Overseeing a successful team of contractors is about more than finding people with the right skills and offering them competitive salaries. If you’re going to gather the best people with the right skills — and get them working together effectively and efficiently — then you need to build a company culture that’s both appealing and supportive.
But why exactly is company culture so important to people? Here’s why it’s so significant, plus 5 quick tips to help you maximize the appeal of working for you:
Why workers care so much about company culture
Job satisfaction has always mattered to people, but when you need work and your options are limited, you have to take whatever you can get. This is one of the main reasons why company culture didn’t previously seem that consequential: employers knew that they could get away with just about anything, so they often put minimal effort into keeping people happy.
These days, the internet has produced two massive changes in the employment world:
- Firstly, it’s much easier to engage in professional networking and find job opportunities outside of your area. You can use LinkedIn, maintain a business site, and reach out to relevant people through social media when you’re looking for something new.
- Secondly, the threat of social media condemnation makes it much harder for companies to get away with treating their employees poorly. All it takes is one worker’s negative account of your employer to go viral, and your reputation will take a major hit. There are also sites like GlassDoor (an employer appraisal hub) to think about — earn a negative rating, and people will learn to avoid you instead of forming their own opinions.
Because of this, contractors are much better positioned to choose their projects carefully, and only work with (and for) people and/or companies that will treat them well (including providing suitable insurance). You can offer a solid deal, but if someone suspects they’ll be unhappy with you, they’ll be hard to convince.
The performance benefits of a strong culture
Supposing you persuade a host of skilled workers to join your team, company culture doesn’t stop being important. This is all due to the productivity benefits of having workers who feel supported, engaged, and challenged. When everyone truly feels part of a team pursuing a shared goal under a shared ethos, they’ll cooperate more effectively with their colleagues, and be more willing to work hard to help reach that shared goal.
In addition, cooperative colleagues communicate more effectively, sharing information, methods, and skills that can help the company. They also feel more supportive of each other.
For instance, I recently read a FastCompany piece about Shopify, a Canadian SaaS brand that provides user-friendly ecommerce hosting and development. In a bid to help its staff share the interesting things they’re working on, share ideas, and credit each other for great work, Shopify implemented an internal communication system known as UNICORN.
By investing in this Twitter-inspired platform, the company created a podium that allowed accomplishments to be shared with all employees throughout the company — not just management. As a result, team morale got a shot in the arm and Shopify’s employees redefined the way they collaborate — no small feat for a company of that size.
5 simple tips to maximize company appeal
Since company culture is so important for the reasons outlined above, you obviously need to take steps to create a company culture that draws people in and keeps them happy. Here are 5 quick tips for doing just that:
- Listen to your workers. The moment they feel that their feedback is being ignored, workers will start to lose their sense of investment. Make a habit of regularly speaking to your team and asking for their comprehensive feedback on how everything is going (assure them that they can speak freely).
- Provide proportionate rewards. You can’t always offer wild bonus schemes, but what you can do is seek to make sure that whatever rewards you can provide are suitably proportionate to individual effort. Each worker needs to know that if they work hard and excel, that effort will be suitably rewarded.
- Be consistently honest. If things get tough, payments are going to be late, or someone isn’t pulling their weight, you need to be transparent about what’s happening. You might get some backlash at times, but workers will ultimately appreciate that you refuse to hide things from them.
- Help workers develop. Don’t make the mistake of leaving worker skills to stagnate because you fear them moving on to bigger things. If they want to stay working with you, they will, and helping them develop will make them more likely to be loyal, not less.
- Encourage socializing. It can be hard for team bonds to form during the regular workday. That’s why it’s useful to find opportunities for them to socialize outside of work. You could host a social event, or simply let everyone go a couple of hours early provided they spend that time together.
Company culture matters hugely for employers and employees alike, and contractors will always shy away from working with companies that don’t treat their workers well. Use the 5 tips we just looked at to start developing your culture, and your team will appreciate it.
“Rodney Laws is an e-commerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. He’s worked with the biggest platforms in the world, so he knows how to build the best online store for your business. Connect with on Twitter @EcomPlatformsior.”