How many hours per week do you spend on work-related things? Count the hours in the office, the last-minute after work projects, and the mental time spent thinking about those projects. Chances are, this number is way higher than you’d like to admit.
According to a Gallup poll, U.S. employees report working an average of 47 hours per week. And for small business owners who do just about everything, that number is probably even more astronomical.
So it’s safe to say that the culture you’re surrounded with for all those hours should be one that you enjoy. Right?
At Cenero LLC, this idea of creating an inspiring culture is extremely important. As an audio visual, unified communications and IT solutions provider, the talent pool for this specific niche is very small.
As the ring leader of an HR department of one, director Lori Ellis says recruiting amazing talent is a challenge for them…but it’s also what has made Cenero so successful.
“I think finding good, quality talent that also fits our core values and culture is one of the hardest challenges for us. At the same time, that’s one of the reasons I think we’re so good at what we do from an AV integrator perspective is that we actually have extremely low turnover. We’ve been very fortunate to grow consistently over the past few years and we’re able to find good talent and hold onto it,” explained Ellis.
How is this possible and how can your company get these same results? Culture. This has become quite the buzzword as talent pools are growing smaller and competition is expanding greatly. When great culture becomes a priority at your small business, your customers will take notice. And it has to flow from the top down.
Every interaction your employees have with potential and current customers is an opportunity to solidify the relationship. And when your employees are happy and passionate about what they’re doing, that feeling will shine through.
“You need to have the clients, obviously, but in addition to having great clients, you need to have exceptional staff and employees, and that can make or break a company,” said Ellis.
The best part is that you can make small tweaks now to make this happen:
Hire for the person, not the position
You might be thinking that finding amazing people to work for you is your biggest issue, not keeping them around. And fostering great culture starts from the hire. So if you use this idea of hiring for the person and not for the position, you’ll be able to reap the long-term benefits.
One great way to get people on board is through referrals. Even if you’re a small business with a handful of people on staff right now, chances are, those people know someone who could be a great fit for that next hire when you’re looking to expand.
“A lot of times we’re fortunate enough to get a lot of great referrals from employees because they understand what we’re looking for,” said Ellis. Cenero even offers a bonus for those employees who refer other employees as an incentive for recommending.
Mission and values
If your employees don’t feel a sense of purpose or even understand why they’re doing what they do every day, that’s a tough hurdle to cross in keeping them motivated.
Some companies don’t even have a mission statement developed and they’re missing a huge opportunity to enhance culture because of that.
At Cenero, their mission and core values decorate the walls of the office, serving as a constant reminder of their purpose.
“Our employees actually got together to write these core values. I think this is so important. Since everyone had a say in creating these, we all have a reason to truly believe in them,” said Ellis.
This is another area where your customers will take notice. A mission statement or values don’t have to simply be for internal eyes only. When you practice these values, that passion will show when interacting with customers. People like to buy from people they trust and this is a great way to prove your trustworthy qualities.
This one may seem so obvious but yet it’s the root of most obstacles standing in the way of great culture. If you don’t open the doors for fluent communication, you’ll never be able to understand what your employees are feeling or how processes are working.
Some examples of great communication that Cenero practices are holding company-wide status update meetings as well as continual training for all 135 employees.
“We have company-wide meetings about three times a year. We actually go over the company’s financials in detail so this way the employees know exactly what’s going on. We also do our best to require that all of our employees receive up to 40 hours of training per year to keep them really up-to-date on all of the technology that’s continually changing,” explained Ellis.
You want to establish open and transparent lines of communication with your clients, so you should have that same level of dialogue with your employees. When you make your employees feel valued, the work they do will reflect this sense of pride.
What are you doing to make your culture shine?