Before we start talking about culture, let’s talk about what we mean by Great Culture within a company. The thing about culture is… different people have different perceptions on what makes a company culture great. Some love it when they are given flexibility in work hours, trust to make decisions and autonomy in creating the work that they are tasked to do. Others may appreciate a company that provide good incentives and rewards, award recognition to good work, gives them opportunities to rise to leadership.
But more importantly, aligning what the owner or leader of the business sees as a great culture with what the team sees is extremely crucial. It’d be pointless for you to promote flexible work hours to a team that are motivated by perks and rewards.
So here are three things that Great Culture can do for your business, from my own personal experience working in a job with awesome culture, and trying to build one for my own company.
HAPPIER PEOPLE ALL AROUND
Why would you want your team to be happy? You just need them to do the work, right? I have seen leadership who say “you don’t have to be happy about it, you just have to do it” – which, when I’m the employee, prompts me to do exactly that – switching to what I call ‘zombie-mode’ and just doing the job. But when I was led by one who prioritise the people, I found it within myself to make sure I do the very best for that person, for the boss.
Happier people stay on. I mean that in both the tenure perspective as well as staying late (or coming early) to finish work. I’ve seen teams who stay on overnight to finish work – not just because they have to, but because they want to.
Happier people make everyone else happy – since happiness is contagious. But so is negative behaviour. And with a happy team, people generally do better work, which brings me to the second point.
HIGH FLOW OF GREAT IDEAS
Many a time, I hear the phrase ‘ideas are cheap’ – and I totally agree with that. But we cannot deny that ideas change the world. On the flip side of quotes like ‘ideas are cheap’, we have ‘ideas are bulletproof’ and ‘ideas are uncorruptable’.
Ok, so I took those from movies. But the point I’m trying to make is – don’t just dismiss ideas. Great ideas, when executed brilliantly, can change the course of your business. The emphasis is on the execution – and when you have a team that is highly motivated, loving every minute of being in your company, ideas will flow – and when you encourage them – the good ideas will get executed.
What I realise is – we don’t want ‘zombies’ working in our companies. I mean people who just turn up, clock in on the spot, and within 2 minutes after some morning chit chat, start looking forward to going home at 6 on the dot. These are people who do the bare minimum to not get fired, or stay clear of the boss’ radar. Your company will survive but nothing great will happen.
You want Talent. And my 6 years working in a Talent Management Solutions company made me realise how valuable talent is. Talent is a big topic for another day. But essentially, you need people who can make a difference, not just turn up for a job.
REPUTATION – FOR YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS
When I worked in the earlier days of my previous company – the one with great culture – it was a very small team, with a 2 to 5 people in offices across the region. We had direct access to the leadership and can speak to them about anything. This, among many other great things, led me to talk about my work when I hang out with friends. And often, many envy the work culture that I had.
When you have a culture that resonates with your team, they are gonna talk about how great it is working with you, or for you. What that means is that your reputation will rise. And people will want to work for you.
You can easily hire newbies, or fresh graduates, or job hoppers. But Talent will only work for great bosses, in a company with great culture.
On an individual perspective, if you have a reputation for starting companies with great culture – you will be able to attract the best, anywhere you go.
Great culture isn’t something that we can obtain easily. You need to put in lots of thought and understand what your team wants. There are some generic things that everybody wants, and there are some unique things that would apply to your context and the kinds of people you want around you. What we need to understand is that Culture is very much a huge part of your brand strategy, something you need to address when you’re thinking about your business.