Workplace culture can be broadly defined as how employees describe their working environment. While some cultures will be defined naturally based on a small business owner’s leadership style or industry type, a lot of it will also be determined by the employees you hire and the office tone that management sets. How you implement your unique small business culture in day-to-day operations can help to attract and retain talent while ultimately contributing to your business’ success. Here are some characteristics of seven types of company culture.
- Appreciative Culture: While employees value bonuses and promotions in recognition of a job well done, there is more to creating a culture of appreciation. Studies have shown that employees prefer an in-person “thank you” or a positive report delivered to senior management. While it may feel awkward at first, research indicates this kind of approach motivates employees to repeat good performance and correct workplace issues when they arise.
- Customer Service Culture: Companies that embrace a culture dedicated to top-notch customer service recognize that meeting customers’ needs is a responsibility that extends beyond the customer service department. All employees should be aware that they are expected to put the customers first always and that office policies are designed to be customer friendly. Employees should also recognize that senior management is measuring service quality and customer feedback on a regular basis.
- Family Business Culture: Family businesses are often multi-generational and, therefore, have long-established norms, processes and rituals. On the plus side, they are known for mentoring and cultivating employees’ career growth over the long haul. On the downside, due to a family-like environment, employers may be more hesitant to let underperforming employees go. Keeping these types of employees around could have a negative impact on work output and office morale.
- Innovative Culture: Innovative companies tend to be fast moving and often encourage employees at all levels of the organization to take risks. Such companies seem to be guided by research, such as a Harvard University study, that says there is a direct correlation between an employee’s autonomy and their creative output. Senior managers in this type of culture need to be wary of burnout, making it even more important to communicate regularly with staff.
- Merging Cultures: When two companies merge, it is crucial to pay attention to combining two distinct cultures. In fact, ignoring the issue can not only have a negative impact on employee morale, but can ultimately undo the partnership. While in some cases the dominant culture prevails, it is best for merging companies to build a new culture based on shared values, processes and philosophies.
- Trust-Based Culture: While trust is arguably important in any business setting, there are companies that actively seek to foster this type of environment. These companies are built on solid relationships between and among management and employees, as well as with customers. Additionally, they are committed to an open-door policy and transparency in their transactions and agendas.
While there are many types of company culture, it should feel natural. Determining and creating a unique small business culture will take time and effort, but it could help foster a better work environment and differentiate your company from competitors. What type of culture do you have, or would you like to create? Share your experience with the SBOC community below.