Company culture through the lifecycle of a business, Part Three: Adapting your culture as your company grows

So your company is growing—congrats! That’s a good sign that you’re doing something (or a lot of things) right. As your company grows and expands both internally and externally, you will need to adapt what is at the core of your business so that your company’s values and culture stay intact as it scales. In part three of this blog series, I will be discussing how to adapt your company culture as your business grows.

 

Consider culture when hiring.

As your company grows, you will inevitably have to hire more employees. As you hire, be sure you are looking for people that will fit your culture and already share the values that you have at the core of your business. Behavioral interviewing and conversational methods can help identify these traits in your potential new employees. Hiring employees that already fit into the company culture will help maintain it as you continue to add to your team. You can also consider offering a referral bonus to your employees to encourage the great people you already have to help you find other good fits.

 

Go beyond technology—get out of the office!

It is easy (especially in today’s world) to get stuck behind a screen. New hires may receive friendly emails, and employees may talk via g-chat…but nothing replaces the authentic connections made from having time face-to-face. If you are serious about investing in your culture, hold events in and out of the office that will help bring your team together. As your team becomes more connected, your culture will become (and remain) cohesive.

 

Think like a small business.

This is a great point discussed in an article by Jason Richmond from Business.com that I would like to expand on. As your company scales, it may grow out of the “small business” category. Even so, to keep your company culture evident throughout your company, you should try to uphold the values and communication styles of a small company. As Richmond explains, keeping communication open and continuously getting to know your employees as people become even more important in a growing company. The more in-touch you are with your team, the more opportunity you will have to exemplify and lead with your company values, further nurturing your relationships with your team as well as the culture you have created.

 

Make culture everyone’s job.

I believe this point from Ben Davis included in Inc truly sums up how to continue to have a winning culture in a growing company: make it everyone’s job. As a leader, you have created a culture based on values and beliefs, and you have surrounded yourself with people who have “bought in” to your vision. When employees take responsibility for upholding culture, not only will they be more satisfied with their own work environment, but they will help keep your company culture intact, even as your business and team continues to grow.


If you would like to learn more about my philosophy and how you can implement it into your business, get in touch with me. I would love to help take your business to the next level.

Company culture through the lifecycle of a business, Part Two: How to cultivate and nurture your company culture

Company culture through the lifecycle of a business, Part Two: How to cultivate and nurture your company culture

So you’ve created an awesome company culture, now what? In this second part of this blog mini-series, I would like to talk about cultivating your culture so that the values and ideals that you have brought to your company stay front of mind.

Communication is key

Now that you have a positive company culture, it’s time to focus on keeping transparent, open communication with your people. Transparency not only keeps everyone on the same page, but it creates a sense of trust. Take it from Communications Expert Kit Pang…he emphasizes the multifaceted benefits of quality communication in a business. Having a strong voice as well as empowering your employees to join in on the conversation is invaluable to creating and maintaining your company culture.

Listening to your people

So I just talked about communicating, and a huge (and vital) part of communicating is listening. Part of maintaining a good company culture is being in tune with what’s working and what isn’t. Make sure that your employees feel heard when they have ideas, issues, or input. The people who know the most about your culture are the ones who are immersed in it every day, so be sure to listen and be receptive to feedback. Businesses are constantly evolving, and you may have to make some tweaks internally (to your culture or something else!) to keep it working like a well-oiled machine.

Stick to your values and promises

Changes can occur in your company that may throw you or distract you from the values you have set into place as pillars of your culture. Always come back to the basics of how you built your culture. Any strong culture is built on an even stronger foundation, so remember what values you built your company culture on, and bring those back into view if your company or team begins to stray.

Be a human

This may seem obvious…but some companies and leaders become so corporate-minded that they lose their sense of being human. It is so important to me to be approachable, authentic, and down-to-earth. I treat my employees with value and respect. Employees who feel valued and heard will be loyal assets to your company, and in turn, will play a large role in maintaining and nurturing your company culture.

Stay tuned for the next part of this blog series, “Company culture through the lifecycle of a business, Part Three: Adapting your culture as your company grows.” I am excited to continue sharing my knowledge on this subject! If you would like more information, feel free to reach out to me. I would love to share my expertise with you and your team!

Company culture through the lifecycle of a business, Part One: What makes for A Positive, World-Class Company Culture

A great company culture means success—for your business, for your employees, and for you. Even corporate giants like Deloitte have found a strong correlation between culture and success. According to their research discussed in Forbes, “94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct corporate culture is important to a business’ success.” Your company’s culture affects everything from employee happiness to the quality of the work, to client satisfaction, and it will evolve as the company grows and changes.

In my next few blog posts, I will be talking about how to manage culture through the lifecycle of your business. But first, you have to create a company culture. Here are the main factors that can help you create a truly exceptional company culture.

 

A “People First” Mentality

A superior company culture begins here. A company that puts its people first will inevitably have a core of devoted, motivated, and happy employees. Putting people first might mean offering great healthcare coverage, the opportunity to work from home or take sabbaticals, providing resources for continuing education, or something else. The point is, we treat our employees like family…and they, in turn, treat our clients the same way!

 

Encouraging creativity, growth, learning

This goes along with the “people first” mentality, but I believe it is important enough to have its own section! Allowing your employees to voice their ideas, collaborate, think outside of the box, and continue to learn and grow their skill sets is vital to great company culture. This will help your employees maintain their sense of purpose, and ensure that your team enjoys coming to (and being at) work.

 

Philanthropy

It is incredibly important to get involved in something bigger than yourself. You can (and should!) bring this into your company culture. I believe in this so much that we have our own full-time director of philanthropy at Fingerpaint! Integrating philanthropy and emphasize the importance of serving others in your community is a great way to further engage your employees in a wonderful culture.

 

Leading by example

The best way to teach is by example, and the same goes for leading, as well. All of the above points are great, but a great company culture starts with you! Your team is much more likely to adopt and live by these ideals if their leader is showing them how to do so! Set the standard for what you want your culture to look like, and the values you want your company and employees to live by.

 

I would love to share more of my philosophy with you. Visit my website to get in touch!

Empathy

How empathy and culture should influence your agency decision

There is a lot to think about when you are considering working with an agency. The price tag and hard numbers are probably top of mind, but there are a few “softer” qualities that you should be evaluated as well. Empathy and company culture should actually be a major part of your decision to work with an agency or not.

The role of empathy

I feel empathy is a powerful trait in business in general.  Having empathy for your employees gives them a sense that you care…that you value them above profits and you care about them as human beings.  At Fingerpaint, I try every day to ensure my employees feel valued. This helps create an environment of loyalty. It also shows them how I want them to treat our clients.

Corporate empathy has been repeatedly proven to yield success for the companies that prioritize it. As stated in an article from Harvard Business Review, “empathy pays, and it pays best when it comes from the top.” Empathy can, in fact, be measured and a higher empathy quotient correlates with a strong culture and successful business, as displayed by companies topping the list of empathetic companies, including LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Audi.

Our clients should care about empathy from their agencies. Does the agency care about our success, our brand, our people? Will they go the extra mile to ensure we are successful? Will they be there for us when the chips are down? What about when there is a tight deadline?  Will they go above and beyond even if we don’t have anything remaining in the budget? The best agencies combine great strategy and creativity with a true sense of empathy and caring for their customers.

Company culture as a competitive advantage

The culture of an agency says a lot about them. If you view company culture strictly as an internal factor in business, I challenge you to rethink this. I believe that your company’s culture is an asset and can give you a competitive edge if it’s carried out the right way.

I hear a few common complaints about agencies, and they can all be tied back to the quality of the culture. High turnover, a team that isn’t engaged and is saturated with junior-levels, and not being treated like a priority are all results of something being amiss within the culture.

Employees who feel valued, motivated, and truly love what they do and where they work will treat clients with the same respect, dedication, and enthusiasm.

My advice

Teach your people how to treat your clients through leading by example. Practice empathy, make them feel like a priority and encourage creativity. The effort you put into cultivating a first-class culture will result in higher quality work and more satisfied clients. On the other hand, if you are preparing to enter a relationship with an agency, take a hard look at their company culture, how their leadership functions, and how their employees are treated before signing on.

I teach my philosophy to others in the business world so that they can learn how to use empathy and company culture to better serve their clients…and therefore become more successful. If you are looking for solutions, give me a call to set up a time for me to come share my expertise with you and your team. Want to request an RFP? Even better. Visit my company website to get in touch.