14 May Company Culture Matter Even When You’re a Two-Person Shop
We all have those friends who hate their jobs. We’ve all had jobs we hated. In fact, many of us are in the jobs we love because of the jobs we hated. But what makes a person hate their job?
A couple of years ago, Forbes explored the idea and create a list of the top ten reasons people hate their job. Every last one of them comes down to one word: culture. Unfortunately, culture has become a buzzword and few of us even really know what it means. It’s something large company C-suites talk about and everyone else rolls their eyes.
But what about your company culture? Whether you’re a two-woman shop like we are or a ten-person medical clinic or a 100-person construction company, culture can mean the difference between whether your employees want to stay or want to go. It can also determine whether you want to stay or want to go.
The culture within a company bleeds over into interactions outside the company. Customers, vendors, and investors all catch at least a whiff of the internal culture by the way your front-facing staff behaves.
In the early years of my business, I worked with two distinctly different companies. One was a medical clinic and the other, a retailer. One company’s entire staff rated the culture an 8 on a 10 point scale with 10 being the best culture. Their staff worked hard toward similar goals and everyone was rewarded when the company won. The second company implemented high-stakes competition between its sales team which resulted in distrust between staff members.
Where would you prefer to work?
I understand commissioned sales structures rely on a certain amount of competition. It’s part of the deal, but do the salespeople have to be out for blood? And what happens when a sales team refusal to work together results in a client not receiving the best service?
Culture starts at the top. As the CEO, I set the tone for my company. What I allow to happen, how I behave, how I allow my team to behave, the type of work I allow my staff to turn in — all of that sets a precedent.
Dave Ramsey talks a lot about culture in his book Entreleadership. One of his most discussed culture elements is his no-gossip rule. If you have a problem with something or someone at work you take it up the chain of common not across to Joe in the next cubicle.
Other strong company cultures include specific language the CEO and his direct reports use, which can often be heard among staff at lower levels too.
What does company culture have to do with marketing?
I wish I could give you a primer on company culture in this 700-word article, but developing an intentional culture takes a lot more words and many more years of work than we have space for here.
Company culture intersects with marketing when it comes to your company voice, your brand, and your reputation. Employees talk. If your company wears a mask in its advertising but treats it’s people poorly, the public will know about it. Your company culture bleeds out through customer service, in-person customer conversations, at trade shows, and in the hallways of your clinic.
So where do you start with company culture?
What kind of place do you want to work? What do you want people to say about your company? What do you want people to think when they see your logo?
All these questions show up in our conversations around branding and voice. When you know who you want your company to become and what kind of environment drives you forward, start to create that.
It won’t be easy. It may mean some people, some hard-working, dedicated people, will need to leave. It may mean you need to change the way you speak to people or make some apologies. Do the hard work. Read books on culture. Takes what works or applies to your company and lose the rest.
Think your company culture must be a certain way because of your industry? Think again. Just because certain industries have a reputation for being rough around the edges doesn’t mean you have to be. In fact, your audience may find the change refreshing and be willing to pay more for your services.
Need some help determining your voice? Give us a call to set up a free 30-minute consultation.