Company Culture Can Make or Break your Business
Company culture has become an important topic of conversation in the work world. It’s often mentioned as the cure for stagnant business growth, hiring and turnover issues, and leadership growth, and for good reason. A good culture makes your business a great place to work, which helps with recruitment and retention, and it helps your business perform better in the future.
We all want our business to have a great, thriving culture, but what, exactly, do we mean when we say “company culture?
It’s more complex than many people realize. There are two sides to the culture coin. One is the softer side. It refers to an organization’s mission, vision, values, and the overall experience of what it’s like to work within the team. On the flip side is “hard” culture, and it refers to things like accountability, measurement, leadership engagement, and team alignment. The two sides work together to create the overall company culture.
The tricky part about company culture is most of the elements that build it have not been created with female entrepreneurs or women business owners in mind. After work happy hours are often created with “company culture” in mind but are hard for working moms with families to attend because they tend to be the main caretakers. As a female entrepreneur, you have likely worked really hard to build your businesses around many other things going on in your life, sometimes creating company culture can fall last on the to-do list. That being said, company culture is important to build so that you can attract and retain talent which ultimately helps your business be successful. The goal should be to build a company culture where you and others want to be. As you scale up your business and enter into the increasingly competitive job market, don’t pile on benefits and workplace perks and think that you’re building “culture.”
In the book The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, he says dogs at work and yoga aren’t culture, and he’s right. Ping-pong tables and Friday happy hours are not company culture. While those are great workplace perks for people who enjoy those things, they don’t build either side of the culture coin. Ping-pong tables won’t establish the core values that drive your employees to perform. Yoga doesn’t build systems of accountability or engagement with leadership.
What does build desirable company culture is discovering your core values, establishing accountability, and fostering engagement with your teams. When female business leaders have strong relationships with employees, when systems of accountability are clear and predictable, and when everyone in the business is aligned around a set of core values, you can compete with the giants for top talent without having to bend over backwards to provide elaborate workplace perks or increase salaries beyond the market. That’s why 36% of employees would give up $5,000 a year in salary to be happier at work, and 3 in 5 Americans would take a job they love over a job they hate, even if their preferred position paid half the salary of the job they dislike.
I know it may feel like we’re adding one more giant task to your priority list right now, but trust me and the female entrepreneurs who have gone before you, it’s never too early to be intentional about designing your company culture.
The right company culture can make or break your business. As you work to design a culture that thrives, make sure you also find out the one critical number that gets female business owners to the revenue goal they’re dreaming of!