Having A Good Culture – Is It Necessary In Your Trades Business?
How to have a good culture in your trade business?
Culture can sometimes feel a bit esoteric. Big companies talk about it. They fanny about, worrying about their culture and engagement. And they give themselves engagement scores. And they spend money on stuff. And they have off-site days and team-building exercises, etc.
It can feel a bit strange and overdone. We don’t have that in small businesses in the same way.
In a trade business, we don’t have ping-pong tables, foosball tables, slides, fridges full of booze and free-food, and off-site team-building days.
We don’t have that quite so much. Certainly not when they’re supposed to be working and making us money.
And all that stuff can sound and feel a bit silly and like wasted money. I think without the proper context it can be.
However, if you don’t invest in a good, positive, supportive culture in business, you might end up with a bad negative antagonistic one — you don’t want that.
So you do have to invest in a good culture, but it’s not just in a ping-pong table.
Importance Of Having A Good Culture
If you have a good culture, you’ll keep your people longer. They’ll be:
- More engaged
- More enthusiastic
- More motivated
- Enjoy work more
- More positive about things
- Take more care
- Interact better with each other – with the customers and with you
And if you don’t, they’ll:
- Cut corners
- Argue with you, with each other and with your customers
- Be grumpy
- Be lazy
- Be summoned
- Drag the chain
- Resist new things and new ideas
And generally, they’ll slow you down and hold you back — you don’t want that.
And the worst thing is, it will be your fault.
It’s up to you to set the culture. If you don’t set one deliberately, one will sort out on its own and it might not be the one you want. If you’re lucky, it might be. And if you’re not, it won’t. But it won’t be bad. We all fall because you didn’t attend to it in the first place.
So do it. Set one.
What is culture?
It’s the personality of a business. It’s the environment in which everybody works.
- The work environment – what’s it like to work there, the company’s vision and the mission, values, ethics, expectations and goals.
- How you look after them.
In some ways, it’s you reciprocating.
We talked about leading in setting the strategy and wanting them to see their part in it, and embrace the vision, the plan, see their part in that plan and encouraging and giving them the feedback.
We talked about managing them, and giving them their jobs and telling them what we expect of them.
And in some ways, it’s reciprocating and says:
- ‘No, you do all that’.
- ‘Sure, we’ll pay your salary, but we’ll also do these things to look after you’.
- ‘We’ll give you some job security’.
- ‘We’ll care about you’.
- ‘We’ll pay you like this’.
- ‘We’ll have these parties’.
- ‘We’ll pay bonuses like this’.
- ‘We’ll share the rewards of all being in this together and it’s not just about we pay you to do work and that’s the end of it’.
It’s about telling them what your values are.
Your mission is the kind of work you do in the kind of business you want to be, so tell them that.
This is how we want to be out there in the workplace. This is how me or the managers and the owners want to be to you – our staff and our team.
How you look after your people is really important.
If you don’t tell them how you look after them they won’t know, and they’ll probably think that you don’t care about them – which can lead to negative culture.
So you need to be explicit and straightforward about telling people this. It’s not just paying them.
Start Building A Good Culture
Have you considered it?
I didn’t until I learned about it. There’s nothing wrong with not having done it.
But now you know. Please go ahead and invest some time and energy in deciding what culture you want in your business.
A lot of my clients, when we were coaching, write a cultural plan. We actually sit back and decide:
- How we want to be
- How we want to pay
- How we want to have bonuses
- How we want to recognize effort and reward it
- How we want to look after everybody
- Do we have healthcare?
- Do we pay for lunches sometimes?
- How we have parties
- How we invest in training
Have a think about how you contribute to charity and whether you give people time off to do voluntary work.
All that kind of stuff is very important.
And of course, if you want some help, come to me.
I’m a business coach, that’s what I do.
I’ll help you structure a cultural plan and document it and I’ll help you make decisions about how much you want to spend in investing in your people.
You don’t need to spend loads but you do need to put time, effort and some money into it. You’ll get better performance and you’ll be happier if you do.
So if you want me to help you there are four ways you can engage with me:
1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.
2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.
3. Attend my next Tools Down workshop.
4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.
See you later.