Here’s an interesting fact: 46% of job seekers cite that company culture is one of the most attractive aspects they look for in a company. In fact, 1/3 of those job seekers said that they would even take a 10% pay cut in a role at a company with the “right” culture.
So what exactly is company culture? Company culture refers to a set of shared beliefs, practices and attitudes that defines the behaviour of anyone working in a certain organization. This impacts the way teams within the organization or agency interact and work together. With a rock-solid culture, you’ll be able to attract and retain great talent,
foster loyalty and grow revenue in the process.
The first step to building a culture is recognizing that your duties, as an agency owner, do not stop at hiring employees, paying the bills and bringing in clients. An essential part of your responsibilities is to lead your employees by motivating them, building trust, and helping them grow their skills and expertise.
Below are the essentials leaders rely on to build a solid company culture.
Clear and Open Communication
Great leaders know that communication is key. It’s their job to encourage a culture of open communication throughout the organization, set clear expectations of every employee and make sure that everyone feels heard.
First and foremost, you need to establish clear communications channels and guidelines. Ensure that your team knows which mode of communication suits the type of information they’re trying to communicate. Where and how should they send updates? Are approvals communicated through email or project management software? Where should the team share and store company files? All of these are questions you need to consider when laying the foundation of your agency’s communication. The clearer the lines of communication, the more efficient and comfortable your team will work together.
Moreover, you need to encourage open dialogue to keep everyone engaged and prevent inefficiencies. An effective way to achieve that is through the implementation of a feedback loop. Here’s an example of what that could look like:
Problem: Discuss an organizational change
- Communicate with your team what the change is
- Create a town hall meeting to openly discuss the change
- Ensure a comfortable environment for sharing their thoughts and opinions
- Actively listen to their feedback
- Report back with your findings and plan of action
Good leaders listen and go the extra mile to assure employees that their concerns have not fallen on deaf ears, will be acted upon and will not be used against them. This is even more important if your team operates remotely. As the leader of a remote workforce, make sure
you reiterate the importance of communication, hold regular check-in meetings, and provide the necessary tools and resources to stay connected.
A Well-defined Shared Vision
As a leader, you are responsible to ensure everyone on your team has a clear understanding of the organization’s vision. Everyone needs to be clear on what your agency does, what your differentiation is, where your niche lies, why the business exists, and what you want to achieve. This will allow your team to better understand their role in achieving that vision.
Among the many benefits of sharing a vision is motivating the team to work towards a common goal. Imagine driving along the road with no idea where you’re headed. Sure, you’re doing the driving and following the road signs, but you don’t know why you’re driving and to what destination. It’s only natural, then, to feel aimless and uncertain about the road you're taking. You’ll eventually grow despondent and stop driving altogether.
To get your team aligned on your vision, understand their goals, dreams and aspirations. If you help them reach their full potential and achieve their career goals, they will return the favour and your agency will benefit.
Leaders have to lead by example. You need to be engaged and passionate about what your company does and who it does it for.
Starting a new project can be stressful. If you approach it with tension and anxiety, your team will certainly feel the same. Anxiety can be contagious, but do you know what’s more contagious? Enthusiasm. Share your enthusiasm with your team and watch it make the rounds like magic! It’ll generate excitement, trigger new ideas, and make your team feel like they are part of something important.
So have an upbeat attitude, be committed, exceed expectations and give your best every day. It will encourage your employees to emulate you. It will engage their minds, emotions, and energies, so they give their 100 percent every time.
Rewards and Recognition
Good leaders motivate their team and recognize and reward good actions. If your team is motivated and feels like their hard work is appreciated, you’ll be amazed at how much they can do for you.
One mistake a great deal of owners and managers often make is treating work as deliverables and not achievements. They get so caught up in the chaos of hitting targets that they fail to recognize the effort and time that goes into delivering the work perfectly and on time. When good work goes unrecognized, employees feel dejected and unappreciated. They will become less motivated to excel at what they do, and efficiency will inevitably drop. Even worse, talented employees may seek validation elsewhere.
Inspire your team to think independently and creatively. Believe in them and empower them so they can exceed expectations. Creativity, innovation, and risk-taking should be celebrated. Noticing what someone is passionate about and helping them find space for that in the tasks they are doing will help them stay motivated and ultimately work smarter.
We don’t just want happy employees; we want connected, purpose-driven employees who will stay with your team for the long haul.
Connect with your employees to build relationships based on trust. Connecting doesn’t mean becoming their best friend; it means learning about what’s important to them- their motivations and challenges. This will help you understand them as people so you can trust them and empower them to have an impact in their desired area.
Believe the best about them and develop a culture of openness; being overly secretive can only breed suspicion and mistrust. Let them know you have their best interests at heart and tell them about the great contribution they make to the team. Connect with your employees to build relationships based on trust. Connecting doesn’t mean becoming their best friend; it means learning about what’s important to them- their motivations and challenges. This will help you understand them as people so you can trust them and empower them to have an impact in their desired area. Believe the best about them and develop a culture of openness; being overly secretive can only breed suspicion and mistrust. Let them know you have their best interests at heart and tell them about the great contribution they make to the team.
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