The corporate culture of your company should be taken into consideration in all stages of your relationship with your employees as it sets the foundation for the values, beliefs, and decisions your business will stand by.
From the hiring process to company celebrations, to administering raises and promotions, infusing the corporate culture throughout the process helps to maintain consistencies and develop a solid belief system.
Cultural fit is a term used frequently in the employee hiring process. It is discussed when considering whether a potential employee would fit into the corporate culture of the company.
The official definition of cultural fit according to JobTestPrep.com is “when a company evaluates how a potential employee may express the characteristics, language, and values that exist within the current organizational culture.”
When a candidate’s values, beliefs, outlook, and behavior are compatible with those existing within the company, he or she is likely to be a good fit.
It’s important to have guidelines when looking for a cultural fit without creating a culture where you only hire clones of fellow employees.
If you focus too much on an employee being the perfect cultural fit, it is possible for the company to becomes homogeneous in views and ideas.
That can create an environment that limits business growth as differing beliefs, ideas, and viewpoints, often spark conversations that lead to ideas that can change the trajectory of a business.
When you consider the corporate culture of your company and seek a candidate who is a cultural fit, it’s best practice to advise them that it will be considered in the hiring process.
Having an open dialogue about this component of the hiring process allows the candidate to understand that they will not be judged based solely on their work experience, education, and employer recommendations.
Incorporating corporate culture can be done through an interview, assessment, or personality test.
Examples of questions you can ask are
Be sure to ask questions that speak directly to the values that are important to your company.
When you’re onboarding a new employee into the company, having further conversations regarding the corporate culture helps to build cultural competency from day one.
You can do this by offering a company values training that occurs in person or via pre-recorded video. Cultural information should also be included in the employee handbook, though that alone is generally not enough training for a new employee.
When discussing values, be sure to offer real examples of how they can be showcased correctly and incorrectly within the company.
Offer an opportunity to have a conversation after the training has taken place to ensure all messages have been delivered clearly and to clarify any potential questions that might remain.
Beyond the hiring and onboarding processes, maintaining a positive corporate culture is vital to the success of a company.
Planning team building activities can build a culture of connectedness amongst employees and showcase the importance placed on that component of the corporate culture.
Here are a few simple examples of team building activities, but there are hundreds if not thousands of options available.
Continued education regarding the culture of the company is also an essential piece of the puzzle. Just discussing it during the hiring process is not enough. Once your employee is in the trenches and facing various situations, those cultural trainings that occurred months years ago are no longer front of mind.
There are many ways to incorporate continuing education into the organization, here are a few tips to consider.
You can also reward those who demonstrate company values consistently.
This can be done by using values as a part of the criteria when awarding raises and promotions.
You can nominate employees each month for demonstrating the core values of the company. You can present them with a certificate, or highlight their work in the company newsletter or staff meeting.
Making this information public helps to reiterate the importance of corporate culture and values in the company.
You can also acknowledge employees in simple ways by sending an email to an employee who demonstrated good values or leaving a sticky note on their desk expressing your appreciation.
One vital component of continuing cultural conversations is to discuss behaviors that are incorrect. When you see an employee demonstrating culturally inappropriate behavior, it’s essential to have a respectful, open, and honest discussion about why their behavior is inappropriate and what a better choice would be,
Infusing corporate culture throughout your organization is vital to the corporate culture process. Ensuring your employees are engaged in the corporate culture is a requirement if the process is going to have maximum effect. If you’re looking to improve your employee engagement, make sure you download a copy of my free book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement. It features actionable steps you can take to ensure your employees are fully engaged in all processes including the corporate culture.
According to Investopedia.com, the corporate culture definition is “beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.”
The corporate culture of a business is reflected in many ways including how it structures
A company’s corporate culture is generally implied and develops organically over time based on the traits of its’ employees.
Since corporate culture makes up much of an organization’s viewpoint, developing a defined optimal culture can be crucial for long-term success and scalability.
All businesses have a corporate culture, whether it has been identified or not. Some companies stand out as having a positive, supportive, and inspiring culture that makes it an exceptional workplace.
Here are 3 well-known companies, that have developed a well respected and positive corporate culture according to Entrepreneur.com.
Zappos is an online shoe store that emphasizes building a strong positive culture. Half of the weight of the hiring process is based on the results of a cultural fit interview. It is given to determine whether a new employee would fit in with the current company culture.
They go a step further by offering any employee $2,000 if they choose to quit within the first week if they determine the job is not a good fit.
Instead of promotions and raises going to those in the top social circle, they are awarded to employees who pass skills tests and showcase improved job skills.
The corporate culture of Zappos demonstrates that maintaining a positive and fair work environment is a necessity.
Twitter, one of the top social media platforms, has defined its corporate culture as one that is team oriented and laid back.
By offering rooftop meetings, free employee meals at the headquarters, and even yoga classes, Twitter wants to ensure their employees are happy because satisfied employees are willing to go above and beyond while on the job.
Squarespace has risen in popularity as one of the best website creation platforms and is regularly voted as a top workplace in New York City.
With 100% health insurance premium coverage, flexible vacation offerings, catered meals, a fully stocked kitchen, monthly celebrations, and even a relaxation space in the office, there is no wonder professionals love working at Squarespace.
As the previous examples demonstrate, the corporate culture of a business can shape how it operates.
With Twitter’s laid-back team-oriented environment, discussing necessary changes and new initiatives is likely more comfortable to do.
Along the same lines, interdepartmental collaboration is probably a painless process.
If the culture was one of no teamwork and being afraid to communicate, crucial conversations wouldn’t take place or would be met with so much static they would lose value.
Developing a corporate culture has three main benefits.
Defining the corporate culture helps a business to identify its values and identity. Without an idea of the culture, it’s difficult to develop a set of consistent values.
A company with a strong culture attracts better employees, and once hired those employees stay longer.
This leads to a reduced turnover rate, fewer new hires, and improved chemistry amongst employees because their team remains consistent.
High turnover rates are a clear sign of an issue within a business’ corporate culture.
The corporate culture defines the image of a company. Depending on the type of business, customers and clients can see how employees are treated which can boost sales and customer loyalty.
Social media platforms showcasing parts of the company culture can bring potential customers or clients to the business because they are attracted to the culture they see.
The image is also a part of attracting high-quality employees.
The concept of defining corporate culture is a very personal one.
Not just to the management team or the CEO, but to the entire business as a whole.
No one can define your culture for you.
It should be developed after receiving input from every member of the organization from the custodial staff to the President.
Here are 15 questions you can ask to start defining the corporate culture of your company.
Just as a reminder, these questions should not only be asked to the upper management team. Allow all employees to provide input. The more information that’s collected, the better understanding you will have of the current corporate culture, potential areas of growth, and areas that are thriving.
A critical component of corporate culture is high employee engagement. If your employees are asking, what is company culture, it’s important to get them engaged in the process. If increasing employee commitment is a part of the corporate culture that you need to improve, click here to download a free copy of my book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement. When you develop a positive corporate culture with fair practices and policies that engage your employees, your business has a higher chance of success over time.
All businesses are unique, but one thing many successful business owners have in common is the practice of strategic planning. This plan is used to ensure they have an understanding of their vision, their goals, and the steps needed to make these ideas a reality.
A strategic plan is “a systematic process of envisioning a desired future and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them” according to BusinessDictionary.com.
All business owners should develop and frequently revisit their strategic plan. The definition includes the reasons why it’s vital to business success, but I will break them down further below.
Have you ever gotten in a car destined to have the best vacation ever without your GPS turned on or a destination in mind? I doubt it. Moreover, if you did, it’s unlikely that your trip was successful.
Whenever you take action, you have an idea of what you want your result to be.
When you get a haircut, you envision a specific style.
When you paint your bedroom, you know the emotion you want the color to evoke.
When you get married, you envision living happily ever after with your spouse.
Strategic planning allows you to do the same thing.
Envisioning a future for your business takes you out of the present and catapults you into the future, so your actions are working towards reaching your target.
Having a vision for your future allows you to set goals or objectives that will enable you to work towards that vision.
Setting proper goals is crucial for any business because it takes your vision and makes it more concrete.
Your long-range travel goal is to visit every continent by your 60th birthday.
How will you turn that dream into a reality? It starts by setting broad goals. You don’t need to define every detail from the beginning, just developing a general understanding is a great start.
These broad goals alone will not turn your overarching vision into a reality, however, identifying them start to make your concept more concrete.
Now that you have an overall vision along with broadly defined goals or objectives, strategic planning calls for you to break down each goal into actionable steps that make it achievable.
Having a vision is excellent and setting goals is even better, but without the actionable steps that follow, your goal will likely never be achieved. The steps turn it into a plan which is what every business owner needs.
Your vision, goals, and plan are the trifecta that make up strategic planning.
To continue with the example that was provided in the previous section, let’s take the first goal and break it down into actionable steps.
I will travel to Europe by my 35th birthday.
What steps will make that possible?
Now you have a plan that will help you reach your goal!
If you find yourself still asking, “What is Strategic Planning” or want a more in-depth explanation of what a strategic business plan is and the benefits of strategic planning you can read another blog post I wrote on this topic entitled The 5 Benefits of Strategic Planning For Your Business.
I included a strategic planning example related to travel because we can all relate to the concept. As simplistic as it seems, that’s ultimately how simple your business strategic plan can be.
Just remove the travel elements and replace the vision, goals, and plan you have for your business.
If you think you can travel to every continent before you’re 60 years old without goals or a plan, then by all means, maybe you don’t need to implement strategic planning in your business.
However, if you’re like the rest of the world and realize that goals and a plan help you to reach your vision faster, it’s time to implement one now.
If you already have a strategic plan that sits in a folder on your laptop that you never refer to, it’s time to pull it up.
A strategic plan is a living document, as your business grows and changes so should your vision, your goals, and your plan.
Develop your strategic plan, regularly revisit it and update it. That’s the key to successful strategic planning.
If your company has employees, full time or part time, it’s essential that they be up to date on your strategic plan and follow it with fidelity. Gaining employee buy-in and engagement is crucial to business success.
If you’re looking for a tool to help you improve your employee engagement, you need to download a free copy of my book, “5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement.” You can download your copy here. Its features best practices for getting your employees engaged in your company’s success. Strategic planning is most beneficial when everyone is on board and committed.
When operating a business, the amount of money you make and spend, or cash flow is one of the major indicators of its ability to thrive or likelihood to struggle. This comes as no surprise. We’ve all heard the saying that cash is king. That is especially true when running a company. Phillip Campbell, CPA, the former chief financial officer for multiple successful companies and a respected author was quoted as saying “Despite the fact that cash is the lifeblood of a business — the fuel that keeps the engine running — most business owners don’t truly have a handle on their cash flow.”
If you’re a business owner, and you’re not aware of the amount of cash flowing in and out of your business on a regular basis, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Below you will find vital cash flow related definitions, the benefits of knowing your cash flow, and 5 questions you can answer to ensure you know your business cash flow.
According to Investopedia.com, “Profit is a financial benefit that is realized when the amount of revenue gained from a business activity exceeds the expenses, costs and taxes needed to sustain the activity…”
Simply put, profit is the amount of money you make in your business minus the expenses. It is how much money that remains once all of your bills are paid.
Your goal is to have a hefty profit, that’s the only way you make money. Too often business owners confuse profit with our next term, cash flow.
Also according to Investopedia.com, “Cash flow is the net amount of cash and cash-equivalents being transferred into and out of a business…”
Therefore, cash flow is not one number, it speaks to the overall flow of money in your business which paints a broader picture of your financial status.
A company can have a positive cash flow with no profit depending on the source of their funds.
For example, if a business takes out a business loan and sees an increase in cash flow that month, their actual profit might be zero because of their need to take out a loan.
A business can also be profitable and have no cash flow.
For example, if you contract with companies who delay their payment, you could have a cash flow of $40,000 with $10,000 that still hasn’t hit your bank account. If your monthly expenses are $45,000, that means you are profitable, but your cash flow is not positive.
According to BusinessDictionary.com, revenue is “the income generated from the sale of goods or services, or any other use of capital or assets, associated with the main operations of an organization before any costs or expenses are deducted.”
Revenue is also known as sales.
Knowing the monthly cash flow of your business is vital for many reasons. Here are 5 significant reasons why you should make knowing your cash flow a priority.
Knowing your cash flow indicates the overall financial health of your business. It showcases your company’s ability to pay its bills and handle other financial responsibilities consistently.
Being unable to take care of your financial responsibilities, or having a lot of your revenue tied up in debt indicates that your financial health is failing.
Knowing how much money comes into your business every month and how much you have left at the end of the money after paying all expenses helps you to understand your ability to generate cash.
Keeping track of this consistently provides you with an overall cash flow projection which you can use to indicate your ability to cover expenses in the future.
Because cash flow indicates where your money is going each month, the payments you make to your creditors are highlighted. By bringing constant attention to these debts which are taking hold of your incoming cash flow, you can focus on paying them off.
When your business has a positive monthly cash flow, it gives you flexibility.
You can use your positive cash flow to invest more in your business and make choices that will lead to increased revenue.
When faced with a dilemma, you have the opportunity to make choices that will best fit your business because you have the cash available.
When you’re working on improving the health of your business and thus your cash flow, you must know what to look for in the process. As you review your cash flow, here are a few questions you should be able to answer.
Cash is king in business and knowing your cash flow will help monitor your financial health to keep your business afloat. When you’re running a business, you get busy, but reminding yourself of why knowing your cash flow numbers is important can help you keep it at the top of your priority list.
As you work towards becoming a cash flow king (or queen), remember you should always be able to answer the cash flow related questions listed above. If you have the cash to keep your business afloat, you are more likely to stay in business as long as you keep the cash flowing. Keeping track of your cash flow is key to knowing your financial health and in indicating your future ability to remain in business.
Cash flow is just a part of running a successful business. Ensuring all of your employees are engaged in the practices of your company is a necessary skill as well. When you’re ready to make sure your employees are involved as you expand and grow, download my free book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement. Click here to get your copy today. C
Business isn’t all about the numbers, metrics, and analytical data.
The communication skills you have when interacting with your clients or potential clients can have a significant impact on your annual revenue goals. When your objective is to increase business sales, it’s vital that you consider how effective your communication skills are.
The definition of communication according to the BusinessDictionary.com is a “two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange information…but also create and share meaning. In general, communication is a means of connecting people or places.”
In sales, your communication skills are what move your clients from no to maybe to yes. They are what clear their confusion. They are what helps them bypass internal objections. They are what helps them decide to pay the invoice and sign the contract.
Improving your communication skills takes practice, but the more you do it, the more natural you become. Read on to find 6 steps you can take to improve your communication skills and increase your business sales.
Listening is a challenging practice for many because we often don’t listen to understand; instead, we prepare our response. Being an active listener encourages you to focus on what your potential client is saying. It gives them the sense that you’re interested in the conversation and boosts rapport.
These 3 steps can help you be a better listener and improve communication skills.
Give your client your undivided attention. Don’t get distracted by your thoughts. Don’t allow your environment to cause interference. Don’t prepare your response while listening. Instead, acknowledge what is being said and make your potential client feel like they have your full attention because they should.
Your body language indicates to your client how much you’re listening. Show you’re paying attention to what’s being said by using both verbal and nonverbal cues. Non-verbal gestures include nodding your head and smiling. Verbal cues include saying “uh huh” and “okay.” When giving verbal cues, be sure not to interrupt your client. At this stage in the conversation, your goal is only to make your client feel heard.
When communicating, it is okay to reiterate what was said or ask for clarification when you’re at the appropriate phase in your conversation. This might include you saying things such as
“What I hear you saying is…”
“Do you mean…when you say…”
“What it sounds like you’re saying is…”
Paying attention is a component of being an active listener; however, it’s worth mentioning again. As stated previously, it’s important to be physically and mentally available during your conversation. This includes ignoring all internal and external distractions.
When you are not paying attention, it’s off-putting to your potential client. It demonstrates that you’re not serious about your conversation. You also appear unprofessional and as if you’re only interested in how the partnership will benefit you. When you’re trying to make a sale, you never want a potential client to have those thoughts about you.
Professor Albert Mehrabian, current UCLA professor, came to the now famous conclusion that communication is 7% verbal, 55% body language, and 38% voice tone. When you’re engaged in a conversation, pay close attention to the body language of the person you’re speaking with. Body language is displayed in a variety of ways including
In some instances, it’s best to improve your communication skills by mirroring the body language and tone of whom you’re speaking to. If their tone is formal, make sure yours is as well. If they smile, you smile also. This strategy should be done naturally so as not appear to be a mime. When you mimic their body language correctly, it often makes them feel more comfortable with you and like your conversation is going well.
Honesty is a sales technique that doesn’t often come to mind. Just because you’re in the position to sell something, it doesn’t mean you have to reduce your moral capacity to that of a sleazy used car salesman. Be upfront about what you know and don’t know. Be honest about what your product or service can provide. Be forthcoming with the results of your product or service. If you come across as dishonest, it will significantly decrease the likelihood that a sale will transpire from the conversation, and your potential client will be unlikely to speak highly of you or your firm to others.
When you’re trying to get a potential client to purchase your product or service, you are charged with being the expert about that product or service. You should know the ins and outs of what you’re selling. Be aware of the benefits and what type of client it best suits. Know the typical objections people have to the purchase of the product or service and have a rebuttal ready for any doubts. Also, know what people love about what you’re selling. Having this knowledge will help you have a conversation beyond mere facts and figures. Being knowledgeable builds the know, like, and trust factor you have with your potential client.
When involved in a sales call or meeting, your goal is to listen actively to your potential client and showcase how your product or service can be a solution to their problem. Always discover what their problem is and take the role of a problem solver. In business, people generally make purchases to serve as solutions. If you can adequately communicate how what you’re selling solves their problem, you’ve won half the battle.
When you’re working to make a sale remember that you’re speaking to a human being, not a business. It’s acceptable to behave in a personable manner. It’s okay to have a goal based conversation without it feeling sleazy and sales-y. People buy from those whom they know, like, and trust. Help your potential clients know you, like you and trust you, so they feel comfortable signing the contract and paying the invoice.
Developing excellent communication skills shouldn’t just be geared toward one person in your business. This concept should be shared amongst everyone from the top down. Increasing employee engagement so they are actively committed to improving communication skills is the way to go. Whether you have a team of 5 or 50, you can download a free copy of my book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement here. You will find tons of actionable strategies you can implement to ensure your entire team is engaged and ready to improve communication skills.