Looking to grow? Get your culture right first
If your business is growing, you’ll get to a stage where you need help to keep up. After outsourcing the easy stuff, like the books; we inevitably reach a stage where we need to find people that will be let loose on our customers. If you want to continue to grow; You’ll need to employ people who can serve your customers just as well as you, and preferably better.
All too often, business owners wait too long before they think about staff. By the time that they get around to it, they actually REALLY need the help ASAP. Out of desperation, the employer puts a quickly pieced together job description listing the job and the skills required, without giving too much (if any) thought or attention to the master plan; to the type of person they are and the sort of people they typically get on with or work well alongside.
The result often ends with a poorly written advert that doesn’t do a great job of enticing the right kind of people to apply. Sure, they end up with people who can do the job, but seldom find the ones that share the same set of values and beliefs as the business owner.
In our opinion, It’s imperative to set the culture of your business before you grow.
The good news is that it doesn’t typically take too long, or require too much thought to create the foundations of a winning corporate culture. I often encourage my clients to create a culture document that I affectionately call “The Way”. Typically we precede the way with the company name. For instance The Oi Way, The Marvellous Way or the VCI Way.
You get the picture…
Essentially “the way” is made up of 4 guiding principles. The Vision, Mission, Values and Promises.
The vision statement is an aspiration statement that focuses on the future. The vision clearly articulates what the business wants to become. My favorite vision statement from a large company is “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online” Who wrote it? Jeff Bezos. Ikea’s vision statement is “Create a better everyday life for the many people” The vision statement for Outside ideas is “Business & Life Balanced”. The vision statement helps set the expectations for businesses customers and employees alike for companies with strong cultures helps guide the way they do what they do.
The mission statement focuses on what the organization actually does. The mission is what you do at the core of your business, and what’s required to reach the company’s objectives. Mission statements often answer questions like:
- What do we do
- Who are our customers
- How do we serve them
The mission statement is critical in aligning any new staff with the way that the business acts and helps set the rules of the game.
Company values are a set of guiding beliefs, philosophies or principles that help drive the business forward. Arguably, the values of the business are the most important things to decide on before taking on staff.
Well thought through values will usually be reflective of the founder of the business and be traits that they feel have been important in their life and in their business.
The reason that values are so important to get right before you employ is that they act like magnets. If you are a recruiter who prides themselves on precision, attention to detail. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll attract candidates with poor attention to detail if you clearly state in your advert that you are a company that prides itself on meticulousness and attention to detail.
This one is slightly more left field and not often covered in a culture document, but we believe it’s a crucial step in creating a winning culture. We encourage our clients to list out 3 different sets of promises.
Promises that the company makes to its customers, promises that the company makes to its staff and promises that it expects its staff to make to the company.
To give you an example of this in action, I worked with a brilliant builder some time ago on their “Way”. They promised their customers that their team would always dress appropriately and neatly. They promised their staff that they would furnish them with an appropriate comfortable uniform and they asked their staff to always “think smart” and abide by the uniform policy.
Setting the Culture for growth
Employees who deliver are often ones who are happy with their jobs, have similar values to you, believe in your vision, and see how their work contributes to the overall success of the business. By spending the time to create a culture document you’ll actually save yourself lots and lots of time in creating marketing messages, job adverts and other communications.
If you’re struggling to decide on the culture that you’re looking to create, drop us a line. We’ll be happy to help.
Best of luck