Our 5 tips on Business Culture #doingHRright

At Arena HR, we know that a strong business culture is vital, regardless of company size, but what is business culture and why is it so important?

We like this explanation from Frances Frei and Anne Moriss, in the Harvard Business Review:

“Culture guides discretionary behavior and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is our guide. Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is of course, most of the time.”

So, as an SME, how can you make sure you get this right?

1.Think of culture as your guiding principle

You’ve worked hard to nurture and grow your business, and promote a strong brand that reflects you and your values. To make sure that hard work is reflected through your employees, you need to give them a strong compass.

Not every day is easy, and your business culture is what will guide them, if and when things do get tricky. If they buy in to your principles, everything they do will have a positive effect on your company mission, and hence, your overall strategy.

Culture is what keeps your team together, ensures loyalty, and what helps your business perform at its best. It reinforces your brand, in and out of the workplace.

2.Communicate to a well-informed public

In today’s digital age, people have lots of marketing messages thrown at them, consciously and sub-consciously, on an almost constant basis. Clearly communicate your business culture every time you engage with the public. If you do, you’ll deliver consistency and reliability to your customers – but it’s not just customers who are interested.

Young employees, the Millennials and Generation X, believe that culture is crucial when considering who they would like to build a career with. They are digital natives, the talent of the future and are fully aware of who gets the message right – so you need to get it right too.

3.Attract the right people

This is vitally important. Your workforce must understand what your company stands for and support the all-important business culture that you’ve worked hard to cultivate. Luckily though, if you have a strong culture, it becomes a self-selecting tool for effective recruitment – i.e. people who would fit well into your organization are attracted to it too!

To help this, craft good job ads – make sure they reflect your culture well. If you do, candidates will understand you, and you won’t waste valuable time attracting the wrong ones. If you don’t know how, speak to us – we can help you!

4.Ask the right questions

“Why do you want to work here?”

This is a really useful question when interviewing potential employees. A strong answer shows someone who understands your business culture and has thought about whether, or not, they’re a good fit. However, it’s easy to fake a good answer, in order to get a good job. You may need sound HR advice from someone who understands your culture, to help you drill down further.

5.Make sure you are #doingHRright

The right hire (and fire) is vital to protect your business culture. If you make a mistake, it can have a damaging effect on everyone, workmates and customers alike. If mistakes do happen, deal with them sensitively and professionally. It shows everyone around you that you’re totally serious about protecting your culture, and are a fair boss.

Probationary periods help. Managing these, as part of your recruitment process, will enable you to see if someone is engaged, has bought into your values, and really wants your company to succeed.

Once you have the right people on board, allow them to grow. You need to let them flourish within their roles. Respecting talent and letting them make decisions, will help with staff retention, have a positive impact within your company and will gain you a reputation for nurturing a happy workforce.

Your employees are a team, and a strong team, with a strong leader, working in the same direction, towards the same goal, is difficult to beat.

But, what gives them purpose? For the answer, we need only go back and look again at the eloquent definition of business culture that we shared earlier.

Strong HR + strong culture = fantastic results

Remember employees who share your vision will bring you strength and are your managers and leaders of the future. Fulfilled in their work, they’ll make fewer mistakes and drive you forward, with energy and purpose.

Get your business culture right, and don’t forget to continually reinforce it to both customers and employees. It’s intricately tied to your brand identity, mission statement and values, and will define your short and long-term goals.

It’s the most important ingredient of any successful business and should always come first.

Do you agree? What’s your business culture? How have you defined and communicated it? We’d love to hear from you in our comments section!


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