The modern workplace is more than just a list of tasks and a paycheck for each employee.
Effective managers and business owners understand that in order to foster enthusiastic, healthy and contributive employees, they need to develop the right company culture.
Recently, Nexus IT Consultants CEO Earl Foote appeared on the HR Mavericks podcast to talk about the importance of company culture, and how to go about building one.
“In business, we tend to overthink things,” says Earl. “Number one, you need high trust, and number two, your people need psychological safety.”
The fact is that ideal company culture can be an extremely simple thing to define. But achieving it can be a bit more difficult. Staff members need to feel good at work, feel trusted in their work, and be confident that their coworkers and superiors have their back.
Over the course of the episode, Earl and host Garrett Jestice noted how important company culture is in a service-focused business. People are part and parcel of everything the company does, and so, they need to be satisfied and motivated in their work.
“Your people are your product,” says Garrett.
The right culture can create a workplace that employees enjoy being a part of, rather than a setting they have to be a part of.
While it does take extra time and resources to do, it has had a significantly positive impact for businesses that commit to it—in stark contrast, just consider the fact that disengaged employees cost US businesses up to $550 billion each year.
That’s why developing the right company culture is so important.
“As the workforce has evolved its emotional intelligence over the past couple of decades, it’s something that people we are trying to recruit and retain are looking for,” says Earl. “They want to join a workplace where they can feel fulfilled.”
The fact is that the modern worker has the highest standards for the culture of their workplace than they used to. Whereas at one point company culture amounted to doing your job in order to be paid for it, the modern workplace is much different. Employees seek a fulfilling and rewarding experience—are you providing that?
“Your culture boils down to how you think about your workday and the people you work with,” says Earl. “It’s all about how we act, how we express ourselves, and how we govern in terms of what is important to us.”
While vision and mission statements can help to define the ideal environment for your business, acting on them is not so simple. You can’t just put a ping pong table in the breakroom and expect it to revolutionize the way your staff members feel about where they work.
“The team members have to have each other’s backs,” says Earl. “If you can focus on that every single day, you start to see massive shifts.”
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that culture will happen by accident, or trickle down from the interpersonal culture among your business’ leadership. Powerful and effective company culture is a matter of intention, and anything less will result in culture by default.
“You might as well be intentional about it and design a culture you want to have,” says Garrett.
Whether you want a company culture or not, your business has one. Your duty is to think carefully about what you want your in-office, interpersonal “vibe” to be, and develop a strategy for attaining it.
“Most cultures, by default, are not very productive,” says Earl. “When you’re not mindful about this process, you give yourself a disadvantage.”
“We started to really nail our culture 8-10 years ago,” says Earl. “However, it’s not that we’re there yet, as I don’t think culture’s ever perfect. It’s been a journey that we continue to work on.”
We’ve worked hard to develop a culture that’s based on an abundance and growth mindset in order to produce positive results for our clients, our team members, and our organization as a whole. From CEO Earl Foote to the newest additions to the team, we try to provide people with something truly meaningful to do day in and day out, giving them a path to follow and ways to advance.
Ideal company culture is about activating your employees—how do you do that?
In the end, company culture is what you make of it. Yes, it’s a greater investment in your business, but the return you could get is undoubtedly worthwhile.
For the full conversation between Earl and Garrett, make sure to check out the complete episode of the HR Maverick podcast.