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Creating Small Business Culture: How to Value Employees Without Bursting Your Budget

Few business topics have gotten as much attention of late as corporate culture. Big companies like Google have demonstrated the power of a positive culture, while companies like Starbucks have built their brand around a strong and welcoming culture. Culture isn’t just the purview of big businesses, though. In some cases, it can be much easier to put that stamp of personality on your business if you’re a small business owner. You can make the organization look and function like you, empowering your employees to be an extension of you when dealing with customers. Some small business owners shy away from this, believing that their focus on creating a positive culture will bust their budget or take the focus away from customers. In truth, it’s possible to be an outward-looking small business that still cultivates a positive culture.

Provide equity or profit-sharing mechanisms for key employees

There’s perhaps a no better way to get employees truly on the team than by giving them a little skin in the game. Many companies have enjoyed the benefits of enhanced performance by giving their employees a small stake in the company’s profits or in the company’s equity. This puts the onus on employees to produce, creating a culture where every person feels a sense of ownership. It also allows you to build a culture without going out of pocket up-front.

A positive business owner goes a long way

Read Facebook pages and you’ll find many stories of people who hate their jobs and their bosses. They dread going to work each day because of the negativity that surrounds their office. Their loss is your gain. In a world where many bosses are a source of dreams for employees, you have a chance to be a positive influence. Showing up at the office each day with a smile is infectious. It can create a culture of positivity that permeates the building. Importantly, this will come across to customers, who may themselves appreciate the way you run your business and treat your employees.

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Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with things

You don’t have to create complex gyms and sleeping pods like Google’s done for its employees. In some cases, you can build a positive culture by being willing to have a little fun each day at the office. Think of ways to reward employees if you’re in the sales business. For instance, you might offer a $25 gift card to the person who makes the most sales. You may offer to shave your head if the sales team meets some objective. Make yourself the object of fun, letting your employees know that they’re working not in a dungeon, but in a place that values their contributions.                                     

Creativity can go a long way in helping you shape the right kind of culture. If you’re willing to put yourself out there, show up with your own good attitude, and help employees share in the spoils of your work, you’ll derive significant benefits from that enhanced culture. Treating your employees well is the best way to ensure your customers get the experience they deserve. Though it might be expensive for some companies to create this culture, you won’t have to pay to manufacture yours. Doing the little things can go a long way to cultivating the workplace you’re after.