What is a “Company Culture”?
“Company Culture is the personality of a company and defines what a company, from an employee perspective, is like to work for. Company culture includes the company mission, values, ethics, expectations, goals, and work environment.” –About.com
Perhaps one of the most liberating aspects of owning and running your own small business is that you are able to create your own, unique, work environment. However, you’re also shaping the work environment of everyone that you employ. As the owner, a large part of your task at hand is to determine the mission, values, ethics, and goals of your company so that you can foster a culture that suits your desires and will help set the pace for everyone else employed by your business.
Developing a company culture requires some examination. To get started, there are a few key areas on which you can focus. Here are a few questions to consider when getting a dialogue started.
- What is your management style?
- How are decisions made?
- Is there a free exchange of ideas from everyone?
- Is there an open door communication policy?
- Can anyone bring ideas to the owner and be heard and respected?
- How are accomplishments celebrated?
- How are mistakes handled?
- How is the hierarchy in the organization managed?
Large corporations often use mission statements, human resource policies, and benefit packages to help create, establish and implement the ethics, expectations and goals they have for the culture of their company. Small businesses generally have only a handful of employees, so the individual personality of each employee in a small business has an exponentially larger impact on the environment of the business. The selection process for team members is vital to ensuring that new team members share the same values.
During the hiring practice you can monitor behaviors of the potential team member for behaviors that mesh with your core values. If you hire employees who share your core values, they’re more likely to enjoy your company culture.
Below you’ll find a list of examples of possible areas to review during the interview process.
- Attendance – If your business values include that your team members are highly punctual and efficient, monitor the arrival time of the applicant during the entire process. Obviously, applicants who stroll in late with no regard to the time will not enjoy your culture.
- Appearance – If your business has a very relaxed dress code and welcomes individuality, encouraging unique style, applicants who share this freedom will enjoy your culture.
- Communication Style – Does your business see an outgoing, bubbly, gregarious communication style as a value? Monitor how the applicant interacts with everyone she or he meets during the interview process. If the feedback shows that she or he didn’t speak to others and initiate conversation, perhaps they aren’t the best fit.
Using the interview process to not only identify if the potential applicants have the qualifications for the position, but to also see if they’ll enjoy the values, ethics and expectations of your company culture is vital in a small business. The old saying, “One bad apple can spoil the bunch”, rings true in the case of small business team environments. Hiring team members who share common values will help to create a harmonious environment where everyone will be able meet the business goals and also enjoy the process.
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