10 Tips for Creating a Productive Employee Culture in a Small Business

10 Tips for Creating a Productive Employee Culture in a Small Business

What’s the employee dynamic like at your business? Company culture isn’t just reserved for Silicon Valley startups, or big businesses like Google – It’s just as important for small businesses, coffee shops and all.

Whether you have ten employees, or you work with dad and Uncle Lou, company culture is the personality of your business, and it contributes to your bottom line. How?

Company culture defines how employees and supervisors interact with each other, and how those interactions impact customers. A strong company culture engages employees, and engaged employees are 22% more profitable, plus 21% more productive than companies with disengaged employees, according to a Gallup poll. Businesses with engaged employees also have a lower turnover rate and higher employee morale.

To help you create a productive company culture within your own small business, here are ten tips to get you started:

1. Define your ideal company culture

Consider your business’ values, mission and contribution to customers. Using this as a starting point, think about what kind of culture fits best. Every business is different. A company handling financial data, for example, may have a different culture than a fast casual restaurant. Jot down a few ideas and use them as a jumping off point.

At Fivestars, our mission is to help small businesses turn every transaction into a relationship, and our core values include the following:

  1. Shared humility
  2. Authentic relationships
  3. Warrior spirit
  4. Joy every day

2. Reevaluate your workday

How you structure your workday says a lot about your culture. Do employees have flexible schedules or shifts? Are supervisors or managers inundated with early morning or late night meetings? Make your daily structure reflect your productive culture.

3. Spruce up the workspace

You want to create an environment that fits your culture. Is music important to you or your employees? Put a record player on display, and encourage employees to bring in and play their favorite vinyl. Does your business rely on creativity? At Pixar, editors work in huts rather than cubicles to keep creative juices flowing.

Consider additional fixes such as painting the walls, organizing the cash wrap, removing clutter or clearing up untouched projects/inventory, making secure spaces for each individual employees, adding plants, or even bringing in more light.

Get feedback from employees about the kind of environment they’d prefer. Small changes like this can liven up the workspace, especially one in which you spend so much time.

4. Define your dress code

Does your business have a dress code? If you’re stressing creativity or fashion, you should implement a lax or fun dress code. If professionalism is a must, your dress code will be more rigid. Write out a specific dress code that fits your culture.

5. Provide feedback

To engage your employees, you have to build a structure that allows for open communication. There should be a way for both the employee and supervisor to offer each other feedback. This holds true for family businesses, too.

Employees want regular, constructive feedback from their supervisors, but only one in five actually get it, according to an engagement report from Quantum Workplace.

Have weekly or monthly check ins before or after shifts where you encourage free flowing feedback. Consider implementing monthly or quarterly reviews, and ask employees to fill out  surveys about their supervisors to gather unfiltered feedback.

6. Share the love

When an employee or a supervisor is doing well, say so. Statistics show only 21% of employees feel strongly valued at work.

Supervisors should reward employees in some way. Even if your employee is your son, tell him when he does a good job or let him go home an hour early. Employees that feel appreciated are more likely to contribute to the company’s overall success.

7. Team build out of the office

Team building isn’t all about trust falls and cutesy games. It’s about taking time outside of the business to interact with your coworkers and supervisors on mutual territory. Even holding events like an employee bowling night, or throwing a party for employees at your business after hours (with free food and drinks) can bring people together.

Need an idea for a team-building event? Try The Go Game. This company is creating a lot of buzz for its unique, team-building scavenger hunts.

8. Add some perks

Google offers free lunches to its employees, but you don’t have to go that far. Add an espresso machine to the break room, create contests that giveaway a few hours of vacation time or bring in donuts for the morning meeting. Create a list of small perks that you can offer your employees and try to incorporate one each month. Perks create happy employees; and happy employees are more productive.

9. Hire employees that fit your culture

Moving forward, take your company culture into account when you hire a new employee. Add personality traits that fit best in your culture to your job ads so you get candidates that fit your company’s new style.

10. Be patient

Company culture takes time. While the tips above will get you started, a business culture has to evolve naturally. In time, you’ll be able to define your culture to anyone that asks. For now, work on the little things and let the process grow.

How would you describe your company culture? Share it in the comment section below, and check out the company culture at Fivestars.

Lisa Furgison
About the Author
Lisa Furgison

Lisa is a writer at Fivestars, a freelance journalist, and co-owner of a media company, McEwen's Media.

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