King June 11, 2019

Starting a new business is a time of great excitement. You’re ready to begin your journey as a business owner and have a team of passionate employees to follow your lead. But apart from the early logistics of operations and product development, you also need to think about your company’s culture from the get-go.

Promoting a positive corporate culture from day one can help ensure your team wants to stick with you for the long haul. In turn, they’ll also likely feel more motivated and provide you with a solid performance you can count on to take your business to new heights. So, to help get you started, 12 members of Forbes Coaches Council share their best tips for crafting a positive company culture from the ground up.

Forbes Coaches Council members share their best advice for building the type of company culture you and your employees can get excited about.

Forbes Coaches Council members share their best advice for building the type of company culture you and your employees can get excited about.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Define Corporate Values

Developing a strong mission statement and foundational values should be a top priority for business leaders. These are often the first steps toward building a strong culture and can have a significant effect on productivity and employee satisfaction. Values should reflect the company identity, its work and the attributes it strives to embody, such as integrity, respect, accountability and innovation. – Rick Gibbs, Insperity

2. Appoint A ‘Culture Chair’

Ask this “wise and energized” person to chair monthly meetings to talk about culture. The first meeting would be “suggested attendance” for all. The chair will ask, “What kind of culture do you want to be part of?” Suggestions are written for the group to see. Follow up with, “How do we get there?” Draft three to six guiding principles to align group aspirations. Address, advance and adapt the guide monthly. – Deborah Goldstein, DRIVEN Professionals

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

3. Get Your Team’s Input

When it comes to organizational culture, it pays to be mindful of team feedback. Unlike most of the executive decisions that can be formulated by owners, organizational culture inherently dictates a buy-in from those that are subject to it. Hence, the respective input from the team members should be the basis of formulating a sustainable and desirable plan that will withstand the test of time. – Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group

4. Focus On Behaviors Not Values

When your culture is just forming, actions speak louder than words. Identify the behaviors you think will align your culture with success, and then be explicit in rewarding those behaviors and correcting any missteps. It’s fine if these behaviors are connected to core values, but you’ll create a stronger culture by focusing on the concrete behaviors rather than the lofty ideals. – Jamie Notter, Human Workplaces

5. Foster Employee Connection

Business owners can focus on establishing a culture where employees feel emotionally connected to the purpose of the company and be inspired to perform their best daily. Focusing on a connection between employees and the company can create a culture of collaboration where daily interactions build trust and facilitate the sharing of information and ideas necessary for a business to be successful. – Jonathan Silk, Bridge 3 LLC

6. Hire People Who Believe In Your Mission

Hiring employees who wholeheartedly believe in the mission of the organization is a must. From the beginning, keep in mind that the value systems and behaviors of the executives and decision makers are often displayed in their organization’s culture. If leaders treat employees with trust, dignity, and respect, more than likely the employees will reciprocate. The opposite is also true. – Dr. Melissa Weathersby, 5-Star Empowerment

7. Offer Collaboration Options

One of the few things the five generations in the workplace need is to set and define powerful collaboration options. Matures and baby boomers may not seem to need it but millennials, Gen X and Gen Z expect it. Why not create different collaboration options? Don’t just build open office workspaces. Engage each generation on Slack or another collaboration app. Develop projects. Involve all generations. – John M. O’Connor,Career Pro Inc.

8. Create A One-Focus Directive

Most companies, large and small, feel as if they need multiple core values. What if you had only one that created the culture you desired? I call it a “directive” because it’s a command to all who work here and would like to work here. Try either of these: “Do the best work of your life!” or “Love the people. Love the work!” If you employed either directive, would it solve most issues? – John Hittler, Evoking Genius

9. Encourage Learning

From the beginning, create a culture of learning. All planning, innovation, project management, sales and teamwork involve learning. Make the process of learning explicit in your culture to empower stakeholders to increase their learning power and continue to develop over time. Tap the deep diversity that exists in people’s learning styles to spark experimentation and open conversations. – Kay Peterson, Institute for Experiential Learning

10. Write An Engaged Purpose Statement

Create an engaged purpose statement based on input from all employees. Start with a list of 15 statements that create energy for your team. Have employees identify their top three statements. Draft a purpose statement based on the feedback you receive. Share the draft purpose statement with everyone and conduct a survey to understand how connected they are to it and ways they’ll demonstrate it. – Lee Eisenstaedt, Leading with Courage Academy

11. Leverage Others’ Strengths

We’re not all great at the same things. Some of us are great at chaos, and some of us are great at order. When you’re starting a business, be aware of which way you tend, so you can recognize when you might be flagging simply because of your natural tendencies (instead of just not being good enough in general—imposter syndrome anyone?). If you can, hire people who are good at things you aren’t. – Dr. Rachel MK Headley, Rose Group Int’l LLC

12. Have A Legacy Answer

If you want to make sure the “soul” of your company is understood and will perpetuate the culture you envisioned at the onset, have a legacy answer. What is the singular final piece of advice you would want to pass on if you knew this was your last day at the office. Imagine how you would want to be remembered and what should be kept sacred. This advice often describes the essence of a company. – Jim Vaselopulos, Rafti Advisors, LLC

[“source=forbes”]