Steven Christodoulou is the founder, president and CEO of multi-award-winning ICC Property Management, and is a leading voice in promoting positive transformation in Toronto's property management industry. We asked him to explain why a great culture is a key to business success. Here's what he shared.
Workplace culture is important to the long-term success of your business. It is key to attracting top talent. And, when everyone is aligned with the company's core values, your company is bound to succeed. I, for one, am only successful because of my employees.
The goal of good company culture is to create the same feeling someone might get when coming home from school or work after a long day. There are many things you can do to nurture this feeling among employees. Going out for drinks on a Friday night, throwing barbecues in front of your office, or simply providing company-wide recognition for your staff are all effective ways to foster a welcoming company culture. Yet, using something that drives me personally, I've discovered a more novel way to both give back to my employees and to get to know their wants and needs.
I believe in the power of dreams; people should dream a lot more, in technicolor, because we never know what is going to come our way. As a goal-oriented person, I think that goals are dreams unless they're written down. So, every year right before New Year's Eve, I write my goals for the next year down and send them out into the universe. And, that's what led me to developing my company's unique approach to fostering a good company culture.
I started our company's Dream Foundation because I wanted to encourage my staff to start believing that anything is possible. I wanted them to realize that dreams can, in fact, come true and become a reality if we set our minds to making them happen.
So, I invite my staff members to send me emails that describe their dreams. It's that simple. I read through their dreams and choose one that I'll make come true. For example, one of my employees revealed that her dream was for her terminally-ill mother-in-law to see the Grand Canyon, something she had always wanted. I called my travel agent and arranged for her entire family to share that experience.
Launching your own Dream Foundation can bring your organization several benefits.
1. You show employees that you care.
While team building and social events are important, taking the time to understand your employees' dreams does wonders for engagement and morale.
2. You get to know your employees better.
Our Dream Foundation helps my management team get to know our staff and what they're looking for in highly relatable ways, so that we can, in turn, provide them with better support.
3. You'll start to discern patterns and themes.
When reading my staff's dreams, I discovered a common theme was a desire to lose weight. As a result, I started a Weight Watchers program that had outstanding staff participation and buy-in.
4. You show employees that dreams can come true.
Dreams go hand-in-hand with goals. By encouraging your staff to dream, you encourage them to become more goal-oriented. The impossible suddenly becomes possible in their eyes which will, inevitably, lead to company gains.
5. You'll stay focused on maintaining a great culture.
By continually learning what makes your staff tick, their happiness stays at the top of your mind. Your workplace will be a happier environment that's both more fun and more productive, making it easier to retain your talent.
Making dreams come true doesn't have to cost you a lot of money. I'm not a bank and my funds are limited. However, I've become much more enlightened about what drives my employees. By starting your own Dream Foundation, you'll find many opportunities to make dreams come true that are completely within reason. Investing in your staff, and ultimately your own success, is worth it.