When you think of team culture, do images of brightly-lit offices with hip employees riding scooters to a catered lunch come to mind? Some companies with strong team culture might look like this, but most don’t – a free lunch does not a business culture make.
Team culture is about so much more than office amenities. It’s about creating an environment that engages employees, produces results and helps a business evolve. Let’s take a look at some assumptions about team culture and examples of who does it best to get your business headed in the right direction.
Business leaders commonly feel that they are too busy to worry about culture, and focus on performance and productivity without thinking about how work environment factors into their goals. In fact, it’s the most common hurdle we encounter at ViveTeams.
“The key here is to balance the short-term and long-term,” says Alex Bowen, co-founder of ViveTeams.
“Leaders and teams have to realize that you need to optimize for both — by both getting results and creating accountability, but also balancing it with culture building and long term growth. Going too far in either direction will be detrimental to any ecosystem, but striking the right balance for your team, you’ll see improved results in almost all categories,” Bowen added.
Unappealing team culture also affects your bottom line. Growth Everywhere presents compelling analysis of the real, measurable difference between poor office culture and world-class office culture:
Businesses can’t afford to ignore company culture, as it goes hand in hand with meeting their goals.
When we see hip offices that offer staff members foosball, unlimited snacks, and scooters to get to meetings, we might feel the need to step up on fun amenities. While these can be nice, amenities do not equate to a cultural identity.
We like this definition from The Balance Careers – “Company culture is the personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work. Company culture includes a variety of elements including work environment, company mission, value, ethics, expectations and goals.”
While fun perks can be beneficial, (and we’re all about grabbing a beer to connect with coworkers) taking a dysfunctional team and giving them corn hole boards will do nothing to fix underlying issues. Access to ping-pong or brightly-colored work spaces won’t increase productivity, satisfaction and retention on their own. They need to be part of a bigger ecosystem that creates a culture of collaboration within your business and gives your team resources to fall back on when the going gets tough.
“This assumption is one of the most damaging ones out there, because it’s so easy to fall into,” said Bowen.
Assuming that culture will take care of itself is by default sending a signal to your team that it’s not a priority to you. By allowing culture to take care of itself, you’re opening up a pandora’s box where behaviors and attitudes can sink in and start to create a toxic workplace
Creating a culture takes work. Businesses should focus on cultural standards, and establish the habits that allow a team to operate according to the culture.
Putting ideals into practice can be a challenge when building or refreshing office culture. Some of our favorite examples of business culture that works can offer inspiration:
Zappos – Online Retailer
CoverMyMeds – Healthcare Software
Hubspot – Marketing Software
These companies are among the best when it comes to company culture, because their values are interwoven into the way they do business. It will take time to bring a business to this level, but their willingness to hare their roadmaps can point other businesses in the right direction.
The first thing to do to start building culture is to get real and start being more authentic as a group.
“Have the conversations you don’t want to have and start developing real relationships with the people around you,” said Bowen. “ Realize it’s a team sport – you don’t need a boss to start making things better around you!”
You can also place priority on connecting with your team with activities that can be implemented immediately, like networking or LEGO play. ViveTeams is here to help you revive your culture through consulting, workshops, team building events and more. Contact us today to talk about how we can energize your team!