As a business owner and entrepreneur one of the most important things to us is that we have a place people enjoy coming to work. Take it from me when you are looking at how to build a great workplace, it can be hard to know where to begin. Don't get overwhelmed. After years of trial and error I've narrowed the process down to three solid steps to help.

1. Understand Your Purpose

This is fundamental to building a great place to work. When a company has a firm grasp on the reason they are in business it provides individual employees with a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves. Yes, your employees want to earn a fair wage, but most people do not get out of bed to simply "collect a check." In order to create excitement and deep satisfaction, people want to know their work truly matters and makes a difference. Your company will be able to find employees who resonate with your purpose. Mason Myers says:

many people prefer to work at a company and make purchases from a company where they feel aligned with the purpose of the company... If your company has a very clear purpose behind its existence, it attracts excellent, well-aligned employees and well-aligned customers.

Start with WHY and then move outward from there.

2. Hire for Culture

Someone once said that culture eats strategy for lunch. It's true. You can create the most ingenious strategy, and have a group of people with incredible skill sets, but it won't matter unless they fit your culture. This statement from Christiane Soto is right on the money:

Cultural fit is the single most important factor in hiring decisions, and a candidate's personal and professional values certainly tie into this. While certain skills are going to be the price of consideration for certain positions, if a candidate is not going to fit the culture of the company and department, even the most superior skills will not ensure success in the long run.

Most people really want to work hard and do their best (of course, there are exceptions to this rule). They want to show up and complete the work set in front of them. However, if they do not have the same work ethic, values and beliefs about business as you--they will not succeed. It may be time to evaluate the cultural fit of your employees. How? Communicate your values clearly... and often. It may dawn on you, and your employees at that point, why you (and they) are so frustrated. Find a graceful way to sever ties if that employee has no intention of joining the culture of your workplace. More importantly--hold tightly to those who do want to join you, they will pay off in spades.

3. Build Trust

This strategy is closely related to the one above... because it is a bi-product of combining purpose and culture. Simon Sinek argues:

...that as individuals and companies, everything that we say and do is a symbol of who we are. And it is only when we communicate our beliefs authentically that we can attract others to our cause, and form the bonds that will empower us to achieve truly great things.

Some managers and leaders want to withhold information from their employees. Often times, it is done because of a lack of trust. No one wants to live in fear, especially when we are afraid of the people who hold most sway over our professional lives. Trust isn't given overnight. It's developed by intentional leaders who find ways to include their employees, make the work environment safe, and entrust significant responsibility to them. It starts with a leader taking the time to train employees, permit mistakes and the space to grow.

Please share on social media if you found this post helpful. If you have a comment or question I would be happy to discuss.

Published on: Sep 15, 2014
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