Three Things to Position Culture for the Win

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To grow business, and attract, and retain top people

Culture is one of those topics that is super important, but not always top of mind. It can loom as an afterthought, it can exist without trying to make it exist, and it can intentionally be developed, but organizational culture exists whether you want to admit it or not.

To grow business, attract and retain top people, you need a good culture. There’s a quote from the famous management consultant guru:

“Culture, no matter how defined, is singularly persistent.”
– Peter Drucker
in his article for the Wall Street Journal (March 28,1991)

He’s also credited with the phrase, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” but that’s actually an urban myth; yet the principle remains.

What is it that makes people want to work at the company? How do customers feel when they interact with the company? What is the customer experience they get from the team members at the company?

Sometimes people literally just need a job that helps pay the bills. And hopefully a job in a field they want to work in. As you go up in specialization, the compensation usually goes up. As you go down in salary, there can be a lot of lateral movement and job opportunities. Since starting Sound Press in 2000, we’ve seen a lot of different circumstances that lead to success and some that lead to failure. Mishandling of finances is the top reason we’ve seen that leads companies to failure. Good culture leads to success, growth, sustainability of business through trying times, and helps attract and retain top talent.

Here are three things that will help position a good culture for the win.

  • Number 1 – For good culture, start with reasonable to good compensation.Pats on the back, a ping-pong table in the break room, good office coffee, and company parties only go so far. There needs to be a respectable compensation. At least know the market rates for the role.
  • Number 2 – Have a respectable and safe work environment. Make sure team members feel respected by others in the workplace. Make sure there are no “bad apples”. There is another phrase “fire quickly, hire slowly” that is wise to follow. Make sure people honor each other, and no harassment is tolerated. For labor roles, make sure physical safety is ensured, good hydration breaks, pads to stand on for standing workers, adjustable height desks for office, and many other such implementations.
  • Number 3 – Build relationships and care about each other. One of our clients makes sure his team members grab lunch with each other occasionally, one on one, to make sure there’s at least some intentional connecting and discussion. Group events are good, but don’t step on family and personal time too much. Foster an environment of general care, support, and concern for one another. Spend time with the team, ask about their lives in a way that doesn’t seem prying. Have quick but effective team meetings. And yes, do some company picnics with families invited. When people show they care, it can be inspirational to do the same.

We’re not an HR consultancy, but we’ve got a lot of relationships with those that are, and we can often come up with some good ideas to get things rolling. There is a TON that could be written on this topic but I hope these three (3) areas are inspirational and can help you in your work environment.
-Adam Smith