When I launched STRV, a mobile app and web development studio, more than a decade ago, I didn’t give much thought to company culture. There were just five of us crammed in a tiny shared office space with one toilet, working round the clock to make ends meet. I didn’t have the time or resources to plan elaborate team-building retreats or Friday-night mixers.
Today, my little studio has exploded to more than 100 employees in five offices. Now, company culture is one of my top priorities. Regardless if you’re a seasoned chief executive or just starting out, improving your company’s culture doesn’t have to break your budget, but investing in your employees will certainly improve your bottom line.
Here are eight tips that will help you grow your company’s culture:
If something good happens at the company, like a project wining an award, the sales team landing a big client, or an employee being promoted, spread the word. Your office’s internal message boards are a good place to start, whether it’s through Slack or old-school flyers throughout the office.
Highlighting the achievements of your company and its employees sends a positive message, not only to your team but also to your clients (and potential clients), so make sure to broadcast good news on all your public social networking networks as well!
Personalize Birthday Gifts
Everyone likes to be remembered on their special day, even if they don’t want to admit it. Cake, flowers, balloons are nice, but make sure it’s a consistent part of your social calendar. We use Slack, which automatically sends out birthday well-wishes on our #social channel.
CEOs should also make time to personally wish his or her employee a great day. The good cheer can be followed up with a cake, perhaps featuring your company logo and a personalized message to the birthday person. Even a gift certificate to popular restaurant chain for later use can show them you care.
Create Welcome Kits For New Employees
The first day of any new job is always stressful. Make sure to have a detailed on boarding process in place. Personally greet each new employee and ask them what they are hoping to get out of their new job.
A welcome kit is also a good idea to break the ice. Some include an employee manual, a guidebook to how the company operates as well as a number of fun sundries like a company “superheroes” T-shirt, water bottle, laptop sleeve, stickers and pens.
To help facilitate cross-department company culture, find ways to bring people from other departments together. Sure, team-building events would certainly fit into this category. But introducing a more regular one-on-one program can do wonders.
For example, at STRV, we have “Lucky Lunches,” where two team members are picked to go to lunch together at random during a weekly drawing. Several lunch “dates” are set up each week, and the tab is picked up by the company.
Set Up Office Sports Clubs
As the old saying goes: the company that plays together, stays together. There is no better way to encourage team spirit and boost employee morale than through office sports clubs.
We have a number of different sports channels open on our company Slack, including #running, #badminton, #soccer and #trx, and routinely participate in city marathons among other events.
Send Thank-You Notes
They’re simple and effective. If someone does something nice for you, always say thanks. We prefer to say it with chocolate.
Our office coordinator oversees this, typing up thank-you notes and wrapping them with chocolate pieces. The gesture will certainly brighten anyone’s day and keep a happy employee smiling.
Host Company Q&A Sessions
This should be a no-brainer. It costs nothing and helps facilitate an open company culture through honest dialogue between employees and management.
I try and organize Q&A sessions on a monthly basis and encourage my employees to ask me anything. From salaries and HR issues to long-term company goals and business strategies, nothing is off-limits. I have received invaluable feedback and insight from my employees during these sessions. I find it really is teamwork at its best.
Obviously, Regular Happy Hours
Yes, I’m talking about adult beverages. This might sound as stereotypical as water-cooler gossip, but really who wouldn’t want to unwind after a long day at the office with a drink or two on the company dime?
Treating your team to regular happy hours on a Thursday or Friday night will no doubt score you brownie points, but will also reinforce that work doesn’t always have to be about, well, work.