A strong company culture is the backbone of successful modern industries. It enables connections between the business and consumer, increases employee retention, and makes your business stand out among the rest. An office with strong company culture nurtures ideas and innovation better, avoids unnecessary conflict, and naturally attracts the best talent.
However, building a company culture is easier said than done. Understanding the tenor of your group of employees can be difficult, depending on your business format. For example, in an appliance repair company, half (or more) of your employees are on the road most of the time. On the other hand, a beauty product manufacturing company will have little to no face-to-face interaction with their customers, which gives a different set of challenges.
However, whatever your business’s format, here are some ideas for building company culture that will help your business–and your employees!– thrive.
- When it comes to company events, don’t skimp. It’s up to you whether you decide to do one or two huge events each year, or numerous small and cheap events from month to month. But either way, set aside a special budget for events and parties and prioritize it! Look for events that foster interaction and teamwork and give employees something to talk about and bond over. Think outside the box to surprise your employees. Send them on a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt. Take them somewhere new, where they can have adventures and experiences that will last far longer than the party itself.
- Challenge your employees to periodic contests that have nothing to do with work. For example, offer a $40 gift card to a restaurant for the employee who can create the best paper snowflake, and then display them in the office. Host a bake-off, or have weekly caption contests.
- Have a company book club. Those who would like to participate can read books that either focus around their interests, or teach skills and business principles relating to your field. You can even set up a system wherein the company pays for the books, to make it more appealing to your employees. Within the book discussion circle, there are no hierarchies, and everyone’s insights are valued.
- Team up whenever possible. Look for opportunities to team up so that employees can learn from each others’ experience and have a more diverse skill set. This will foster appreciation for coworkers, as well as strengthening each individual team member to be a better contributor. It can also foster great ideas, since employees will have more of an idea of the overall business model and process.
- Have everyone involved in marketing efforts. The face that you show to the rest of the world should reflect everyone that works there. Furthermore, discussing who you want to be as a company and coming up with fun ideas to communicate that makes for a really fun team project much of the time.
- Have company wear. Did you know that Steve Jobs’ classic ensemble actually originated from an attempt to have a company uniform, a practice that’s common in Japanese companies in order to foster team spirit? While you probably don’t have to go as far as requiring everyone to wear a black turtleneck, having a company shirt that employees are excited about can definitely foster spirit! Have a design contest for the shirt, or have everyone vote on what the theme should be.
What initiatives have you seen to foster culture? Share below!