Establishing or changing the culture for the better at your own Utah business
One of the most challenging aspects of running your own business is finding ways to foster a strong culture. For some, establishing a culture is daunting, more vexing even than profit-and-loss or knowing if you have the right kind of products for your customers.
There are many aspects of success in the workplace that thrive if the culture you have in place is a strong one. This includes not only how much your business is worth compared to others in your industry, but also the productivity of your workers and the amount of profit you can conceivably make. Great teamwork stems from a work environment where creative thinking and comfort to stretch and grow in your job is encouraged.
Beth Lebowitz is an attorney who works as general counsel for businesses. She recently shared some great advice for leaders of small businesses to change the culture for the better. Of course, hiring employees who are ‘the right fit’ for a business and the culture that exists within it is essential. Another tip — ‘show, don’t tell,’ making sure you are personally promoting behaviors and goals that you have decided represent the culture of your business. Never take the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach!
Thinking about the non-financial side of anyone’s business takes time, but it’s important to establish a culture sooner than later. One way that First Utah Bank can help you with this crucial part of building success is with our merchant services, providing easy tools you can use through our expert staff that bring peace of mind when it comes to your finances.
Hire beyond the skills it takes to do the job
Lebowitz states in her article that about one-third of an employee’s salary is what it costs to replace them. Think proactively about retaining employees to reduce turnover as much as possible. High turnover rates can lead to decreased productivity for those employees that remain. Establishing a strong culture before an employee joins the company is a great goal, but it’s never too late to embrace the goal. Your current employees will thank you!
But how do you best vet a potential employee as it relates to culture? There are specific questions Lebowitz recommends that can help small business owners determine if a potential employee would be a good fit and also understands the importance of working within your defined culture. Here are those questions:
- What do you value most at work?
- What do you like and dislike about working with a team versus working by yourself on projects?
- Can you give an example of when you went above and beyond to help a colleague?
- Can you give an example of how you handled an interoffice conflict?
- Can you give an example of a failure and what you learned from it?
- Have you ever felt out of place at a previous job? Why? What did you take from that experience?
It’s a matter of trust for great culture
As you no doubt have discovered during your time running a business, ‘growing pains’ are a very real phenomenon in the life cycle of a small business. Having to navigate all the twists, turns and challenges of the marketplace can sometimes be a rough ride. So how do you respond to tumultuous times when it comes to communicating with your team?
One method that Lebowitz recommends Trust Collaboration. She recommends that employees should be “encouraged to have open, vulnerable communication in environments that promote safety and trust.” So if employees have questions, have an open door. Decide ahead of time what information is reasonable to share and provide the same information to all who ask. If you have an employee training guide or handbook, include a section letting the team know they can talk with leadership about challenges without fear of punishment.
And don’t forget the power of highlighting company and individual success stories. Taking the time to recognize the good even when things are tough can help maintain a positive atmosphere and encourage the team to continue moving forward rather than stopping to worry. Lebowitz states that having an open-door policy when it comes to both the highs and the lows can minimize workplace drama and improve productivity.
Adopt transparency and accountability
The next phases of fostering a great culture come from the top — and that’s likely you! Leaders contribute greatly to the environment of a business. Lebowitz recommends leaders be as open and transparent as possible about how the business is actually doing, not necessarily talking about every challenge, but sharing outlooks and talking openly about the big picture.
“When leadership is transparent and communicative, the rest of the company is, too,” Lebowitz writes. “Closed-off communications and business practices can lead to an environment of uneasiness and even resentment.”
Linked closely with this is the idea of accountability. This may be an uncomfortable point for some — few people feel like sharing times of failure — but Lebowitz believes that owning your own mistakes and talking about how you can learn from them is a key part of a strong company culture. And it is vital to not let employees take the fall for a mistake that was made by leadership.
“Create a workplace where people feel they have the space and the freedom to do their absolute best, mistakes included, and you’ll find your recruiting costs ticking to $0,” she states. “Your employees are the lifeblood of the organization, and when they’re working together harmoniously, that’s when awesome things happen.”
How merchant services can truly help your business
As a hometown banking option for Salt Lake City businesses, our merchant services can bring many aspects of your financial matters under one roof, administered by a team that knows and understands your distinctive needs as a Utah business owner. You can rest easy knowing that this portion of your business runs smoothly with us as your partner, allowing you time to focus on other things, like establishing and nurturing your company’s culture.
First Utah Bank offers merchant services for credit and debit card payments in retail, restaurants, mail order, telephone orders, internet or mobile purchasing. There’s also check processing services, EMV and NFC point-of-sale terminals, online software and payment gateways, and custom or pre-designed gift cards. All of your credit card terminals, websites and virtual terminals can be in sync with First Utah Bank’s business checking account, where you funds can be deposited directly after a purchase.
This all goes beyond just bringing you security and convenience, though. It’s easier to forecast and manage your cash flow with the electronic tools in the merchant services kit.
Let us guide you toward the best services we can provide for your small business. Learn more at our website, or call First Utah Bank at 801-308-2265.