To be successful in today’s business world, it takes more than procuring a great product. It takes having the right company culture. Why? Because every company’s foundation for success starts with its people. Building a thriving culture takes work, but it is the key to long-term success.
Here are some tips for building/advocating this culture of success.
- Create a culture built on relationships. Whether your company has 50 or 5,000 people, having good employee relationships is a necessity. My workplace incorporates relationships as one of their core values, which I appreciate. When everyone treats each other as family, it helps us to realize we are working toward the same goal. It should be communicated from the top down that at work, you are a team.
- Encourage all to have a voice. The fact that something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean that way can’t be open to change. While traditional methods definitely have their purpose, a new perspective on something may be what solves a problem down the road. My company is great about encouraging people to offer their opinions when they see fit, and that is communicated from when a person is first hired. Creating a culture where every employee feels their opinion is valued is crucial to retaining employees and building success.
- Promote balance. Whether a millennial or a seasoned employee, everyone values a flexible work environment that promotes a work-life balance. Flex-time (an option offered by my company) is one way to help achieve this. Companies should encourage their employees to take short breaks throughout the day, as this will help promote mental alertness and clarity. My company is great about not only encouraging employees to take breaks, but to getting some physical activity during the break as well. A balanced workplace should also place value on personal time. The traditional minimal vacation policy that most U.S. companies have adopted greatly undervalues the intangible and tangible benefits of recharging mentally, and simply just being able to unplug and achieve personal goals or work on family relationships. Mental refreshment breeds creativity and productivity, thereby fostering innovation and sustainability.
According to Forbes, the current work-life imbalance felt by many could be attributed to the perception that the longer we work, the more we will succeed, and the notion of “if I’m busy, I must be important”. The New Yorker proposes “[the long hours worked]…may be the byproduct of systems and institutions that have taken on lives of their own and serve no one’s interests.” The average U.S. worker gets 13 days of paid time off versus, as an example, Sweden where five weeks is the minimum. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2011 rankings, Sweden’s economy actually ranked ahead of the U.S. We should be willing to work hard at what we do, and I am in no way encouraging lack of accountability or dedication. However, I am simply proposing that balance is a key factor in long-term sustainability. A balanced schedule can help to relieve stress and overall burnout, promoting mental and physical longevity; and that is a win-win for everyone.
A company’s culture is perhaps its most competitive advantage. Employers who value relationships, balance, and their employees on both a business and personal level are already one step ahead in creating a lasting culture of success. What else can be done in your company to encourage a culture for success?