I’ve spent a lot of time job-searching and looking for that perfect “unicorn” job. A unicorn job for me is a place that has amazing company culture, great work-life balance, awesome pay, and of course – what I want to do. Often times a job will come along that will fall into a few categories, rarely will it fit in all of them, but the one thing I see promoted the most (if not a little too much) is how awesome their company culture is. Now, I’ve worked for those companies that boast company culture, and some fall super short of hitting that “awesome” mark. Get rid of the “I just work here” mentality and start actually having an awesome company culture.
So, if you boast company culture, make sure you have at least these 3 things: employee perks (this does not include a close parking space SUSAN), a welcoming and unified environment, and of course, celebrating wins.
Now, I don’t mean I expect you to buy lunch for the office everyday (although my company does and it’s fabuloussss), anyway, I mean standard things like: paid vacation, the opportunity to work from home, health benefits that don’t suck, you know – nice perks. With these perks comes something else, low-turnover rates. Employees with longevity in the company alert new hires that something must be going right if other people are putting in numerous years there. That leads me to a red flag alert – if a company has all new employees, all the time, they have a high turnover rate and you should probably do your research (hello Glassdoor) before committing to the position. Just remember, happy employees perform better because they want to succeed for the company that is treating them well. A happy employee is a long-lasting employee. Also, I understand not every position will have the ability to work from home, but if that position allows, giving your employees that freedom creates an amazing work-life balance, thus giving them a bit of energy when they return to the office after just working in their PJs the day before.
A Welcoming and Unified Environment
No one wants to join a hostile company. You know the kind, where Karen in accounting is giving Ben in Sales the side-eye because he didn’t call her back after their atrocious first date. Yeah, that kind of office. Where politics and nepotism run rampant and its just a dog-eat-dog world. Being a new person in that kind of office is no bueno. Coming in and not knowing the situation, you could inadvertently befriend the “wrong” person and from then on you join them in getting the side-eye. That’s not to say that you can’t be friends with your colleagues, in fact that is a huge thing in company culture – making friends! Who wants to go to work where it is serious all the time, with no smiles and welcoming “hellos”? No one, that’s who. So one way to alleviate this possibility of a hostile work place, is to offer a welcoming an unified group. Get rid of the drama-starting people and the “I’m better than you” people, and watch how quickly office morale will turn around. You can’t have a great culture with terrible people.
Also, don’t hire your friends, I shouldn’t even have to say that but it is so shady. There are plenty of qualified candidates out there, and everyone in the office will know when your buddy comes on staff with this great title (and we know he has great pay to coincide with that title). You lose respect that you once had because your employees now know this friend of yours has an “in” that they don’t have, has a pay and title that they didn’t earn, and now has a superiority complex because they “know the boss”. So, to summarize, don’t hire your friends, eliminate the negativity, and welcome your staff with open arms as a member of a “work family”, you’ll be amazed at how culture will change when people begin to feel appreciated.
Creating an environment of celebration is an absolute necessity. Granted, I want to be corrected if I’m wrong and please don’t be condescending, but I also want to celebrate the wins! As a group a company should always celebrate the wins of an employee, no matter how small. This is because a win for one member of the team, is a win for the team as a whole. You can’t succeed in business thinking that the people that work for you do it to make your pockets bigger, no they work to provide for themselves and their family and if you celebrate their successes they will be more inclined to extend their goals even higher. Celebrating a win could be as minuscule as sending a company email with a “Hey, look at what Beth did!”, or could be as grandiose as throwing a party (everyone loves parties!). Either way, no matter how you do it, celebrate your employees. Make them feel important even if the win wasn’t that important. This goes back to my first point, a happy and valued employee will be willing to go the extra mile for you, so invest in them.
What it’s Not
Company culture isn’t spirit weeks, and company cook-offs without the above mentioned items. You can throw party all day, but you can’t make people that don’t feel welcome come (and please don’t you dare make holiday parties mandatory). If you want great culture, you have to start at the top, create a welcoming and unified front, and you’ll begin to see people want to participate in company fun, because well, they feel involved.