One thing I’ve learned across all the companies I’ve created is just how vital company culture is.
This is especially true when you’re starting a new company and can’t afford to hire experienced veterans who command high salaries.
So, how can you put great people in place without spending the fortune you haven’t earned yet?
You create such an amazing culture that people want to work for you. And here’s how I do it:
1. Create a connection between your company goals and your employees’ goals.
Working together with a unified vision is immensely satisfying, and when your employees understand that they’re not just creating value for you, but also for themselves, it’s even more fulfilling.
When you tie your company’s success to your employees’ success, you’re upping their motivation.
Maybe one employee wants to gain experience to start her own company. Maybe another sees a future moving up through your ranks. Show your staff that their future will be enhanced by nurturing your company and you’re creating intrinsic motivation – a mighty powerful force.
2. Let your staff set goals and drive reviews.
If you’re steering your company from up high, handing down pronouncements and orders, then goals become a chore to your staff. But if you empower your employees to participate in defining goals and evaluating their own performance, then you’re motivating them to see goals as stepping stones, rather than obstacles.
Not only do my employees set much loftier goals for themselves than I would, but they also feel like their efforts matter more, like they’re part of a team.
3. Encourage two-way communication.
Just like letting your staff define their goals helps encourage productivity, listening to your staff encourages creativity and fosters a sense of shared responsibility for the company. Keeping everyone in the loop in terms of progress toward goals shouldn’t be a one-way street. Communication works best when all the participants are active and engaged.
4. Reward failure.
The biggest reason most of us don’t try new things is we’re afraid to fail. If you come down hard on employees who try something new that doesn’t work out, then you’re discouraging initiative.
Rather than chastising employees who’ve failed, use the slip-up as an opportunity to pull together and come up with solutions. When your staff learns that they can take chances without fear of negative consequences, they’ll feel free to innovate, to risk failure and take chances on big success.
5. Acknowledge significant others.
I used to think that my staff was just the people on my payroll, but I’ve learned that’s not the case. In fact, our personal lives often intrude into our workspaces, and I’ve turned that to my advantage.
When your staff’s significant others support their work, everyone’s more productive. Look for ways to let your employees’ partners know they matter to your success, and you’re strengthening your entire team.
If you have employees, you know you can’t run your company alone. While paying your staff what they’re worth and providing valuable benefits certainly matter, you’re never going to bet the very best from your staff unless they feel like they’re part of a committed team. Your company’s culture is a critical component of making employees feel valued, productive, and supported.
Mike Michalowicz (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts and no savings he systematically bootstrapped a multi-million dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is MSNBC’s business make-over expert; is a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and is the author of the cult classic book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan has already been called “the next E-myth!”