By Arash Asli, CEO of Yocale.
Workplace happiness and a creative environment are key indicators of success. A great company culture provides a push forward, whereas a lack of one causes friction -- possibly causing your business to derail. Ultimately, it's your people who can make or break you; the corporation is, after all, just a legal entity on paper.
From building my own company culture, these are the three things I've learned that must be in place:
Clear and Common Company Goals
Culture in and of itself is a combined manifestation of human intellect. Therefore, to create a productive and effective company culture, you first need to work on combining your resources and then aligning them with company goals.
Setting common and clear goals, and giving employees the freedom to add their unique touches in the process of achieving those goals, will result in the manifestation of your own unique company culture.
Defining that clear mission for your company is a step often missed or brushed off as a quick "mission statement" practice. In our startup phase, we wrote our story and used this to define the core values of the company. Now, we can always revisit the initial mission of our company to realign our key objectives with the values of the co-founders who started it.
The goal is to create a mission statement based on core values that can be easily translated into action for every division of your company.
Well-Defined Roles for Each Team Member
Once you have clearly defined your company goals, the next step is to make sure it's easy for every person's role in your company to be aligned with those goals and for them to see exactly how they contribute to them. This should be replicated across all departments, from the CFO, to the programmers, to the outside sales representatives.
One way to systematize this process has been implemented Google, Intel and our own startup as well: Objective and Key Results (OKRs). The OKR process is a management methodology that connects the work of employees to the company's overall strategic plan.
Not only does this keep the company objectives top of mind for everyone, but it creates a simple system to help everyone build S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related) goals that align with that mission. As employees become more engaged in their contribution to the company mission, you'll need fewer managers driving productivity as your people become more self-driven.
This will also directly affect your bottom line: According to Gallup, organizations with above-average levels of employee engagement reap higher earnings per share.
The Ability for Employees to Show Off Their Individuality
Great company culture boosts employee morale, which in turn increases productivity. All the components that go into creating this, whether it is team events, office design, or impromptu get-togethers all serve as great ways for employees to break away from their routines and leverage the aspects of their unique selves.
There are many ways to spend money to try and make the workplace happier and more engaged, but there really is no hard data on the exact ratio between fun and productivity. Remember, there's a fine line between a workplace that's full of lively and inspired employees, and too much distraction and activity that decreases productivity and team connection.
If your company is on a mission to create a company culture of engaged, productive and happy employees, begin by clearly defining what goals your collective of employees should be focused on. Knowing your company values and getting the team aligned with them will create the greatest ROI in your company's culture.
Arash Asli is the CEO of Yocale, an app for easy appointment-booking.