Whether your company has one virtual office, or is comprised of many virtual offices, When you’re the CEO, you are also a role model as well as a boss. How you spend your time at work, how you make decisions, how you treat your employees, and how you think about your business and business in general, affects company culture because your employees will notice and will emulate or react to your behavior. If you’re known to be set in your ways and resistant to change, then your company culture could be one of doing things the way they have always been done. If you’re known to take your time with decisions and to consider all possibilities, then employees might take the time to present their perspective well and to consider all the possibilities too. You, as the CEO, means a lot, so here’s how you can build an awesome company culture at your firm:
Set Goals, Priorities, and Values
Without these three things, it’s hard to instill a vision with everyone in the company, to ensure that everyone there is working toward something and adds value by being there. Employees actually care about more than a paycheck and benefits. They want to know what their employer stands for, what their employer is trying to accomplish and they want to know that they are spending their time on something that is worthwhile. Imagine the kind of company culture you would have if everyone shared your vision for the company, and believed in not only what the company was trying to accomplish, but that the company could actually accomplish it and do something great.
Have Rituals to Support Those Goals, Priorities, and Values
When you ask someone from another country about their culture, you’ll hear about that person’s and country’s rituals i.e. how to behave in social situations, how to celebrate holidays, cuisine, language, beliefs etc. Your company culture should be the same way in that it should have rituals that reinforce the goals, priorities and values of the organization. If it’s a company value to be learning and improving all the time, then it should be a ritual to train employees regularly or trade shows and conferences should be evaluated for learning opportunities etc. It’s great to have those three things and to believe in them, but it’s also important to practice what you preach.
Work Environment Makes a Difference
Work environment can mean a lot of things, from the décor to the office space arrangement, from lunch hour to employee relationships. You want your employees to like who they work for, but you also want them to like where they work and who they work with. Anything and everything that can strengthen the latter two will positively enhance company culture.
The point is, make it possible for people to have fun at work, however that needs to be done. No, your employees don’t need to ride around on Razor scooters or need a tree house in the office. But, a fun non-work related event each week or a monthly activity where everyone has to participate can go a long way in building awesome and cohesive company culture.
Think about Who You Hire
People leave a position, or decline a job offer, for a variety of reasons. But, you don’t want to lose a perfectly good hire two weeks in because they simply don’t fit in with the rest of the company. Yet, many organizations fail to consider company culture when hiring and recruiting. For example, if its part of company culture to hang out after work regularly, will someone who can’t do that or doesn’t want to do that feel left out? When hiring, think about how they’ll fit in and what the person could bring to company culture. This is not only good for the company by reducing turnover and keeping talented people on staff, but it’s also good for the employee as he or she feels part of the team and willing to come to work. Also, bad hires hurt company culture by having a more difficult time getting along with everyone else.
Remember that Culture is Created by Default
Whether or not you made a specific effort to build an awesome company culture, remember that there is already company culture there to begin with. You won’t be starting with a blank slate. Therefore, when building an awesome company culture, it’s not necessarily about starting from scratch, but about setting a tone, being dedicated to living out a great company culture, and relaying that message. If you, as CEO, aren’t aware of what kind of culture your company has or aren’t aware on how you affect company culture, then it’s likely you’re just not part of it.