This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Five Ways To Cultivate A Great Company Culture

Small Business

Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb once said, “culture is simply a shared way of doing something with passion”. When it comes to building work places and businesses we can be proud of, cultivating a strong company culture is key. We’re living in a time when employee loyalty is low (3.2 years is the average length of time people aged 25 – 34 stay at a company, while 78% of employees said they aren’t looking for a new role, but would be open to the right opportunity) and when the tools to source another job, upskill and switch careers and/or even start your own business are boundless.

But what makes a great company culture and how can small business owners cultivate one?

This month our resident small business expert, Fiona Killackey of My Daily Business Coach breaks down five ways to cultivate a company culture to engage and inspire any team!

4th October, 2019
Fiona Killackey
Friday 4th October 2019

1. Share your vision

All too often, I meet small biz owners who are frustrated by their staff’s lack of initiative or loyalty. When I ask if said staff are aware of the key company goals and its big-picture vision, I’m met with blank stares. The best way to engage staff is to bring them along on the journey. That means, to show them the vision for the company.

Let your team see the key business goals and how their work ties in with both. By enabling people to feel that the work they do is actually contributing to a greater goal, you inject a sense of purpose and ownership into their work.

2. See the whole person

Despite an influx of ‘fun’ position titles in the last decade — think Chief Experience Officer (CEO) or Chief Change Maker — most people today will still be employed for a particular skills-based role, and given an associated title i.e. graphic designer, marketing specialist, online editor etc. While this provides a level of clarity over their day-to-day tasks, it also means we can get stuck thinking that’s what the staff member should do 100% of the time, instead of looking at them as a whole person. What other areas of the business might inspire and engage them? What other parts of themselves would they jump to show at work?

A strong company culture is one that allows people to feel free to put themselves forward for new projects or ask if they might assist in a job that doesn’t strictly fall under their remit. If you have staff (even remote ones) consider asking them to fill in a skills matrix, then look at the areas they have interest and skills in, but little/no experience. This can be gold for engaging your staff, while also adding new skills to your business.

3. Give back

In a 2016 study by Cone Communications, 75% of millennials said they would accept a pay cut in order to work for a socially responsible company. Giving back can be one of the greatest ways to engage your staff, while also helping the wider community. For small business owners this may look like providing free services to a not-for-profit/charity, giving a % of sales to a cause selected by your staff or allowing staff to get paid for X number of volunteer days throughout the year.

4. Lead by example

A toxic work culture is rarely powered by people at the bottom. To cultivate a positive company culture, leaders need to be “walking the talk”. That means, if you shout about women’s empowerment on your business’ social media, ensure it’s backed up internally with flexible work arrangements for parents, a strong domestic violence leave policy, private locked rooms for new Mums to pump, and a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexism and bullying. Brand values and induction speeches mean little if company leaders don’t reflect the traits their brand promotes.

5. Trust and appreciate your staff

This is perhaps the most important point of all. No one wants to be micromanaged or told what to do 100% of the time. We spend the bulk of our best years, and best hours of the day, at work. Trusting that you have hired the right people, and actually granting them the space to do their job is essential in creating a thriving company culture. Likewise, bringing the sunshine in terms of appreciation and a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ can do wonders for helping staff feel valued as a key member of the team.

 

Fiona Killackey is business consultant, author and mentor for My Daily Business Coach. Sign up to her weekly email full of small biz insights and tips here

Similar Stories

Small Business

5 Ways To Make Instagram Great Again!

Our small business columnist Fiona Killackey, on how to boost engagement and make the platform work for you!
Fiona Killackey

Small Business

5 Tips For Hiring A Dream Team

How to find and hire the right employees for your small biz, with tips from Lucy, and Paris Thomson of SIRAP.
Fiona Killackey

Small Business

Building A Team · Foolscap Studio

Adele Winteridge, founder of award-winning Foolscap Studio, talks balancing people, purpose and profit.
Fiona Killackey

This Week

Design Eye

How to Create Fun + Playful Interiors, With Studio Joy’s Kristel Marshall

The Melbourne designer shares how to balance minimalism and maximalism with playful colours and bold furniture – in a way that won't date!...
Christina Karras

Creative People

A Noosa Design Studio's Chic New Office, Inside A Former 80s Club

CLO Studios' have transformed an old music club into their dreamy new office space, and it's filled with eclectic design inspiration!
Christina Karras

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Pad

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras
  13 hours ago

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Art

10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Interiors

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras
  5 hours ago

Homes

A Cosy Retro Rental In Melbourne’s North West

Dog lovers Michelle Campbell and Katy Louise share their warm and welcoming rented home in Maidstone.

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Small Business

5 Ways To Make Instagram Great Again!

Our small business columnist on how to boost engagement and make the platform work for you!
Fiona Killackey

Small Business

5 Tips For Hiring A Dream Team

How to find and hire the right employees, with tips from Lucy, and Paris Thomson of SIRAP.
Fiona Killackey

Small Business

Building A Team · Foolscap Studio

Adele Winteridge, founder of award-winning Foolscap Studio, talks balancing people, purpose and profit.
Fiona Killackey

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net