Keen to fill the roles in your business with talented, creative individuals who stick around for the long haul and understand your vision? Then you need a stand-out company culture.
But before you order a beer fridge, switch chairs to beanbags and shift the desks around to fit in a ping-pong table, pause for a moment. Employee perks are just ‘things’. They’re not a substitute for the hard work involved in building a positive company culture.
And that’s good news for the SMEs who lack a vast HR department and the budget to match.
Attracting top talent and fostering a positive culture to help your business thrive can be simple if you get things right. And that’s why we’ve summarised 5 goals any SME can use to kick-start their culture plan.
Why create goals for company culture?
Company culture is the sum of what you and your staff do and say, how you act within a business, and how customers, products and services are treated. It's the everyday organisational structure, and it defines you and your business.
By setting out goals for your culture, you reflect your dreams for the business, your vision and purpose.
What is an example of a cultural goal?
There could be many goals that SMEs might want to achieve within their culture. You might want to increase psychological safety amongst your team, for example, to allow your employees more autonomy - to feel safe to take risks & think outside the box.
It may be that you want to focus on D,E&I by providing training around inclusivity at work. You might want to redouble efforts around diversity in recruitment, by ensuring vacancies are welcoming & accessible to potential employees of under-represented demographics.
Read on for 5 goals you can adapt for your SME:
Culture goal #1 - define it
Where do you want your business to go? That’s the key question Martin Monteiro, CEO of
Culture must be genuine and form part of the fabric of daily company life – merely hanging a set of values on a wall isn’t enough.
Defining what your company does and why it exists, what your values and beliefs are within your business and what your vision is for your business are at the centre of your company culture.
He also suggests you need to focus on culture as early as possible, revealing that perks such as free beer will only get you so far before people start to want to know where the company is going and what its mission is.
Culture goal #2 - involve employees & welcome their ideas
Your people are the lifeblood of your business and they know better than anyone what kind of culture is already operating on a daily basis. Ask for their help in defining a common language, values and standards that you want your company to adhere to.
Encourage them to speak up about the good, the bad and the ugly in relation to your existing culture, then work together to find solutions of how it can be improved.
So you've handed out the surveys and have the results. Great. Now you can start creating goals that lead to the implementation of those ideas. And remember to include your staff in your company culture discussions from the start.
Not only will they have some interesting points of view and different takes on what makes a good culture, but the more value you place on their opinion, the more they'll be inclined to invest.
Culture goal #3 - appoint cultural ambassadors
Look around your team. Then communicate with your employees. Help them understand your culture goals and let them help you along the way. It’s incredible to think that each employee has the potential to sing your company's praises to customers you haven't even met yet. So, build your cultural literature and guide them to work smart.
Staff are instrumental in helping embed and grow your culture. Your customers will remember those cultural cheerleaders for the good and knowledgeable service they receive. And that’s something that will help grow your brand further.
Culture goal #4 - lead by example
It’s so important to remember that culture is shaped by behaviour. Saying one thing and doing the opposite erodes the culture you are trying to build.
Thankfully, establishing your company culture isn’t about reciting your mission statement on a daily basis. It’s about embodying the culture you wish to create in your business. You have a responsibility to demonstrate the core values of your business and reinforce them through your actions at senior and grassroots level.
Culture goal #5 - build a culture roadmap
Once you’ve defined your culture, written out your mission statement and created a core set of values, you’ll be ready to build a roadmap of how you will implement that culture. At its simplest, your culture roadmap defines the tools you will use to cultivate your company culture.
These tools can cover many things. The type of team building events you put on for instance or the way you communicate within your business.
Is flexible working an option for your employees? Could you find a way to make it become an option?
Hiring for cultural fit and culture-add during your recruitment process will help you invest in the right people from the start. Even your performance review process can form part of your culture roadmap.
Whatever you plan, remember your company culture is alive. You can’t tick the box on culture and pop it into a drawer.
Everything you and your employees do is part of that culture and will continue to build on the work you do. Which is an exciting prospect, wouldn’t you say?
Want to hear more about company culture? Download key insights & research within Breathe's People First Culture Series.
Author: Laura Sands
Laura is a writer who enjoys getting into the detail of subjects and sharing that knowledge with snappy, interesting content. When not typing away, she enjoys walks in the woods and curling up with a good book and mug of something hot.