Corporate culture includes management style, engagement, communication, interaction and working relationships between owners, contractors, consultants, staff members and managers. When owning a small business, whether it be with 10 or 100 people, a company culture should be developed and maintained. According to QuickBooks Resource Center Intuit Small Business Blog, successful small businesses incorporate a corporate culture that promotes creativity, productivity and an environment of respect. “The value of a great company culture can’t be overstated,” business analyst Mike Randazzo explained in the blog. “But business owners and managers place far too much pressure on themselves to achieve it. Plant the seeds so the desired climate can grow independently of your consistent, conscious effort.”
There are many small business owners who will say that creating a corporate culture is easier said than done. Some have the opinion that it is a business, not a corporation, so it is not necessary or important. Some business owners feel that since it is their business, staff should follow their lead. Many owners focus on cultivating new business, managing payroll and doing "important" work with no need to develop and maintain a corporate culture. These reasons may be valid, but it is still a big mistake and can lead to problems such as employee turnover, miscommunication and overlooking important professional relationships outside of the business.
When the corporate culture is well developed, everyone contributes with individual strengths and gains a personal sense of satisfaction. There is increased loyalty, a desire to build the business and a feeling of fitting into the workplace. According to Randazzo, it is important to remember that being qualified for a job is only one aspect of a potential candidate. The individual needs to demonstrate that they are a good fit for the position. The business model of leading by intimidation and fear is outdated, especially for the millennial generation that is the largest demographic in the workforce and still growing in numbers. Owners should lead by example and set the mood of a common goal of success for everyone. This include the collective effort to grow a business as well as work with individual aspirations and plans.
This doesn't mean boundaries should not be set and respected. Boundaries differ for both the industry and the people maintaining a work-life balanced career. Financial institutions are certainly managed differently than tech or creative companies. However, the foundation for all industries is the same. It includes respect for everyone's opinion, guidance for younger staff members, appreciating older staff members and open communication.
While the financial or legal industry may require a different tone in the workplace, scheduling fun times after hours is one way to engage those who are part of the business, whether they are a contractor, manager or staff. Volunteer opportunities are another way to create a common goal and establish a corporate culture of giving back to the community. Cross training and preparation are invaluable for vacations and other emergencies.
A corporate culture is not a shackle or burden. It is an effective way to develop, grow and maintain a successful business.
This article was written by Debbie Hall for Small Business Pulse