It may not have the same ring to it as happy wife, happy life, but the new mantra of happy staff, happy clients is changing the business world for the better.
Company culture is not just another buzz phrase for businesses, it has prompted a complete overhaul of management styles that has left both staff and clients smiling. It simply refers to the personality or feel of a workplace, which is deliberately formed to create a positive and supportive environment for all that walk through its doors. The benefits of a cheerful company culture are plenty, including increased productivity, better employee engagement and often better returns, but the biggest advantage is secured when the good vibes rub off on clients. The big players of business, such as Telstra, Google and the Bank of Melbourne, have already paved the way, so here are a few pointers for smaller companies who want to join the movement.
Building Blocks of Company Culture
The trick to creating a great company culture is allowing it to form naturally from the attitudes and principles you already hold dear, which you have probably conveniently outlined the vision, mission and values of your business. If you need a refresher, these terms refer to:
Vision: Where you want your business to go
Mission: Your purpose, why you do what you do
Values: Your beliefs, how you and your staff conduct yourselves
To transform your vision, mission and values into company culture, they need to stop being just words on a page and truly embody the essence of the business. They need to be repeated over and over and over again, to answer staff queries and reinforce the level of conduct that’s expected. This will clearly demonstrate the kind of the culture you a trying to build, which could be anything from high performance to family friendliness. Using the vision, mission and values in practical ways will ingrain the culture into the very fabric of the business, and then staff can use it as a point of reference to guide decisions, form Human Resources strategies, devise recruitment criteria and deal with clients appropriately. Once everyone at the business has the company culture in the forefront of their mind, it can start to act as the main defining feature of the business.
Creating an Enticing Office
A few office perks can work wonders for company culture, as staff feel as though their wellbeing is a priority and their contributions are valued. These feelings help improve job satisfaction, and make for happy staff who embrace company culture because they have experienced its benefits firsthand. Features of an inviting office could include:
•Flexible working hours
•Variety in workload
•Sense of community
•Opportunity for autonomy
•Rewards and recognition for achievements
These may seem like small gestures, but that’s the point! A little effort goes a long way with staff. These are easy and inexpensive alterations that will help you recruit people onto the company culture bandwagon because they appreciate its warmth and positivity, and want to share it with others.
Attracting Clients with Culture
Once you have established a healthy company culture with the help of engaged and productive staff, it’s time to invite clients along for the ride. Clients should sense the culture at every point of interaction they have with the business, including browsing the website and wandering through the office. Employees are arguably the most important representatives of culture, because they have direct contact with clients and should demonstrate its virtues through their actions. When all of these aspects are aligned, the client will be able to clearly see what sets your business apart and how they will benefit from engaging with you.
Enhancing Client Relationships
Living up to the expectations set by company culture will give clients a positive impression of the business and position you as a company that walks the walk. Let’s use the Bank of Melbourne as an example. To create a culture that championed their Melbourne heritage and inviting nature, the Bank of Melbourne started playing music by Melbourne musicians in their offices, allowing their staff to walk around and mingle with clients, and installed huge street-facing windows. This gives clients a more personal and interactive experience, which is what is promised by their culture. By showing clients that the culture of your business is real, and allowing the entire business to be driven by its values, will demonstrate that it’s not just a marketing ploy. This will lead to better client relationships because it will foster a high level of trust, demonstrate reliability and forge personal connections that will keep clients coming back.
Now it’s up to you! Reflect on the characteristics that make your business special, and use them to form a company culture that gives clients warm, fuzzy feelings. If you’d like to keep up with our own quirky culture here at Mo Works, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.