Creating a successful startup or small business takes more than a great product, a detailed business plan, and sufficient capital in place. It's about more than spreadsheets and financial statements. You also have to work on the spiritual side, building a dynamic, engaging culture.
As a small business, you'll only achieve your goals with a tight-knit, productive team. To get there, you'll need to promote healthy attitudes and nurture the best performances you can over the long haul.
That's what culture can do for you. A happy workplace is a productive workplace. Here, you'll learn the importance of creating a healthy company culture -- and how to foster the ideal attitude to drive growth at your small business.
The Value of Culture
A lot of the discussion around culture can get inexact and philosophical. It can sometimes sound like people getting together to chat rather than get things done. And, as a small business owner who needs to look at the bottom line, maybe that doesn’t seem right.
Well, don't mistake culture for a pie-in-the-sky subject. It can have a concrete impact on your financial results. Creating the right corporate atmosphere can fast-track growth at your startup.
Just look at the numbers. One study done by Gallup showed the companies with better cultures have 33% higher revenue. That's a substantial boost from cultivating the right environment.
One study done by Gallup showed the companies with better cultures have 33% higher revenue.
Here are four distinct ways culture can help your small business:
Startups succeed or fail on the talents of their employees. You need to attract hard-working, innovative team members. And, often, you won't have the same resources as many of your competitors.
Culture can help you attract and keep the right type of employees.
Statistics back this up. More than two-thirds of job candidates (69%) say they'd reject a job offer from a prospective employer that had a bad reputation. Don't let this happen to you. With the right culture, you'll obtain the industry standing you need to nab the top job candidates.
Meanwhile, nearly half of workers (46%) categorize company culture as "very important" when looking for a job. Get this part right, you don't always have to come with the biggest offer to score the best candidates. A strong culture can become an equalizer for you in the market.
Culture continues to help you once you've hired your employees. A positive work environment also lets you get the most out of the talent you have on staff.
There is a strong correlation between happy employees and productive employees. For instance, one study found that engaged employees tripled the performance of those with low engagement.
Culture also impacts how you interact with your clients. It informs how your customer-facing employees interact with the outside world. It will also determine decisions made when dealing with specific situations.
Should a salesperson offer a discount to a particular client? Should your customer service rep provide a refund to a disgruntled client? Should a manager approve a charitable donation?
The answers to these questions will largely come from your cultural standards. This, in turn, will impact how your business is perceived in the marketplace. A strong culture will help you draw the right kind of attention and can accelerate your sales growth.
Management represents the wellspring of culture. Remember the 33% increase in revenue attributable to culture? About four-fifths of that value derives from having the right managers in place.
A good culture helps you attract strong managers. At the same time, the right managers allow you to develop a winning culture. It's a virtuous cycle that requires your utmost attention.
That’s because all this begins with you. As the owner of your small business, you set the tone for everyone within your organization. That's why it's important to define your values and make sure you communicate them to everyone else. Live your culture every day and others will follow your lead.
How to Improve Mental Health in Your Company
Mental health has become a crucial topic in recent years. Once rarely discussed in public, it has developed into a key concern for employers and employees alike.
As an employer, you receive an ongoing dividend by encouraging good mental health among your staff.
Excessive workplace stress costs between $125 billion and $190 billion a year -- up to 8% of U.S. healthcare spending. That's the societal bill for dealing with all those burned-out workers. What's your cost as an individual business owner?
Well, one estimate suggested that a disengaged worker forces you to waste about a third of that worker's salary. That means a bad culture causes you to lose the productivity of one out of every three workers. That's a big cost for not paying attention to mental health.
So what can you do to improve the situation? Here are three key steps you should take:
Prioritize Work/Life Balance
Startups come with a particular culture. Often, this prioritizes hard work and dedication. To get the most out of limited resources, small business owners often encourage their workers to work long hours and meet aggressive deadlines.
Your employees are probably happy to show this level of commitment. One of the perks of working for a smaller company is the chance to shine -- to take on extra responsibility and to build something from the ground up.
Your team's willingness to push themselves puts an added impetus on you. Sometimes, you have to be prepared to say "enough."
Don't just tolerate work/life balance. You need to actively encourage your employees to take the time they need to recharge and maximize their mental health.
Open a Discussion about Mental Health
Mental health problems fester in silence. Every job has its stressors but there are steps you can take to prevent these from escalating into a major problem.
Create a culture of open communication about mental health. Show that you are willing to talk to your workers about the subject. Also, look for signs of burnout. If you see an employee struggling, find out how you can help.
Check Your Health Insurance Plan
You can provide the emotional support your workers need, but still not do enough to encourage mental health. As an employer, you have to consider the financial and logistical framework as well.
Make sure your health insurance covers mental health issues. If not, shop around for one that does or look into offering supplemental coverage. That way, vital services will remain affordable for your employees.
At the same time, look at your own policies. Do your sick-time rules include mental-health concerns? Do you know how to spot signs of burnout and overwork? Do you have systems in place to react to red flags about mental health? Correctly answering these questions will help you improve the mental health of your employees.
Achieve Success Through Culture
As you build your small business, make culture a priority. By generating a positive company culture, you help your startup in several distinct ways at once. You give yourself the best chance of landing the right employees, you derive the highest value out of the staff you have, you maximize your ability to foster a dynamic management team, and you improve relations with your customers.
By generating a positive company culture [...] you give yourself the best chance of landing the right employees, you derive the highest value out of the staff you have, you maximize your ability to foster a dynamic management team, and you improve relations with your customers.
In this way, your bottom line becomes intimately tied to the happiness of your employees. By creating an organization your staff members are happy to be a part of, you get the best of both worlds. You make their lives better at the same time you maximize your chances of success as a small business owner.