5 Ways to Create a Productive & Relaxed “Business First” Culture

buisness first feature image
Image by: Robert Scoble
By Dexter Lunde

The terms “business first” or “corporate culture” are becoming important buzz words in your . They both refer to how your business is viewed by the people within your company. Some people keep a strict business only atmosphere and other create a more lax atmosphere in their place of business. Each has its perks.

Companies who are strictly business first companies get more done but are apt to have high turnover rates and may have more competition within their own business. Companies who are too relaxed may have cohesion within their company but employees may not be as productive as they can be.

Studies have shown that a high number of non-management employees have a tendency of being more disengaged these days. They aren’t working to their “full productive capacity.” So how can you nurture engaged workers and team members? Creating an effective, productive, yet semi-relaxed business first atmosphere which engages the best tactics from both strict and lax companies is easier than you think.

#1) Reminding Staff of their Importance

Tom Walter
is the CEO of Tasty Catering in Chicago. He told Inc. Magazine that,

“If your staff believes that they matter, that their opinions matter, the company soars. People aren’t just productivity units. I believe in democracy because the future is as secure as people are with working together.”

What he is saying is, if you encourage your employees by taking their opinions to heart and constantly show them just how important they are to your company, your company will do wonderfully. Happy workers are productive workers and those are the team members that are the foundation of successful businesses.

#2) Use the Right Language

Make sure that you’re encouraging a cohesive culture within your company by using the right language. In my business, I like to call everyone team members instead of employees because (not only does that give a more encouraging connotation) it is empowering and reminds everyone that we are all in this together. I also encourage the right pronouns. Use “we” and “us” instead of “them” and “they”.

#3) Know the Company Goals and Dreams

The company’s goals and dreams should be the same throughout the various departments. If a stranger were to go up to any one of your workers/employees/team members and asked what the company’s dream, thesis, or vision statement is, that person should be able to tell them the correct answer. You are the CEO, the figure head, and the owner of your dream. You should share it with everyone on your team.

You should all be working toward the same goal, whether it is to create innovative products to make peoples’ lives better, help save peoples’ lives, to create a delicious apple pie, or just to make your customers smile.

Jill Blashack Strahan (the founder and CEO of Tastefully Simple) says,

“When people have hope for the future they will have power in the present.”

#4) Open Atmospheres

Open work environments (like the ones at Google headquarters and Pixar) encourage team members to talk with one another and interact. No one is closed off in their own spaces. Instead of having a break room on each wing, have one break room that is bigger (to allow for more people). This will encourage people from different departments to talk with one another and share their wisdom.

It has been documented that, open environments that allow for people in different departments to mingle are more innovative. They are more apt to bring their work problems to each other and get other viewpoints, which allow for “out of the box” thinking.

If you can, hire employees that work well with others. Ask them (during their interview) about their preferred working practices. Tell them about your open environment and how you encourage integration and interaction within departments so that there are no surprises for them.

#5) Values

Remember the first idea? Make sure that your team knows just how important they are. Your workers, your employees, and your team members (whatever you choose to call them) should feel comfortable enough to tell you about their latest ideas and if they see a problem in the future of a product or a marketing tool.

This is an example of your team showing good values (in particular, this was an example of communication). How do you know what values to instill in your team? Well that’s going to vary with each company and it all depends on your mission statement and your goals as a company.

However, if you want an example, KISSmetrics (a blog about analytics, marketing and testing) recently published an article which stated Netflix’s nine values for their team’s behaviors and skills:

    1) Judgment
    2) Communication
    3) Impact
    4) Curiosity
    5) Innovation
    6) Courage
    7) Passion
    8) Honesty
    9) Selflessness

People who demonstrate these values are the people who get hired for Netflix and who get promoted within Netflix.