Your business is the sum of many moving parts, and critical to its success is your ability to cultivate a company culture where those parts are moving in synchronicity towards the same goal. One where your staff are on a journey with you.
Company culture isn’t a buzzword; It can’t be explained by way of the perks that come with a job. Culture is the personality of the business. It’s defined by ethics, values and goals, born from powerful mission and vision statements. When everyone in the business is aligned with the same objectives and goals, the business can thrive.
When I founded property investment group Binvested.com.au with my business partner, Daniel Young, I knew little of the challenges that lay ahead. Building an award-winning business took years and many changes in staff and structure, adapting to growth and building on our strengths.
Today we have more than 100 staff across 8 offices, with a culture where staff are not just employees turning up for a paycheck, but passionate advocates for a business which provides a service and system they themselves use. Almost all of our staff are on their own investment journeys and are investing with the same strategies and properties as our clients. We walk the talk.
Below are six ways you can improve on your culture today.
1. Vision and mission
If you haven’t written a vision and mission statement, this is a great place to start. Your vision should be your overarching goal for your business condensed into a short and easy to communicate statement. This vision should be simple and meaningful to your community and staff. For example, Google’s vision statement is “to provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
By contrast, your mission statement should be action-oriented and explain what and how you plan to move towards your vision. Bring your whole team into the process when identifying these. They can and should be updated as your company changes and grows. By asking input from your staff, you’ll craft statements that resonate with them – a shared vision.
2. Growth and mindset
One of our main focuses at Binvested is continual growth. We know that if we want to grow the business, we need to grow our people. We strive to create a workplace where people want to come every day because they are constantly learning. We hold numerous events throughout the year that focus on the personal and professional development of our staff, promoting healthy minds and bodies.
We talk about the importance of mindset to our clients and strive for a positive mindset internally. Regular team led events such as themed lunches allow us to come together and catch up about what is happening in the company, what’s going on in our industry and keep up to date with each other’s lives.
3. Community and collaboration
Another great way we bring the team together is with “lunch and learns,” to share ideas and learn new skills. These sessions have covered everything from LinkedIn to kickboxing, the only pre-requisite is passion.
Continuing with the idea that everyone has something to offer, we recognize that, whilst we are all experts in our fields, it doesn’t mean that we won’t benefit from fresh perspectives from an untrained eye.
For example, our marketing team recently held a meeting to generate new ideas for how to take the business forward. We recognised that, whilst our marketing team is great at what they do, they are not always the ones talking to customers, so why not hear from people on the front line.
By collaborating as one team, we ensure that we have the peripheral vision that we would otherwise lack if we all stuck solely to our own disciplines. Not only did we generate some fantastic ideas, but our staff were engaged and creatively contributing to a brand that they are, essentially, ambassadors for.
People have different motivations. There is no one-size-fits-all management style, so you need to be able to adapt. No matter your title, there is always more to learn. As our team has grown so significantly since we started the company, we’ve had to learn to relinquish some control and hand over the reins. Trust and autonomy are critical to motivation. Trust that your staff have the expertise you hired them for and leave them to do their best work.
Listen and be visible to your staff. Encourage communication and feedback, don’t shy away from it. If you don’t give people a voice, how can you say you are contributing to their development and how can you yourself grow?
As your business changes, so will the team you require. As a team, you need to be ready to cope with these changes and mindful that when taking on new recruits, what has worked in the past won’t necessarily work now. Coming back to that vision, you need to be aware of where you want to be, to recruit a team that aligns with those goals, rather than looking for people who fit right now.
Know and picture exactly what you want the culture in your business to look like. Live and breathe it in everything you do and seek out team members who share those same values.
Nathan Birch is a co-founder of Binvested.com.au