Overview: Your business vision doesn’t begin and end with you, the business owner. To grow and sustain your organization, you’ll need to translate your vision to a company culture that’s shared by your employees and understood by your clients. Read on to learn more!
In recent blog posts, we’ve discussed how you, as a business owner, can create a vision for your business, document it in a vision statement, and make it all happen by executing your vision.
Now we want to expand on the concept of business vision a bit. It’s natural for your business to serve as an extension of yourself, especially in the early years. And one way your business vision and values will manifest throughout your entire company is in the form of your company culture. So how do you make sure your company culture is aligned with your vision? That’s what we’re here to talk about today!
What Is Company Culture?
Let’s start with the obvious question: What do we mean when we talk about “company culture?”
Company culture generally refers to the shared values, beliefs, behaviors, customs, and attitudes that characterize and define an organization. It’s evident in the way the company does business with other organizations, in the way supervisors interact with their team members, and in the way employees think, act, and make decisions as they represent the business. To put it more abstractly, and more casually, it’s kind like the “vibe” of your business.
A policy of encouraging employees to offer suggestions? That’s part of company culture. Early Fridays? That’s part of company culture. The tone and format of proposals you send to clients? That’s also part of company culture.
Defining your company culture is not an exact science, but for a business owner, you should make an effort to ensure that the “vibe” of your business is consistent with the vision you’ve put forward for it.
>> Related Reading: Company Culture Is Everyone’s Responsibility
Company Culture and Brand Voice
One area where your company culture will come across loud and clear to your audience of customers and potential customers is in your brand voice. When preparing marketing materials, social media posts, correspondence with clients, and so on, consider this: Is your company more on the casual, laid-back side, or more on the professional and stoic side?
We’re not saying you should never have fun with your colleagues and employees internally during business hours — just that you should consider the impression of your company culture that client-facing communication creates.
Also, this will vary not only based on your personal vision and values, but also based on what industry you’re in. If you operate an arcade, it’s only natural that your brand voice will demonstrate a more whimsical company culture than if you’re in charge of the IRS!
>> Related Reading: Creating Your Brand Voice
Company Culture and Your Employees
This is probably the most important thing to consider: In order to guarantee that your company culture reflects your business vision, your employees must understand both components.
Customers (and potential customers) appreciate it when they know what to expect from a business, so it’s essential that you have some consistency in the way employees talk to clients — about products, about services, about company policies. This should also extend to the way employees communicate with each other.
That’s a lot of puzzle pieces to assemble to create a picture of your company culture! How do you do it?
Our Old Friends: Written Documents
When you need to remember to email that client before the end of the day, you write it down. And when you need to remember to pick up some mustard the next time you go to the store, you write it down. You can use the same method when you need your employees (and yourself!) to remember the basics of your company culture: Write it down!
In previous blog posts, we recommended keeping a written vision statement handy for your employees and collaborators. Well, now we’re here to recommend you take the same approach to articulating your company culture.
When you prepare your employee handbook — or commission a collaborator to prepare it — include a section summarizing your concept of the company culture and how employees can contribute to it.
When new employees join the company, ensure that they are introduced to the company’s vision and values from day one. This helps set the tone for what’s expected and considered essential.This way, everyone will be on the same page — literally!
And to ensure that your business vision is reflected in everything you do, remember to share it with everyone who might represent your business.
Are you hiring subcontractors? Using outside sales? Working with influencers to spread your message via marketing? Make sure all of these parties have read your internal documents — or at the very least, provide them with a summary. That way, they’ll be sure to understand what your vision is so it comes across in the work they do for your customers!
>> Related Reading: What Should Be Included in an Employee Handbook
Lead by Example But Remain Flexible
As the business owner, keep an eye on yourself. Give yourself a “review” periodically to determine whether you’re exemplifying the values you want to see in your company culture.
And yet, as we mentioned when discussion vision previously, try not to be so rigidly focused on your established company culture that you become short-sighted when change is necessary.
Allow for methods employees can use to give feedback about the company culture, especially if they can identify areas where it needs adjustment. A company that never allows itself to adapt might find it difficult to grow in our ever-changing world.
Let Your Employees Know You Appreciate Them
So you’ve conceived a vision for your business, you’ve articulated it in a vision statement, and you’ve drawn from that vision to explain your company culture to your employees. Is there anything else?
There sure is: Offer encouragement and praise when your employees get it right! There are many ways to acknowledge and reward employees whose behaviors align with the company’s vision and values, from simple compliments to actual awards. However you do it, employee appreciation is a vital aspect of maintaining a positive company culture.
With a little bit of work, and plenty of communication with your employees, you can successfully translate your business vision into an amazing company culture that your customers will respond to.
At MyUnlimitedWP, we understand the power of a business vision and the importance of company culture. When we work on a client’s website — from updating plugins to renewing themes to assisting with marketing — we make sure our work is perfectly in line with the client’s company culture.
If you’d like to work with a compatible partner like this, drop us a line!