One of the things many business owners take for granted is their company culture.  I have always felt that good companies have a good culture and happy employees.  Great companies are expected to have great cultures. They truly excel at this because it’s not just lip service, it’s something they strive for and work hard to sustain.  Good companies may throw fun events and have entertaining things to do at work to help their employees get through the day and have some enjoyment while they’re pulling the levers and fulfilling their daily tasks.  Great companies embrace the concept of happiness knowing that happy employees mean happy customers, and happy customers means growth, leading to more happy employees and more happy customers…and so on. 

This article is less about how to have happy employees and great company cultures and more about the negative effects it could have on your ability to grow your business.  In 1999 when we started EmployeeScreenIQ I had no idea how to run a business or even lead a group of people.  I was 25 years old and my experience in building company culture was nonexistent.  What I did have was a desire to grow an operation, have the happiest customers in the industry and employees willing to grow with us.  How did I accomplish this?  I listened to advice, tried a lot of different things, failed many times and learned from my mistakes…. wash, rinse and repeat.  Eventually we figured it all out and as time continued we adjusted and we adapted.  One of my favorite things to do was have prospective customers come to Cleveland and visit our operation.  Our success rate when we did this was nearly 100%.  Why?  Our people sold us as the best option because our prospects could see how happy they were and how hard they worked for our clients.  Put quite simply, your company culture is also your companies personality. 

Today this is more important than ever.  Your employees and even people you have interviewed are rating you and your process for the world to see.  Sites such as glassdoor, TrustPilot, Indeed, Vault and even Google allow employees and interviewees to rate their experience.  This information is not only available to employees but also to your customers and prospective customers, they’re looking!!  I recently ran a large RFP process for a publicly traded company.  We ran this process with around 10 background screening firms and the internal team read every current employee review they could find and that had a big impact on how firms were scored.  After doing my own research I understand why they did this and how they drew so many conclusions; many of you reading this have tepid rankings and some very unhappy employees. 

What can you do about this?  I would start by looking at the things that employees are unhappy about in their reviews.  See what you can do to make these things better, some you can’t, some you can.  Employees not only look for a workplace where they’re happy, but also a place they where they can thrive.  Employees want to grow, excel and expand, especially the younger generations.  They want opportunities to learn more, grow their skill sets and know that their employer cares as much about their future as their employer worries about their own.  According to Medium, only 12% of employees leave because of money.  There are some small things and some larger things you can do to make their experience better, but taking your culture for granted is not one of them.  Look, listen and learn and think to yourself what you would want if you were in their position.  Your employees spend 8-10 hours at work, away from their families, friends, pets, etc.  What are you doing to make them feel more at home?

In order to retain and make better employees,  take your company culture (its personality) very seriously.  Company culture should be something your executive team discusses and makes adjustments to on a regular basis.  Make sure your employees know that not only their good work matters, but they matter! 

I think we did a fantastic job with our culture at EmployeeScreenIQ, our employee turnover was low, and our senior management tenure was fantastic.  Were we perfect?  No, but we tried to learn from our failures and adapt.  If culture is something you are struggling with hit me up, I’m happy to lend a hand.