For many years when I first got into business, I didn’t pay attention to culture.
‘What’s culture, anyway? Sounds woo-woo’
I just thought business was about making sales, banking cash, paying for everyone’s salary… do these, I thought, and things would be all good.
Eventually I realised the importance of having an incredible business culture.
Because if you look after your staff well, they will look after your clients well.
And if your clients, in turn, will look after your business well. They’ll pay their fees, refer your service to others, and keep coming back to purchase from you again and again.
Now, looking after your staff well doesn’t mean putting in a pinball machine and filling the fridge with free Kombucha.
It means creating a culture that they want to belong to. Somewhere they feel like family, and are proud to be involved with your mission.
What is company culture?
Culture is essentially the DNA of your business. It’s the values that guide your staff in how they interact with each other and with your clients. It’s how your team are aligned around your vision and mission, and are actively pursuing excellence around these.
Having a strong set of values that everybody ‘buys in’ to, and a business environment that supports and champions your staff to bring their best to work is paramount for your business to reach its potential.
Why Is Culture So Important
I sometimes work with corporate clients, and as part of that I’ll go into the business and talk to the staff. In places where the company has a strong culture, I’ll often find people who have been working for the business for 10 years or more.
Now, staying in a job for 10+ years used to be the norm. But in today’s fast moving world, it’s getting rarer by the second.
So why did these people devote a decade of their lives (or more) to a particular business?
They could probably get more money somewhere else. They might be promoted faster somewhere else. What makes them stay?
In my 10 years of business coaching experience, I’ve noticed it’s always the businesses that take care of the staff the most that have the most long-term employees.
But business culture can’t be rolled out like a Friday morning memo. It’s not a new initiative that gets picked up for a while then quickly forgotten.
Developing a business culture takes time, persistence, guidance, and most of all, effective leadership.
If you want to create a culture that allows you to attract and retain A-grade staff, you need to implement coaching into the business. By coaching, I’m not necessarily saying to hire someone like me (a business coach).
But you do need to build coaching into how you interact with your staff.
How often do you sit with them and find out about how they’re going personally?
How often do you find out what their goals are?
What they’re stuck on? What they’re struggling with?
How they’re going with their projects?
How they’re contributing to the company culture?
Building culture plays a significant role in building a business that works without you.
If you have a phenomenal culture of people who believe that they belong, and have their core needs met, they’ll go above and beyond for your business.
On the flip side, if you’ve got a toxic culture, you’ll feel it. If your business is full of people who don’t want to be there, who don’t enjoy what they do, and who feel no connection with each other, you’ll constantly be struggling to keep the wheels turning.
Why is culture important?
As humans, we all have 6 Core Needs. And we’re always fulfilling them, either resourcefully or un-resourcefully.
Tony Robbins talks about them a lot. Our 6 core needs are:
- Certainty. Can we pay the bills? Is our healthcare secured? Do we have a safety net for if things go wrong? Most of us are driven primarily by this need.
- Uncertainty. We also crave a level of variety and adventure in our lives. We’re not robots, we need new challenges and other stimuli to keep us engaged and enjoying life.
- Significance. As a socially-bonded group species, our survival is based on our ability to belong to a functioning group. But a by-product of that group mentality is a need for significance within our group. We need to feel important, special, like we matter.
- Love and connection. We’re emotional beings, and need to feel love and connection to survive. Loneliness can actually kill us - just look into the studies on this and you’ll be surprised at just how deadly it is.
- Growth. We need to be developing ourselves in some way to thrive in life.
- Contribution. Making a difference in the lives of others fulfils us on several levels, not just physically but emotionally, socially, and spiritually too.
If your staff’s core needs aren’t being met, they might still hang around for the paycheck (certainty). But over time, they’ll start yearning for a new place that fulfils more of their core needs. That’s when you start to see absenteeism, and high turnover.
How Can A Business Coach Help Improve Your Corporate Culture
As a business leader, it’s your responsibility to instill a strong and healthy company culture in your staff. If you’re looking for guidance on developing a positive culture that attracts better staff in your business, The Game Changers might be able to help.