By Lily Pollard
Culture is defined as the ideas, social customs and behavior of a particular group of people. And if you look at corporate giants like LinkedIn, Adobe and Salesforce, what stands out aside from their undeniable success is their company culture. Business Insider reports that employees from these companies raved about the benefits, collaborative spirit, and community involvement — all part of their collective culture — promoted by their respective organizations.
For female founders, building and growing a business is the perfect opportunity to shape a culture that values gender equality and empowers women to keep rising through the ranks. None of these just happen to fall into place; they are goals that are established from the ground up – fostered consciously and with intention. So if you’re looking to build a great company culture for your organization or startup, here’s what you need to do.
#1 Define your ideal culture and act on it
The first step to building company culture requires evaluation. In this process, you should be able to identify your organization’s values and overall beliefs. This will inform the changes in management styles and new initiatives that you might need moving forward. For example, social enterprises might look at instilling the importance of community giving. Leaders in other forms of businesses might have to decide whether they’ll be more satisfied with a team of easy-going creatives or competitive professionals in a fast-paced environment. Think of the benefits and drawbacks of each and decide what sacrifices you’re willing to make in forming a culture.
#2 Clarify each employee’s purpose
Maybe you’re the type of boss who gives their staff free rein in performing their duties. That’s all well and good, but you still need to establish what it is you want to get from your employees — otherwise, the lack of clarity can lead to confusion and lack of motivation. It’s important to look beyond day-to-day tasks and help employees grasp their specific role in the grand scheme of things. By doing this it instills a sense of belongingness to the organization, which thereby increases motivation.
#3 Motivate with rewards
Another way to boost motivation and shape company culture is through recognition and rewards. Six Degrees Society previously noted that showing respect and appreciation to fellow female employees can be extremely empowering. Considering that women are still undervalued in many workplaces, simple words to acknowledge their hard work and skill can go towards the greater goal of reaching gender equality. On top of that, companies can also create a rewards system with more tangible benefits, such as increased pay, and continue upskilling their employees. Researchers from Great Place to Work found that professional development is also a critical factor to a great company culture. This means offering access to further studies, workshops and development programs wherein employees can cultivate a culture of continuous learning and hone their skills.
#4 Establish genuine connections
Contrary to popular belief, business is a highly personal endeavor. Other than partners and clients, you also rely on employees and colleagues for success. This requires forming authentic connections as part of your company culture, especially since you spend a third or more of your day in the same environment. Indeed, Special Counsel’s legal consultants emphasize the importance of personal connections, especially in intimidating areas of law or technology. When solving problems within the team or with consultants and suppliers, it’s important to remember that there is never a one-size-fits-all approach to the business world. Personal connections ensure that you are able to weather any challenges stronger by doing it together.
#5 Promote work-life balance
When the physical, mental, and emotional states of your staff suffer, so too does the quality of their work. In fact, Fast Company reports that satisfied employees are 12% more productive than those who are not, as happiness boosts one’s creativity and problem-solving skills. Therefore, it’s up to the company to cultivate an environment that prioritizes the overall health and wellness of employees. Simple things you can do might be implementing wellness programs, stocking the pantry with healthy food, and providing remote or flexible working opportunities. The main thing is to ensure a work-life balance in your employees so that they can take care of themselves in and out of work. By providing a culture that helps them thrive, you can ensure not only the quality of their output, but also the cohesiveness of your community within the business.
For more opportunities in female leadership, empowerment, and networking, be sure to explore Six Degrees Society events.