Top 4 Strategies to Create a Great Work Culture
Originally Published Feb 12, 2021
Not all Australian work culture is created equal. As a small business owner, creating and maintaining a good work culture is something you ought to be proud of. After all, it is likely that your employees are like a big extended family. But what happens if it all goes south?
Some start-ups boast an easy-going work culture that stimulates innovation and creativity. Other small businesses take pride in their work culture having a strong collective work ethic and traditional ideals. Neither one is better than the other. But the real enemy is creating a toxic work culture without even realising it.
Once you start losing touch with your employees, stifling leadership, implementing tough protocols in the name of “good business”, or forgetting your core values, the culture in your business can seriously suffer.
It’s surprisingly easy to do, especially as business starts booming and things get busy. But, at the end of the day, if a toxic working culture has been established, it’s quite difficult to undo.
If fact, this is something the CEO of Physio Inq, Jonathan Moody, experienced himself. During the early days of his company’s’ growth, he found that he had lost control over the work culture he strived to maintain. What’s worse? This breakdown of culture was quickly followed by a rapid decline in his businesses to the point of almost bankruptcy. To read more about Jonathan’s story and how Physio Inq became the company it is today, click here.
Plus, these days, employees won’t stand for poor working conditions like they used to. And why should they?
We spend a lot of our time at work with our coworkers. So, as business owners, it makes sense that we’d want to make that time enjoyable and productive. After all, employee satisfaction and productivity in business generally go hand in hand.
So, without further ado, how can small businesses ensure they’re building a great work culture?
What is work culture?
The definition of culture (from the Oxford Dictionary) is “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”.
So, a work culture would consist of the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of the people who work at a particular company.
What ideas are making their way through your company? What traditions or customs are important in the office and throughout the year? What are the social behaviours among employees?
These are all important questions to ask yourself when aiming for a better work culture. With that definition in mind, below, we’re sharing our four strategies you can use to create a great work culture in your healthcare business right now.
Put Your Employees First
An amazing working culture starts with the people. And that means, focusing on your employees -- the people who make up the heart of your business.
Not only do you have to make sure your employees are well taken care of, but you also have to actually pay attention to their wants and needs as individuals.
A huge corporation could have an incredible HR team, for example, but if the boss is never “on the ground,” ready to put their employees first, it won’t matter how many benefits you offer. Although, benefits are definitely important too!
A few ways you can start to do more to put your employees first include:
- Make yourself visible by contributing to the workload, especially when things get crazy
- Celebrating the wins with bonuses, prizes, and ‘employee of the month’ awards
- Offering team retreats to bond with coworkers and drive a stronger connection within the company
- Make leaders accessible with an open-door policy
- Trust their word over that of the customer (even if you don’t let the customer know that)
- Create opportunities for your employees to make suggestions and act on those requests when possible
- Make growth opportunities visible and hire from within
At Physio Inq, our number one rule is that we put our employees first. This means that our managers know and understand each employees’ strengths and have knowledge about where they want to be in five years’ time.
Understanding employee interests means that a company can grow organically through your employees. Then, your business is not limited by managers’ opinions, but are guided by those who are your first point of contact with customers, and those who know your business best.
As we mentioned, happy employees mean happy clients and customers. So, it’s best not to forget that.
Leadership is Encouraged and Career Paths are Highlighted
The average rate of an employee’s longevity at one company is approximately 3.2 years. In the scheme of things, that’s not long at all.
However, if you focus on guiding your employees through career paths that are clearly marked, then you can almost guarantee that your best and brightest will grow into more senior roles.
At Physio Inq, we believe in hiring people based on their transferable and soft skills, often over their technical skills.
That means we look for qualities like leadership skills, attention to detail, empathy, the ability to work well on teams, and strong communication skills.
By doing so, we’re able to focus on our employees as people, trusting that they’ll learn any technical skills needed along the way.
These soft skills are much harder to teach than the hard skills that so many companies care way too much about. So, you can probably imagine how empowering this is, especially for employees new to the job market.
To encourage career growth at Physio Inq even further, we also have a Pinq Business Partner program that allows internal staff to work their way from junior therapist to senior therapist, from senior therapist to Physio Inq Clinic Owner.
Offering true career support often leads to a great work culture.
Understanding the Importance of Empathy and Flexibility
It’s safe to say that 2020 has taught every single company and every single employee the importance of empathy and flexibility.
LinkedIn reported that remote job searches were up 60% as applications more than doubled at 2.3 times the average rate. Long story short, people are looking for flexible working options and it’s a smart idea to take notice of that as a business owner.
When times are tough, cracking the whip and expecting the same level of productivity from your employees creates a potentially toxic work culture.
But a global pandemic isn’t the only way business owners can show empathy and offer flexibility for their employees. A few ideas you might implement include:
- Offering flexible work hours and work-from-home options
- Encouraging your staff to take holidays
- Reminders that it’s ok to take a sick day if they need it
- Making maternity and paternity leave available and flexible
- Being understanding about the demands of parenting
- Making bereavement leave available and flexible
- Encouraging passion projects outside of work
Additionally, as a manager or business owner, it’s also important that you’re modelling self-empathy and practising work/life balance yourself to encourage a work environment that feels safe to do so.
When you show empathy and make room for flexibility among your employees, you’re communicating that you trust them and that work/life balance is important.
It means you prioritise not only physical health but mental health as well. And that you want your employees to be the best they can be.
Image source: Physioinq.com.au
Clearly Defined Mission and Values
When you present a clearly defined mission statement and truly live out your values as a company, your employees then know what is expected of them and can feel comfortable knowing that they’re working for something that matters to them.
Starting with the initial onboarding process, your mission and values should be clear. And not only that, they should be consistent with what’s happening in your day-to-day operations.
This ensures that all of your staff understands your key offerings and the unique traits that make your business different from your competitors. And it keeps you accountable as well.
At Physio Inq, each employee is inducted, trained and retrained on our key house rules. They are defined on our website and are used on a daily basis.
At the end of the day, it’s your values that lead your purpose and these are the building blocks of any work culture. So, choose wisely.
If you want to join a company that puts it’s employees first click here.
Learn more about how you can boost your business through a great work culture as well as other means, by checking out our other blogs:
The information provided on this blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.