5 Tips for Building an Award-Winning Company Culture

What’s your company culture? Your answer determines how your employees think and act. It’s reflected in how the phone gets answered, how team members work together, and the type of employees you attract. That’s important because culture impacts your bottom line and how the way your customers perceive you. So promoting a healthy culture is key to your success. Here are five tips for building a company culture that will win awards with your customers.

Your company’s culture is the set of impressions that help employees learn what’s acceptable and what your values are. For example, posting customer comments in the break room tells employees that you value what customers think.

Here are five ways you can build strong teams with a solid company culture:

  1. Develop a Top 5 list – Develop a list of the top five phrases everyone in the company should use. Use action words, for example, “Act with urgency,” “Listen to the customer before speaking,” or “Never say never.” Use these phrases to consistently deliver messages in employee meetings, on motivational posters or in weekly coaching meetings.
  1. Incent like-cultured recruits – Who’s better at finding new employees that fit your culture than someone who already knows it first hand? Provide an incentive to employees for finding a good match. It might take the form of a finder’s fee or a paid afternoon off.
  1. Hold 5-star employees high– Recognize your top performers regularly. It might be an employee of the month award (use your Top 5 List above as the criteria). Solicit nominations from other employees or from your customers. Present the award in front of other employees. These rituals become part of the lore of your culture and reinforce your company’s values.
  1. Take it to the streets – Have employees participate in a community service project that reflects your culture. For example, if “acting with urgency” is a core value, help with a first-responders’ organization, like the Red Cross, on a disaster relief project. It’s a team-building exercise that benefits your business and the community.
  1. Initiate the new kid – Civic groups have storied ceremonies to induct a new member into the club. You can borrow on that idea and develop a welcoming ritual when onboarding a new employee. It inducts them into the team and helps reinforce your company’s culture. For example, a hardware store might give “golden hammers” to new employees, inviting them to help build the best home improvement store in the city.

For More Information

Need some inspiration from other small business owners? Take a look at this series of videos from the Small Business Administration’s Strategies for Growth series. It has ideas from award-winning small businesses on developing strong company cultures by building strong teams.

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