It can be difficult to strike a balance between being your employees’ boss, and being their friend. Here is the answer to creating an environment in which you can make your employees work hard, but remain happy and motivated at the same time.
There are two key aspects to building a successful company culture. The first is creating a fun and relaxed atmosphere where your employees love coming to work each day. The second is creating an environment where your employees collaborate with each other, are challenged to work hard and improve, and are accountable to themselves and the team on a daily basis.
Here are three key building blocks that are easy to implement without having to invest time or money in training.
1. Culture of Discipline
Every organization that achieves greatness first builds a culture of discipline. This can be in the way of conducting regular morning meetings, changing the dress code, and most importantly holding everyone accountable on a daily basis
At first it was just a few people in the company who met for early meetings and as the energy started growing, the gatherings quickly spread to every department. The meetings evolved into huddles, or short, but high-energy meetings. Huddling is one of the simplest and effective ways to build creative energy and focus within your company. Employees who show up to early meetings demonstrate a commitment to the company and to their fellow team members.
-It is How You Dress
Our employees hardly ever interact with our customers. Even so, our policy is that all employees must wear business attire every day. We implemented this policy was implemented nearly two years ago, and the effect has been a more professional and collegiate working environment. All interactions — be they in person, by phone, or through email — have an elevated level of professionalism.
-Hold Everyone Accountable
Accountability is what led to the most substantive improvement in our company. To assist our employees in managing their workload, we requested that they email their managers their tasks and goals each morning. In the evening, they were to notify their managers about which tasks had been completed.
Later, we created a shared Google doc where everyone had access to see what their team members were accomplishing each day. This helped managers to work one-on-one with employees who were struggling by giving them clear direction on setting their daily agenda. This accountability led to greater productivity in every department.
3. Vested Interest
Another key to growing the company involved treating our key employees as partners with vested interest in the new culture — and the success of the company. We showed them how the business worked from the inside out and, most importantly, we gave them the power to change everything. We also began to encourage employees come to us with complete thoughts. For example, if an employee approached us and said he thought we should send more postcards, we would first ask for a detailed plan and after some time the employee would come back with costs, an offer, the states we should target, and an expected ROI based on past returns.
Over time, our employees learned to put together full plans before approaching managers with new ideas. The trade off is that when someone has a good plan, we implement it, even if we’re not 100 percent sure it will work. We trust that we have an internal partner vested in making sure the plan is successful. We’ve implemented several successful employee plans including a live event series, expanding to a new state, and launching an iPad app.
We are fortunate to now have successfully achieved a fun atmosphere where our employees come early, act professional, exude positive energy, and feel committed to the success of the company, while always pushing each other to find a better way to accomplish our goals.
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