We recently wrote a blog about why company culture is important. In it, we highlighted the ways company culture could make someone “rich.” Subjectively defined, we wrote about emotional happiness, work quality, and making money.
While it’s important to understand the various benefits of company culture, it’s also important to know how to make it better. In our blog, we say you can’t force it. That’s true. But you can take steps (right now) to strengthen it. It doesn’t matter if you’re an owner or an employee – high, mid, or low-level whatever. Your position isn’t important right now, so let’s start.
First, ask yourself, “Am I a decent person?”
If the answer is “yes,” then congrats, you just took the first step to building a strong company culture. Now it’s time to move on to step two.
Step two: talk to someone.
Take about three minutes to speak with someone else. Your boss, your coworkers, a random person. Ask them how they’re doing, what they’re working on, or at least something better than “good morning.” Simple gestures like this may seem minuscule and stupid but, trust us, the whole point of company culture is to bring people together. People don’t come together when they’re closed off. We only have seven minutes left, so take a break until lunch.
Step three: be friendly.
Are you going to lunch somewhere? Ask the office if anyone wants to come, or if they want something from the place you’re going to. If you’re an employer, maybe buy lunch for the office. This should take about a minute, so…
Step four: show you’re interested.
Have someone you work with who is a designer, send them an animation or design you like. See what they think. Maybe that same designer just created something for a client, and you want to let them know you looked at it and thought it’s good. We can keep going, but let’s assume this takes three minutes. We’ve got four left.
Step five: collaborate.
Very few of us work on things solely by ourselves. Most of the time the work goes to someone else to send to another person, or a part of what you do is just a step in a much longer process. Either way, ask people for their thoughts. Just like you may have told the designer their work was good (from the step above), ask that same person what they think about your work. For instance, this blog doesn’t have to get checked by anyone but me. I can write it and post it without anyone knowing. However, I can send the link to a developer I work with and say, “What do you think about this – anything I missed?” He’s not a writer. He probably doesn’t care. But, in doing this, I am letting him know I value his opinion and input. Obviously, don’t overkill it and ask someone every time you do something, but open up. You’re part of a team, ask them what they think.
We’re out of time. It takes a lot longer than 10 minutes to perfect company culture. Surprise. In fact, you’ll probably never make it perfect, but you can make it better. You’ll notice a common thread in all of our steps: communication.
People create the company culture. If those people don’t open up, talk with one another, and interact on a personal and professional level, the culture will never flourish. By communicating with other people in the most simplistic ways, you open yourself up, letting them know it’s okay to open themselves up. Doing this creates an underlying tone of acceptance and collaboration, which is the foundation of healthy company culture. The key to everything is understanding that at the end of the day everyone you work with and for is a human. They go home. They relax. They do things humans do. If you understand this and appeal to that side of people when communicating, you’ll do just fine.
To learn more about the importance of company culture, go check out our blog. It’s a lot more in-depth, in case you have a little longer than 10 minutes to spare.