Company cultures that work: How to create a positive & productive work environment

Quick – name the most valuable asset your company has. We’ll give you a minute.

Got an answer? It’s probably wrong (unless you ventured an educated guess after reading the title of this blog.

Yup, the answer really is that simple. Your most valuable assets are your employees. Without your team operating smoothly, efficiently and effectively, your company simply can’t survive. You might see yourself as the captain of your ship, and in a way, you’re right. While you guide the team towards success, your employees are responsible for the majority of the work it takes to get there. 

The most cost-effective (and just plain effective) way to ensure that your team is working at its best is equally simple: Create a positive company culture.

What is a company culture & how does it foster productivity?

Essentially, it’s a set of shared values, beliefs and attitudes that guide the way you interact with both customers and each other. And no, ‘working hard’ isn’t a value or belief. Your company culture should reflect the philosophy behind how you and your team approach everything you do.

For example: Is your company casual or professional? Are you cheeky or straightforward? Are you friendly or clinical? What are your main focuses – innovation, customer service, teamwork, etc.? 

Being intentional in establishing a company culture will help you attract and retain the right people. The aim is to build a unified team of individuals who are aligned with your company values and who work well as a team.

If you’re from the old school of business days, this might sound a little airy-fairy to you – but ignore it at your own peril. Recent surveys show that around a third of today’s employees will leave a job within the first three months due to poor company culture.

As a business owner, you know how expensive turnover can be. Company culture is one of the best ways to keep talent at your organisation outside of financial incentives.

What does an ideal, productivity-boosting company culture look like, & how can I build one?

Let’s head back to the surveys. Studies have found that employees are looking for companies that are flexible, inclusive, friendly, collaborative and fun. These are the employees’ expectations and should be incorporated into your company culture. Intentionally fostering this kind of environment will help you create a workplace that is enjoyable for all. 

Happy employees are more productive. And if teamwork is required, this is even more crucial. Good employee relations almost always result in better output.

But your values need to shine through as well. It’s all good and well having happy employees, but everything needs to align to your business’s core values.

To start creating your own company culture, start by listing what you see as your company’s values. Ideally, you should collaborate with your team to find values you agree on. This is a crucial step, as it will determine how your team engages with both each other and your customers.

You can also build long-term goals into your company culture. Are you driven to create new, exciting products? Innovation is key. Is your primary goal to hone your existing offering? A strong commitment to quality should come through in your values.

Communication is key to creating a company culture that boosts productivity 

A massive factor in creating a workplace your employees enjoy is communication. Your team members want to feel respected and heard. Work with your team to develop your company culture. Ask them what you could be doing to improve their everyday lives. Wherever possible, implement their suggestions. Even responding to small requests or improvements will make a big difference, as they will feel like a real part of the team.

Once your employees feel like a valued and respected part of your business, they are that much more likely to push harder for the business’s success. 

Some non-financial incentives you can try to improve your company culture & productivity

They say ‘cash is king’, but sometimes non-financial incentives can be just as – if not more – effective in improving loyalty and productivity. Here are a few ideas to try at your company:

  • Recognise employees for a job well done. This will help them feel valued, while motivating other team members to up their game. Just ensure that the competition stays friendly – all-out rivalries have no place in a happy office.
  • Be flexible. Give your employees some freedom to work independently and to make their own decisions. Not everyone fits into the same box, so give employees the option of remote or hybrid work. You can also set flexible working hours to accommodate people who may work better in the early mornings or late evenings.
  • Treat your employees to a bit of fun. No, we don’t mean corporate team-building activities; that’s just work in a clown suit. Take them out for after-work drinks, take them to a restaurant for a 2-hour lunch, etc. Don’t hold back, either – your expenditure here is essentially replacing a raise or bonus, so make sure it counts. A R300-per-head lunch is much cheaper than a company-wide 10% raise, and employees will know if you’re scrimping and saving.

Prepare for success

Once your company culture is nailed down, you’ll be set up to pursue new heights of productivity and success. But if you’re looking for non-financial incentives because you’re simply making ends meet, you may not be able to fund expansion.

If that sounds like you, we’re here to help.

At GroWise Capital, we offer fast, no-nonsense business funding. How fast? Well, you could be spending your newly-acquired funds in just 24 hours – sometimes as quickly as 45 minutes. Trust us; alternative funding is the easiest way to drive growth for your small business. So if you’re looking to open a new branch, hire more employees, diversify your portfolio or simply take your existing offering to the next level, you know where to find us… Right here.

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