Entrepreneur defines a corporate culture as the principles that guide how a company’s owners and employees behave. A new startup company’s leaders must conscientiously and deliberately establish its own corporate culture. There is evidence that corporate culture contributes significantly to the level of corporate success attained.
While a corporate culture will develop with or without the guidance of the founders or managers, savvy professionals recognize the necessity for creating the culture they desire. The key to building a corporate culture in a new organization that is often lacking in funds is to be proactive and honest about the goals of the company and to take deliberate action to achieve those objectives.
1. Determine Your Mission and Values
There is a reason that most company founders are careful to write a mission statement that is often displayed for all to see. A mission statement that is reflective of the founder’s unique ideas and plans for the company can be used to refer to and guide the company’s leadership and employees. Inspiring words motivate and lead a team when challenges arise and help influence important decisions that shape the company and set priorities consistent with corporate objectives.
Founders and leaders set the tone for any company. Writing down specific values is a recommended way to prevent misunderstandings when tough decisions arise.
2. Invest into Coaching and Mentoring
One of the best ways to ensure a winning corporate culture is to invest in training. By investing in an employee’s training, corporate leadership provides their team with the tools they need to achieve corporate goals and advance their career. Mentorship is an excellent way to help newcomers adjust and feel welcome as they join the company.
Mentors also set the tone with new employees by helping them understand the corporate culture so they can fit in and feel like an important part of the team. Close relationships within teams between mentors and “new hires” foster teamwork and shorten the learning curve so that employees get up to speed quickly.
3. Encourage Action and Acknowledge Each Employee
A winning corporate culture promotes efficiency and improved profitability, while a negative or counterproductive corporate culture does just the opposite. Developing the type of company culture that is necessary for success requires deliberate and diligent leadership and guidance from founders and management teams. Left to its own arbitrary devices, corporate culture will be shaped by anybody and everybody who decides to weigh in at the time.
In small startup companies, trust is especially important. Employees must feel like they can approach upper management about sensitive topics and important changes.
4. Establish Continuous Feedback
Policies and practices can change quickly in a startup business. That means open communication and continuous feedback are the only way to guarantee continued progress. Constantly analyzing policies and procedures means startups can make important changes before costly mistakes get out of hand.
It is important to remember that feedback goes both ways. Owners and managers should communicate business successes and challenges so that employees feel invested in corporate success. Tracking goals and progress provides inspiration and a sense of camaraderie.
5. Promote Respect and Accountability
A winning corporate culture demands both accountability from, and respect for all team members. Establishing attainable goals and expecting employees to meet them are two critical hallmarks of a corporate culture that works well as a team. Benchmarks establish definite goals that employees should be held accountable for their results.
By promoting an atmosphere of respect, feedback can be given without negative repercussions. Feedback is critical for improving efficiency and competing successfully.
Corporate culture can make or break a startup company. Unlike more established companies, a new company can establish rules, practices and policies to create the culture they want. Companies can incorporate some of the five ideas above to create a corporate culture that will serve to advance the mission of the founders and management team.
Corporate orientations and corporate events are tools designed to bring team members together and build relationships. These two tools are used by many leaders as ways to build a corporate culture worthy of envy.
Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter: @ericdavidgordon