As the President of a company with more than 300 people, I know how important it is to create and sustain an inclusive and exciting work culture. From a business standpoint, it just makes sense: if your workers aren’t happy, it affects your bottom line. A toxic work culture will bring down morale, force good people to walk out the door, and sends a bad message to clients and prospective employees. According to a Bain & Company Survey of 365 companies in Europe, Asia, and North America, 81 percent believe that a company lacking a high-performance culture is doomed to mediocrity. At Stribling & Associates, I’ve worked hard to build upon the legacy my mother founded in 1980, while evolving the brand to embrace shifting modern standards. Here are some of the ways Stribling ensures a winning workplace culture as we continue to grow:
- Live your core values
As a company, it’s important to decide what you are. Create a founding statement that epitomizes what your company stands for and how your workers are expected to conduct themselves and to be treated. Make your values a verb; they can’t just be words on a page, they must be actionable and practiced every day.
- Hire people who align with your core values
You can’t build a great team without the confidence of your staff. When I am interviewing prospective applicants, I don’t necessarily look for the most experienced person in the real estate field, but rather I look for examples of how they exercised my company’s values in the past – even if it’s in an unrelated field. If the most experienced person imaginable simply doesn’t align with your vision, it could be detrimental in the long run.
- Be flexible
A strong foundation should be able to bend without breaking. Things change with the passage of time, and you need to be mutable to stay relevant. This doesn’t mean you must abandon your core values, but you should be able to build upon them. Just look at the United States Constitution – there are amendments for a reason!
- Community & Balance
All work and no play makes everyone dull! Your workers should feel like they are part of a community, where their opinions are valued and their achievements are rewarded. I always try to hold staff events outside of the office, where we can all get together and let our hair down. Whether it’s bowling, a charity walk, or a fabulous meal – I want to show those who work for me that they are wanted and appreciated. Another way I show support for my team is by allowing for flexible work schedules. Working from home when necessary or from any one of the four offices I oversee is encouraged. You don’t want to feel stale. I find that people are less likely to take advantage of this system, and work harder, when it’s simply part of the culture.
Communication is key. You can’t have a functioning company without proper channels to voice concerns, ideas, and criticism. An online forum where people can pose questions and discuss ideas and trends makes for more transparency. It’s also imperative to answer your emails and return phone calls, even if just to acknowledge that they’ve been received. Above all, it’s okay to not have all the answers, but don’t pretend that you do. Be honest, and work hard.
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