6 pieces of advice for building a healthy business culture
When you think of a successful business, what do you picture?
More than just profits and global reach, a successful business can be defined by its culture—good or bad. But building a healthy business culture doesn’t just happen. It has to be nurtured.
The good news is that it’s never too late to start.
What is business culture?
“Culture” by itself is a difficult thing to define. Culture provides an unspoken framework for guiding group behaviour. It’s a mentality, it’s demonstrated in actions.
Business culture is the mentality that’s employed at your company. It’s how we act within the business, and how we expect others to act.
Why business culture is important
Your business culture can promote either a positive or negative view of your company. It tells people outside your business everything they need to know about it—without you even saying a word.
A bad business culture—a culture of mistrust, old-fashioned thinking, working to the limit of stress—breeds a toxic working environment. It doesn’t promote collaboration, and actively encourages people to leave.
On the other hand, a good company culture is inclusive and supportive. It creates happier staff and boosts employee engagement because they feel respected and supported by their chain of command. It encourages productivity because staff understand how their actions feed into the business’ goals. It promotes loyalty, by actively strengthening staff retention.
And if people work in an environment where they’re supported, positively challenged, and can see where their efforts are directed, why would they want to leave?
How to build a healthy business culture
1. Clearly define the values and mission of your company
Your values and mission provide the structure and goal of your business. Why does the company exist? What do you believe in? Where are we planning to take this business?
Defining your values and mission provides a roadmap that everyone in the business can understand, and works to fuel a passion for the task, the role, the project at hand. Clearly defining your values and mission means that everyone in the business understands what the business does, why you do it, and how their role fits into this. Working within the company values and understanding the business mission provides a sense of purpose and ownership over one’s work.
2. Actively look to hire people that fit the values and mission
In theory, hiring the best people should work to grow your business. But if their personality doesn’t fit your business culture, then these relationships won’t work out. High-performing staff who don’t care about your business’ goal don’t last.
It’s much better to hire a worker who’s passionate about and engaged with your organisation, who actively want to be a part of your business and then upskill them. Because skills can be taught—passion can’t.
3. Listen to all employees
Communication within a business should be two-way. It shouldn’t just be management dictating to its workers. It involves listening.
When management actively listens to their teams and encourage a culture of open, honest communication, a greater level of trust will grow within your business. Employees then feel supported by their managers.
This boosts staff confidence that they can speak honestly. They feel empowered to provide feedback, brainstorm new ideas, and not be afraid to give things a try. Because after all, good ideas can come from anywhere.
4. Hire staff that are ‘better than you’, then listen to them
It’s a simple concept, and one championed vocally by Steve Jobs. After all, your staff are your greatest asset.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” - Steve Jobs
So, therefore, it makes sense to hire talent that you identify as being smarter than you. The talent who you know thinks differently to you, who bring extra skills to the table. This builds diverse thinking and enables the business to look towards its goals with a different lens.
So look for the staff who challenge you, who push you to be better.
5. Empower team members to make their own decisions
Building trust and support within your teams empowers your staff to feel as though they can make their own decisions. They take accountability for their work, and they know that any success that comes from their work is celebrated. Encouraging independent decision-making leads to a more resilient workforce. Staff feel confident to continue their roles during any periods of uncertainty or volatility.
So give them the tools to take control of their decisions. Cloud collaboration software, shared project management tools, and responsibility for their own budget. Airwallex Multi-Currency Cards are the perfect way to enable them to make their own purchase decisions!
Building a healthy business culture means empowering your teams to succeed.
6. Encourage flexibility
Encouraging flexibility demonstrates that you care about your staff. You understand that they have lives and passions outside of their occupation. They don’t live to work—they work to live.
Flexibility can mean flexible working hours, adjustable start times to suit different family situations, the option to work from home, and even remote work. Flexibility keeps the role interesting while building in support to live a life outside of their job.
A successful business starts with a healthy company culture
It’s never too late to start nurturing a healthy business culture, one small change can start the process rolling. Anyone of the tactics mentioned above will work to build trust, support, passion, and confidence can take your business anywhere.
With the right business culture, your organisation can achieve anything.
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Related article: Building a customer-obsessed culture with Naomi Simson
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