The decision to start your own firm is a huge step. You ponder whether or not you can handle it, whether or not you will be successful, or even how you will financially support yourself until clients start beating down your door. After the nervousness disappears and the excitement kicks in, you start planning. You know what you want your firm to represent and the clients that you want to attract. You meticulously plan your branding strategy. Then you should consider the type of company culture that you want your firm to have.
Establishing a Culture
A culture is the values and practices shared by the members of the group. Thus, company culture is the shared values and practices of the company’s employees. You want your employees to embody the values that are set forth in your company culture. Your firm’s mission statement should incorporate the culture. The company culture is vital to its success because it can make or break your firm. Companies with a strong culture that is aligned to their business goals routinely outperform their competitors. To achieve those results for your firm, you have to first determine what your culture is, how you are going to implement it, and essentially guide your employees to achieve the desired culture.
Below is a list of cultures that companies have used to establish their culture. You can use these examples to determine which values best fits the culture of your firm.
• Employee commitment
• High integrity workplace
• Strong trust relationships
• Ethical values
• Highly effective leadership
• Effective systems and processes
• Client driven
• Emphasis on recruiting and retaining outstanding employees
• High degree of adaptability
• High accountability standards
• Demonstrated support for innovation
Getting Employees on Board with the Culture
Company cultures can change over time for various reasons. A change in staff can affect the company culture. As employees leave the company and their replacements are hired, the firm’s culture will change. The replacement that was made may not live up to or embody the culture of the firm. However, since each new employee brings their own set of values and practices to the firm, the culture will change.
Any abnormalities in your firm’s culture can be reflected in the way that the firm operates, handles their clients, or normal daily tasks. There are ways to prevent a major change to your firm’s culture. When hiring new employees, you should consider whether or not they will fit the culture of your firm. Firms have the option of hiring a staffing agency to provide them with a temporary employee. This will give you the opportunity to review the candidates work habits and overall adaptability to your firm before you hire them on full time. This will save you time and money from having to hire yet another person, just to make the fit.
Promoting values and actively demonstrating the office culture can be very healthy to a firm’s sustainability. Hold everyone accountable for their actions, especially those in leadership positions. Make sure that everyone is demonstrating the values established in your mission statement. Doing this will increase awareness and effectively communicate the expectations of all involved. This will lead to an increase of transferred skills and behavior that demonstrate the culture of the office.
• Make new employees aware of the office culture when they begin their first day of work.
• Review the culture in management and employee meetings and trainings.
• Resolving any ethical or culture dilemmas that may arise in accordance with the guidelines will reinforce the belief that the company has in its culture.
• Include ethical performance evaluations and appraisals.
• Reward employees who demonstrate the culture of the firm.
• Provide all employees within the office a copy of the company culture.