On Wright Stuff Radio, we talk a lot about culture. In fact, it’s become quite the buzzword in the business world in general. But what is it, really?

A company culture is a set of attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and customs ingrained in business team, and accepted as the “norm.” This may include a dress code, communication style, physical environment, and all aspects of managing and motivating your staff.

When you start out in small business and hire your first team members, it can be challenging to determine what kind of leader you want to be or the culture that you want to develop. If you’re successful, the struggle doesn’t end there. Many businesses falter when the company culture they started with, doesn’t grow with their success.

When you’re build your company culture, think about how it will work in the long run. Here’s a few tips to get you started.

#1: Create Open Channels of Communication

As your company grows, your team will experience substantial changes. You’ll have new faces on a regular basis, and your other team members will change roles and duties along the way. This also means that your individual employees may struggle to see the “bigger picture” within your organization. In a small office, it’s easy to keep everyone in the loop. As your team gets larger, you may need to restructure meetings, training, and internal communication practices to make sure that your company mission stays front of mind for every employee.

#2: Establish a System of Shared Beliefs

Regardless of your size, in order for your company culture to thrive – your employees need to buy into that system. Shared beliefs in a business doesn’t necessarily mean that every team member will think exactly as the rest of the team. Instead, they will work off of the same framework for procedural issues, setting prioritize, working with customers, and working with each other. Once you’ve established this system of shared beliefs, keep it top of mind. Post it in the office, review it at staff meetings, and – above all – let your team see you demonstrate those shared beliefs as a leader.

#3: Stay Connected

As your team grows, it will become more challenging to spend time getting to know everyone on your team. At the same time, you want to make sure that each employee feels like a valued member of that team. Some good ideas to encourage a social connection within the team include family day, competitive activities like bowling or softball, or hosting an employee appreciation picnic.

Every company culture is going to look a little different, but the goal should be the same – keeping your employees and your customers engaged and connected with your brand.

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