technical expertise, you are gambling with your business culture. Make culture fit your priority when hiring new staff.

Live Your Values

It’s not sufficient to merely set your values and expect them to come magically to life. Leaders must continually communicate, lead by example and reward those who embody your business’s values. Set up a regular meeting and find ways to keep your cultural values at the forefront of your employee’s minds. If one of your business’s core values is to give more, volunteer together as a company or build a company foundation for a particular cause. If you aspire for loyalty, don’t just expect your employees to be there when your business needs them. Be there for them when they need you. Nurture a spirit of loyalty and giving by living it every day.

The Bottom Line

If you’re in the position to set the tone of your work environment, take it seriously. Competition for talent is fierce. Today’s employees are demanding a lot more than just high compensation, so settling for a mediocre work culture is a big mistake. Strive for the best or get left behind.

Contributed by:
Brian Simmons
Director of Products