It’s easy to look at the tech giants in Silicon Valley and see examples of company culture. From free gourmet food on the daily to other insane perks, they give all us “normies” something to work for, or be jealous of, take your pick.
Google is often touted as one of the greatest companies to work for, thanks to their expansive benefits. Not just things like insurance, either. We’re talking about free rides to work, the ability to bring pets to work, extended maternity (and paternity) leave, free fitness classes and gym memberships, and more. It’s just the tip of the iceberg.
But back to reality.
Bootstrappers and (startups in general) rarely have the resources to compete with such luxuries, if being able to provide any at all. But then again, we must question ourselves: what is culture, and how can we create something vibrant?
The key word being CREATE.
See, company culture is a bit like fitness. If you’re not actively putting in effort to improve your personal fitness (eating right, hitting the gym), then your health is probably stagnant or even slowly declining. If you want something, you have to put in the time to see it through.
According to the CEO of Airbnb, “culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion”. With this definition in mind, think about the digital marketing industry as a whole. No two companies do it the same, even though most of the guiding principles are in common.
When starting an Digital Marketing agency, training and fulfillment are key, but they can only take you so far. Your employees are the backbone of your business, and no matter how good your SOPs are, they can’t make up for a lack of culture.
We know that culture affects business in a myriad of different ways. A vibrant culture will keep employees longer at the company, they’ll enjoy it more, and they’ll even be more productive. It may take some cash out of your pocket, but it will be returned tenfold if you play your cards right.
In my personal experience, a culture of “work hard, play hard” seems to be difficult to attain, but one worth the effort. When employees are excited to work, they are more creative and productive. Throw some over-the-top parties once in a while and be spontaneous. Employees are people first, then employees. If you’re not appealing to the “human” part, they may not stick around long-term.
Try a few simple perks for your employees that will boost morale. Do you have fun things to do in the office, like a ping pong table or an xbox? Give your employees Netflix on you. For less than $10 per month per employee, you can give them all a gift that keeps on giving. Cater in some delicious food once a month. These are ideas right off the top of my mind to get the juices flowing, but it’s up to you to reinforce the principles for which you stand.
The first action item should be to create a mission statement that explains the culture you want to create. Print it up and have every new employee read it and internalize it. Put it on the wall.
Then get to work.