live by your word, now let’s discuss proactively building a company culture. When it comes to the culture race, we all know who the major players are. The guys who sit at the top of the food chain, gobbling up all the best candidates because their culture has become the thing of legends. Honestly, for everyone else who isn’t Facebook, Amazon or Google it can get overwhelming and frustrating. Because let’s be honest, not everyone has that kind of budget and can afford company perks like massages, bean bag chairs, nap pods and afternoon dolphin rides, or whatever else is the latest thing these days. And in fairness, not every business is suited to that kind of culture. Ping-pong tables, bean bags, and flip-flops are all great, but not every organization wants that kind of a personality, and more importantly, you don’t have to have those things to build a sustainable or attractive culture. (Yes, we just said that!) Believe it or not, not everyone cares about massages and bean bag chairs. So, with smaller budgets, less headcount, and offices that don’t have a slide from one floor to the next, how do you build a culture that gets talent knocking on your door?
WE ALL JUST WANT TO BELONG
It’s another one of those messy human truths. We want to belong to something. A tribe, a squad, a fraternity, a sisterhood, a family or even just a group. It’s why the startup world has been so phenomenally successful at attracting talent from larger corporations. They gave their employees a sense of belonging when the grinding wheels of corporate gave them only a number. Highlight the importance of team time, whether that’s a monthly event, or something as small as eating lunch together once a week. Get everyone off their desks for a full hour in the kitchen and sit down and eat lunch together. It’s a small thing, doesn’t cost any money, but brings people together in a simple but really significant way. If you’re breaking bread together, you’re less likely to let resentments build and any issues you do have, can similarly be sorted out over a good meal. We have it on good authority that there’s nothing that some great food and wine can’t fix. Literally, nothing!
BELIEVE IN SOMETHING
Find out what you believe in as an organization, and why you do what you do, and then hold onto that truth as tight as you can and shout it from the rooftops. It allows you to galvanize your people
behind the company mission so they can live and breathe it. A higher purpose and a greater mission will outplay free fruit bowls and a cereal cupboard. It gives your people a greater resolution and movements are something we’re all yearning to get behind. Start your own companywide movement. March in the streets if you have to. But shout your beliefs as loud as you can and your employees will be right by your side. Not to mention it will attract the right people moving forward, those that are organically attracted to your core values.
PLAYING ISN’T JUST FOR KIDS
Anyone can play, anywhere. It doesn’t take a certain age, and nor does it take a certain budget. You can buy a football from a dollar store these days so really there isn’t any excuse here. But basically, never underestimate the importance of play and what it can do for your business. Playfulness will come naturally as a result of a strong culture, but in the early days, schedule in some play dates or incorporate it into your work life. For example, over here at Protis Global, when a consultant makes a placement we play a small round of crazy golf in the office. They tell us about their challenges and how they overcame them, and then putting their way through the course. Depending if they make it or not, an extra monetary incentive is added. It’s not significant, in fact, it’s pretty tiny, but what it does is pause the office and for ten minutes gets the whole team focused on something light and fun and easy. It breaks up the tension of the day. Gives everyone the chance to lift their tired heads from their desks and laugh at one another. It also promotes celebrating your wins. We work extremely hard here, so we value and make time to celebrate when we have a success. It’s vital.
Because the truth is, we all get wrapped up in our work and forget to step away from our desks at times. We forget to take a break or join in a conversation around us. And those breaks, those conversations around the water coolers, the congratulating team members on their successes and even a small round of golf in between desks can have the most transformative effect on your culture. And what’s even better, you don’t need to be Google, Amazon or Facebook to do any of these things. They already lie within your people, it’s just your job to draw it out of them.