Active culture: 4 ways to create and maintain your business’ values and culture
As an individual, you have a specific set of values that dictate your behavior. And when you started your business you wanted to instill the same set of values to create a specific workplace culture.
But what happens when your team doesn’t share those values? Instead of being a cohesive unit, everyone goes off and does their own thing and thinks only of themselves. As time goes on the business becomes more and more disjointed, and you become more and more frustrated.
This is no way to run a business.
So how do you maintain your business values and culture? By setting clear expectations for everyone, and making the most of their individual traits.
Here are four steps to creating and maintaining your business’ values and culture.
- Have a clear definition of your business’ values, culture and expectations
Before you can expect your team to share your business’ values and culture, they need to know what they are. So make sure you have a clear explanation you can give them, and ensure they know what’s expected of them. (And don’t forget to have them displayed somewhere so they can refresh their memories if necessary.)
It makes it easy to not only create a shared culture and set of values, but also pull anyone who isn’t ‘toeing the line’ back into line.
- Set clear expectations from the beginning
Whenever you interview a potential team member, be completely transparent with them. Talk about your business’ values, and the culture you’ve created in the workplace. And then tell them:
- what they should expect in their job every day
- who they’re going to work with
- what you expect of them.
By doing this they’ll know exactly where they stand. And if they ever stray from your expectations, you can quickly and easily get them back on track.
- Communicate regularly
Setting clear guidelines around the business’ culture and values for your team is one thing. But how do you get your team to keep following those guidelines?
Get together with your team regularly (either individually or as a group) and let them know how they’re doing. Talk about how they’re applying those values, and how they might be able to do it better.
Tip: Ask your team members how they’re applying the values in the work they do? And be ready to offer suggestions. It may be a simple case of them not knowing how to apply the business’ values in their work, rather than refusing to comply.
- Find out what motivates them
As we said at the beginning, we’re all motivated in different ways, and what motivates you may not necessarily motivate the rest of the team.
So what does motivate your team members?
If you don’t know, it’s time to find out. Talk to each team member individually, find out what really motivates them, and keep it in mind whenever you deal with them. You may have a business role that would keep them motivated while they worked—a win-win situation. You may be able to make a deal where they are suitably rewarded for excelling at the work they’re doing. At the very least you’ll be able to adjust your expectations so it doesn’t frustrate you as much.
You’ll never have a team who shares exactly the same values and motivation as you. But if you establish clear guidelines on what you expect, and help your team meet those expectations by taking advantage of their own motivation, you’ll have a much more harmonious—and productive—workplace.