If you want to win in business, people must be a top priority. From the least impactful roles to the most impactful positions. The ones who create your products or deliver your services. The ones who sell your products or services. The ones who support your customers when they need help. The ones who handle your finance. The ones who manage your teams. And so on. You need to view them like mushers (i.e. racers) view their sled dogs in the great Iditarod race. The Iditarod race takes place in Alaska every year and is over 1,000 gruesome, challenging, frost-bitten miles. The sled dogs require 10,000-12,000 calories per day, frequent water, warm beds, and oftentimes mouth-to-snout resuscitation due to harsh conditions. (The last one is crazy, but true!) The mushers who win this iconic race take care of their dogs – at all costs. Their dogs eat before them, drink before them and go to bed before them.
Your business is very similar. It’s a long, challenging journey. And if you truly want to truly build a successful business, it’s vital that you build a team that pulls you to the finish line. But of course, that’s easier said than done. That’s why, over the last few years, I’ve made it one of my top goals to create a massively attractive culture at Flight Media. A culture that makes people say TGIM, instead of TGIF. A culture that attracts incredible talent without placing a single ad. A culture that cultivates raving, driven team members who thrive on seeing your business grow. And I genuinely believe we’ve been able to successfully do that. I’d like to give you a few ideas that can dramatically help improve your company culture, based on actual things we’ve done! Steal them, tweak them, or try them.
1. Put Everybody On Salary
Before you scoff, hear me out on this one. It’s very unlikely that everybody on your team is on salary. You probably have a mix between salaried and hourly people. I know we did at first. Hourly was a way to only pay for time people worked. But there’s a big factor that’s easy to forget about: When people work on an hourly basis, you become a transaction in their eyes. Step 1: Clock in. Step 2: “Pad” time. Step 3: Clock out. Step 4: Cash check. (I know this little cycle is true because, after discussing it with our team, several people came forward and apologized for “padding” their time for hours.) To help minimize the transactional feel of things, we switched every team member to a salaried position – and it had an incredible effect. People came in and worked till everything was complete. After that, they would help each other, get ahead on their tasks, go above and beyond for clients, get new certifications, and get to know other people in our office more. Thus creating a stronger culture. Very Important Note: Just because time is no longer tracked hourly, does not mean that time shouldn’t be tracked. It’s crucial to understand how long it takes to do tasks to measure efficiency, capacity, and margins!
2. Allow Remote Days
Second to moving to salaries, this has had one of the greatest impacts on our company. Every month, each team member gets two remote days, and they roll over from one month to the next. (We use BambooHR to keep track of all remote days and allow people to request them.) “Remote days” are days where a team member can work from home, so long as the day fits the following criteria:
- It cannot be on a Monday. (We hold weekly team meetings on that day.)
- It cannot be on days with client video meetings. (Home offices aren’t as professional.)
- You can’t be in your PJs.
Unfortunately, this won’t apply for every business model. If you’re a Crossfit coach, you can’t train people from your computer. But before you rule it out, think hard about how you can allow your team members to work a day or two per month from home. After surveying our team, we found that one of the things they appreciate more than anything is remote days. And the best part? Productivity hasn’t been affected one bit. Side-Note: Remote days also serve as a great tool for rewarding people. If someone is doing a killer job, give them another one to two remote days. They’ll appreciate it and it virtually costs you nothing! 🙂
3. Learn Everyone’s Favorite Coffee
Everybody feels appreciated in a different way. Some people thrive off of public praise. Some vomit when they’re praised publicly. Some people want cash bonuses. Some prefer more PTO to spend with their family. Some want more one-on-one time with you. Some want complete silence and focus. As a leader in your organization, understanding the way each team member feels appreciated can be the difference between have massive momentum or just getting by. In his book, 5 Appreciation Languages In The Workplace, Gary Chapman states that “70% of employees say they receive no praise or recognition at work.” Meaning, by simply giving praise and recognition, you’ll be winning. It’s often the little things that make the big difference when it comes to people. For example, I’ve tasked myself with learning everyone’s favorite drink and how they like it. (I keep track of it in an Evernote document.) Knowing that our (incredible) content specialist, Anita, likes a half-caff Americano with soy milk means that I can get her coffee with greater meaning. It’s not just coffee. It’s gratitude. Make it your job (because it is) to understand how each person in your company feels appreciated. Learn their:
- Favorite drink.
- Favorite sports team.
- Favorite band.
- Favorite hobby.
By doing so, you’ll begin to create a culture worth working in. Great resource: Appreciation At Work has an incredible “Motivating By Appreciation” assessment you can have your team take. It’ll show you how each person feels appreciated and ideas of how to appreciate them!
What you invest in your people, you will get out of them. If you won’t invest your time, talent and resources in your people, they won’t give you 100% (or more) effort. I challenge you to consider each one of these ideas. They’ve transformed our business and I know they will impact yours! What’s a cool thing you do for your people to create a positive company culture? Leave it in the comments below!