How do you maintain a strong company culture? Talk to Richard Walton.
I’m proud to have always had a strong company culture of loyal and talented employees. They’re the ones who are responsible for creating the brand image and attracting clients. Here’s how to build a culture that everyone wants to be a part of:
So often people make the mistake of hiring people for their credentials. Of course, skills and experience are important, but so is personality. Your employees are representatives of your company, the public face of the brand.
Hiring your customer is often a good move, especially for sales type roles as they can empathise with the struggles and desires of your actual customers first hand, but even more important, is passion. Find people who are passionate about what you’re doing and they’ll put more effort into their work.
It will also help to create a more dynamic working atmosphere, which will be attractive to clients and future employees.
Find people who are passionate about what you’re doing and they’ll put more effort into their work.
When you hire a new employee, you have to put time and effort into settling them in. Introduce them to the team, organise lunch or after work drinks to welcome them into the company, and assign one of your current employees as mentor during the first few weeks so that they know who to turn to if they have any questions.
However skilled the person is, they won’t know how you like to do things unless you tell them. Share documents, style sheets or any information which might help them to learn more about the company’s vision and goals. People like to feel that they’re part of something bigger and that they’re contributing to something meaningful.
It’s important to create a feedback system early on so that your employees are able to share their progress and you can offer constructive criticism.
In the early days you will probably need to hold one-to-one meetings with an employee, but later on these meetings could be held as an office so that the team feels connected. It can be very beneficial to share individual achievements to the whole office so that employees feel valued and appreciated.
I ask all my employees to keep track of ongoing projects on Google docs or spreadsheets, which can be easily shared and updated, and whilst I often don’t have time to hold weekly meetings with individuals, I make sure that everyone knows they can approach me whenever they need to ask questions or express concerns.
Inspiration and motivation
As a CEO or business manager you are responsible for not only ensuring that everyone’s doing their job, but also inspiring employees to take pride in their work.
Usually inspiration comes from the way you behave and speak. If you seem bored, distracted or stressed, your employees will be able to sense it, which means you need to prioritise your health and motivation. Exercise, meditate, eat well and get plenty of sleep. The better you perform, the better you team will respond.
The atmosphere of the office will depend largely on the nature of your business and the space you’re working in, but it’s also up to you to create a place where people feel comfortable and productive.
This could be down to the furnishings you choose, for example, seated or standing desks or whether you allow music to be played out loud. It can take practise to see what works best for your team, but encourage them to make suggestions into improving the working atmosphere so that they feel happy and are able to work to the best of their ability.
About the author
Richard Walton is the founder of AVirtual, a company that provides virtual assistants to small business, entrepreneurs and start-ups. He is regularly featured in the press talking about topics such as work life balance, productivity and how to work with a virtual assistant.