We asked Mark Adams, Operations Director and co-founder of Mintivo, to outline how he believes you can nurture a positive culture within your business. Having managed to ensure the fantastic culture within Mintivo is developed and improved alongside the company’s significant growth, Mark is well-placed to provide advice on this subject.
Culture. It’s a bit of a buzz word amongst businesses nowadays. Thanks to Google HQ, everyone now wants an urban, chic office with hammocks and pool tables, but is that really culture? No, it’s not. That’s just a fancy office.
Culture is how a company cultivates business growth by offering each employee a voice, while encouraging healthy day-to-day attitudes, behaviours and work ethics.
Great company culture sets the foundations for real, tangible business growth. It’s based on honest, productive conversations and helps companies to identify issues and collectively form resolutions.
Growing a culture whilst growing a business is tough – you don’t want to lose that identity you had when you first started out. Watching your business grow and flourish is ultimately what you wanted, however, with this comes the worry that your values and culture will get swallowed up by the increasing need for more processes and procedures.
Mintivo has a fantastic culture, and I’ve worked hard to ensure it has been maintained and improved throughout our rapid growth over the past 2 years. There is no such thing as having the ‘perfect company culture’, but as your company evolves, so too will your culture.
You’ll have slip-ups along the way. You’ll try things and be disappointed. Not all staff will appreciate your ideas and gestures to enthuse them, but as you get to know your staff better and share with them your vision, asking them for ideas and listening to them, you’ll start to see real results. Importantly, do it because you want to, not because you feel you have to. Without integrity, your culture may implode.
By nurturing it, however, learning from mistakes and continually making improvements, it can become pretty close to perfect.
Mark’s ‘Top Tips’ for nurturing the culture in your growing business
1. Recruitment process
You need to hire the right people. Protect your company culture by ensuring you hire not just on qualifications and experience but also by how well the new employee will fit in with your existing team. Recruiting a bad apple can cause great upset in your company and your culture can quickly turn sour. I believe that by using a team approach to recruitment, utilising different skillsets, you can recruit the right people every time.
2. The little things
More often than not, it can be the little things that have the biggest impact – pizza when working late, bacon sandwiches on a Friday, having a beer fridge. Having a suggestion box – ensuring you action the suggestions where practical – help engage your team. Offering flexible working or even simply providing a range of drinks and biscuits could help. As your company grows, however, these little things need to continue and not get forgotten about. Making your employees feel that they are looked after, listened to and an important part of your growth journey is essential to maintaining your culture (and will have the bonus of retaining and attracting great people).
3. Recognise and reward employees
This is a big part of company culture. A lot of companies will simply have a Christmas party once a year (which staff have to pay for) and if the staff are lucky, they might get a card on their birthday! At Mintivo we celebrate as often as possible – birthdays, weddings, career milestones, such as passing exams/qualifications and other successes. We have Summer and Christmas parties as well as inviting staff to company update meetings to thank them and include them on our growth journey. There is also an internal newsletter and an employee of the month award. We have unlimited holiday. We also pride ourselves on staff never having to ask for a pay-rise – that is because we give generous pay rises based on merit and achievement and don’t wait or conform to yearly average percentage increases. All these things say we value and care for the employee which in turn promotes loyalty and appreciation amongst them.
4. Open door policy – be accessible
Make yourself accessible to everyone. Say good morning to everyone. Stop and have a chat by the coffee machine. By making yourself available to your employees you are saying that you want them to be involved and contribute. It will encourage confidence and from that you can get valuable feedback to help improve and drive the business forward. In a small business this is much simpler to do, but as you grow it’s worth making the effort to do this. Spending more time around your employees will help you learn more about them and also how they impact the day to day running of your business.
I hope you find these ideas useful, they have certainly benefited us and helped maintain a healthy company culture. You will need to put time and energy into this, but the rewards are paramount, and vital as you grow if you want to keep that culture you long to cling on to. From my experience, it’s also essential if you want your business growth to continue!
Company culture incorporates these things but also so much more. What do you do in your organisation to promote an enthusiastic and satisfied team?