Over the course of my career, I’ve been both the young entrepreneur and the seasoned leader. In both roles, I have discovered that the foundational tenets of a successful corporate culture remain constant.
No matter the industry, the annual revenue or the number of employees, a truly great CEO will define and cultivate a strong corporate culture. In it, the company’s leadership participates from the floor rather than the fortress and the team is empowered and feels appreciated.
Step down from the ivory tower
Whether you’ve built your company from the ground up or you’re stepping into a leadership role at an established business, it’s essential to step back and observe the current culture and determine how to assimilate from the start before you walk in with a blind takeover.
If you sequester yourself in your office in an attempt to establish rank, or work exclusively with direct reports and executive peers, it can be hard to see and experience the one-on-one interactions that define the culture from the employee perspective.
Eat in the lounge or break room. Attend meetings of the rank and file, not just the C-suite. Don’t say you have an open-door policy; walk out that door and be accessible to your team. It’s the only way to identify what elements should be fostered and which components could use guidance and improvement.
Provide real world perks
Contrary to popular belief, you can likely put away the Xbox, pingpong table and endless soda. Today’s employees are looking for real perks in the form of resources. Whether it’s better health care coverage for family members, managerial training, outside education, remote work opportunities, flexible hours or even healthful snacks or workout opportunities, it’s important to support your team with whatever they need to perform to the best of their abilities.
Taking the time to discover and execute on the team’s needs in and out of the office will increase retention of valuable talent and ensure a positive work environment.
Encourage peer support
Satisfied employees work better together for the greater good. It’s been proven that teams are more effective when they collaborate. It’s important for leaders to instill values of ongoing education, learning and questioning. Promoting transparency will decrease competition, improve performance, increase innovation and keep morale high.
Programs and tools must be implemented that support information transmission, like ongoing internal cross-training and mentoring programs. Providing opportunities for specialists to learn new skills and concepts from each other better equips every teammate to resolve issues.
Corporate culture encompasses many, but it starts with one — the one at the top. It’s your responsibility to both establish and honor company values and permeate them into the workplace, while simultaneously listening to employee needs. Show that you’re part of the team and you will nurture a culture everyone can get behind. ●
Name: Ronald Burr
Title: Chairman and CEO
Company: CallFire Inc.
CallFire Inc. is a technology company providing voice and text connectivity to more than 100,000 businesses. Ron is the holder of eight Internet technology patents in online advertising and market research.
How to reach: CallFire Inc., (877) 897-3473 or www.callfire.com