What makes a company a great place to work?
Five years ago, many millennials entering the workforce would’ve said catered lunches, flexible schedules, foosball tables in the break room, and beer available in the fridge. Now, people are looking for more.
Great company culture cannot be built on perks alone. Free pizza and games are not the foundation of a company that cultivates loyalty and trust amongst its employees. Instead, a company’s culture should be founded on the core qualities managers seek out when hiring employees.
From the Ground Up
When creating a company culture, start with the type of people you want working for you. Are they empathetic? Kind? Creative? These are the core qualities and principles on which your company is based.
By building a work environment based on attributes and qualities, your employees will trust the person sitting next to them. Collaboration and creative thinking will come naturally as every person there was hand-selected based on the same values.
A strong culture is the secret weapon for employee retention and company success. However, keeping the culture intact is challenging. You must be intentional about building it and preserving it.
Some of the best company cultures are built on trust and good communication. If a sense of trust begins to break down, communication suffers and vice versa. When there is no trust, issues are not brought to light to be discussed and solved. Competition can also be incredibly high in a way that is unhealthy. Employees are silently battling one another to be the best in their department.
Hiring the Right People
Hire people who share your company values. Anyone who does not share your company values is a direct threat. Make a DISC assessment or other type of personality test part of your hiring process so you can tell who will fit in best.
In the beginning, maintaining your company culture will be relatively easy. As your business grows, however, the responsibility will fall on management and those in charge of hiring. Coaching and performance reviews will become crucial to ensure your company values remain the same.
As you scale your culture will change a bit. No two people have the exact personality, so every employee will influence the dynamic slightly. This is something to be embraced while also remembering your core company values.
Check in on Your Team
Observing the office from afar will not provide the insight you need to know how things are going. You need to create opportunities for employees to express their feelings. Send out anonymous satisfaction surveys, go on a walk with a different employee each week, or join them for lunch one day.
Whatever you choose, it should be a chance for your team members to chat about life, work, and whatever else is on their minds in a casual environment. You simply want to know if your team is happy, fulfilled, and feels like they have direction at work.
You Can’t Rely on Perks
Perks are great, and they shouldn’t be ignored, but they also shouldn’t be made a priority. All of the time off in the world cannot replace poor management and a sense of distrust within a company.
Perks can also do more harm than good. If you provide too much for your employees (looking at you, Google) they begin to rely on you for their basic needs. Their motivation becomes tied to the perks and they lose sense of their professional purpose and company values.
At the end of the day, people want to go to work and feel valued and that they can trust others. They want a collaborative environment where communication is encouraged and their opinions matter. The pizza and foosball are just a bonus.