I always thought that the key ingredient to operating a successful operation was the culture. I am a big fan of companies like Quicken Loans, Lululemon, Apple and Google. Their culture bleeds from their brand. You can almost tell just by being in their presence that the employees have a total buy in to the culture and they live it.
So the question is how do you infuse a culture that will motivate and inspire your team to success? Yes, performance reviews, the actual hiring process, and giving good feedback and being a great example might be important, but in my opinion, the brand’s culture should rank right up there at the top.
It is my belief that satisfied employees feel a close, intimate connection to their company, and are driven to help their employers succeed if they have a connection. And, in addition to the main factors such as job responsibilities, benefits and salary, the culture is a major factor in how satisfied employees feel in their workplace. But creating a good culture goes well beyond the typical benefits like annual bonuses and dress down Friday. It is also about establishing an environment where people feel positive, a sense of purpose, and are fully engaged — not just in what they’re doing on a daily basis, but with the company as a whole.
Based on my success and lessons on my entrepreneurial journey here a are a few of my practices I have incorporated into my program that may help you get started:
- Establishing the Goals and Core Values as a Team
Make sure that the goals that are set are actual goals that your staff is aware of. It will be hard to accomplish these goals if your crew has no idea what they are. Sounds elementary, but you would be surprised as to how many people I have spoken to who have no idea of the company goals. It’s a very good strategy to involve your team. You will go a long way in inspiring success by bringing the team together in the setting goals process, and developing a set of values all will follow. I have seen that if the team actually helps with establishing the goals, they will create goals they feel are realistic. It makes a world of difference in achieving success in establish core values and goals.
Pick a day and take the group out for lunch for a brainstorming session and get their take on what they think it takes to succeed. Share your goals for the team, answer questions, and get input. This exercise helps to build the foundation and the moral as a whole. Your team will be more likely to buy into their tasks and projects when they know what they’re working for, and when they have a sense for how their work fits into the company’s big picture and affects the bottom line.
Then it is very important to really listen to everyone’s feedback, and talk about what it will take to reach the goals you laid out. Setting up a realistic time frame to accomplish the goal is important. Afterward, come up with a set of values that reflect their actual suggestions. Not only will this help everyone buy into the same core values, it will establish a sense of accountability to follow them. By involving the employees throughout the entire process, it will help to ensure that everyone embraces the meaning and significance of the company values.
- Bringing the Fun to the Work Space
It is a fact that people spend the majority of their time at the job, so why not make work be a place that is fun and makes them happy? It is a good idea to encourage your team members to express their unique personalities in their workspaces, or come up with a fun challenge for the office i.e. adding a cool decor to their workplace. This will open the mind to creativity and also develop an environment that makes them more relaxed and expressive. Another great idea I have seen in workplaces is a trendy break room or team meeting area within the office. This is also a cool, fun way to push creativity and incorporate team building.
- Get out of the Office
Getting out of the office by far is the most fun exercise. Make it a point to allocate outside of the workplace bonding. This helps everyone to get to know each other on a more personal level, an opportunity that we don’t always get during the daily grind and pressures of timelines and tasks. These outings can super simple i.e. a monthly breakfast club, signing up for a bowling team or the famous after work happy hour scene. To ensure participation assign a couple different team members to plan the activity each month, which will help ensure that the group activities are viewed as fun, and not mandated.
- Volunteer in the Community as a Team
It always feels good to make a difference and play a part in the community we work in. Getting involved as a group is another way to build a connection between your team members. Plus, it’s a new opportunity to do some networking and establish relationships with your business neighbors, the residential community, as well as position the company as one who supports and cares about the community.
A 5k charity run/walk is a good activity. This will bring some friendly competition among co-workers, while at the same time it’s also a great way to get out and get in shape. In the construction industry there are always community projects that need our resources so a excellent way we have found to help in the community is to work on neighborhood housing projects lead by non-profits.
In all of these options you do have to keep budget in mind, but to really establish the culture leave some wiggle room in the budget to build the company culture and moral. It’s all about the long-term affect. Trust me, for what you get in return it is worth the extra few dollars. Motivated and engaged team members mean greater productivity, and that means the bottom line will notice. WIN-WIN!
In summary, to get the most out of your group and to be performing at an optimal level, and to create a space with the least amount of stress, do what you can to improve employee’s daily work experience and develop a culture where everyone believes in the company and feels that he or she directly has a role in the success of the company.
I hope that some of these activities can help you to create a cool, fun culture in your workplace. They have proved very successful in my business, and as a group we have created great relationships and memories that are priceless. A rule I adopted by reading one of my favorite books “The Art of Possibility” rule #6 – Don’t take life so serious. I mean if we are going to spend much of our time at work why not make it fun!!!
PJ Jenkins, Jr.
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