Wednesday, 06 April 2016 15:12

The Importance of a Strong Company Culture

At Baillie, we believe our company culture is defined by trying to serve as a resource for our customers. This includes not only providing quality hardwood lumber products, but – in those rare cases when we’re unable to provide a particular product – also in our willingness to share other options, experiences or solutions our customers might not know about on their own.

Every business has a culture, intentional or not. Businesses with the healthiest work environments are, we believe, those that embrace inclusiveness – the recognition that encouraging employee engagement and welcoming their contributions will lead to greater success with customers.

From our experience, here are a few key elements that go into the making of a strong company culture:

Transparency. The more your workforce knows about the company’s goals, operating procedures, revenue-generating strategies, key metrics and results, the more they can contribute. Qualities-Culture

“The goal is for all employees to feel they know the thinking, responsibilities, and strategy at various levels of the company and can share ideas and feedback no matter who they are,” observes entrepreneur Jeremy Bloom.

Complete leadership buy-in. Sometimes a CEO wants to promote transparency and employee engagement, but a member of his or her leadership team fails to “get the message.” Everyone on the team must buy into the culture and exemplify it in their words and deeds. Otherwise, the internal culture remains splintered and priorities become confused.

Listening to and empowering employees. How often do you or others on your executive team “make the rounds” of the office (or communicate with offsite employees), just to touch base and see how they’re doing? In a culture where the CEO or business owner actively engages with employees, there’s a much stronger sense that “we’re all in this together.” It’s also helpful for employees to feel they understand where the leader of

Encourage independent thinking. Equally important is the need to avoid micromanaging or bombarding employees with too many rules and regulations. Empower your team to act independently whenever possible; mistakes will happen, but smart employees learn from those missteps and often come up with intriguing solutions you and your executive team might not have considered.

Always be communicating. Assuming you’ve determined what your company stands for and created a robust vision and mission statement, the next priority is to emphasize those values in all of your internal and external communications. Such outlets may include newsletters, the company website, staff meetings, employee recognition programs, press releases, blog posts, etc. You want employees and customers to know what’s important in your culture, and that can only happen through focused, ongoing communications.

Conditions in the business world are always changing. That is true in the world of hardwood lumber as well and why we believe it’s vital all companies develop a “cultural compass” to go by – shared values, attitudes and beliefs that don’t change with every shift in the industry.

How important is company culture to you? How do you nurture and develop your culture? If you have any best practices to share please let us know!

Tony Cimorelli
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