Fostering a vibrant office culture can make or break your business.
If every team member engages with the business’ values, beliefs and behaviours, your team will be your biggest asset when it comes to recruitment and client attraction.
A cohesive team that is happy and feels valued will take pride in their work and a personal interest in your goals, while those that don’t, won’t.
So how do you create a good business and office culture?
Getting the most out of your team does not come from structured orders, rigid job descriptions and overbearing micro-management.
It comes from empathetic leadership that positively encourages team members, builds trust and creates an environment where self-motivated and loyal staff will consistently go above and beyond to make you proud and willingly support you and your business.
When you treat your team with respect, trust and inclusion, they will reciprocate in spades.
My tips for creating an A-team include:
Our senses are in tune with the environment we are surrounded by so give your team the space to embrace their personalities, be themselves and interact with each other.
Sharing wins, losses, ideas, inspiration and challenges is crucial to developing a cohesive and communicative team.
Keep an ‘open door’ policy and allow your team the confidence to come to you privately with any concerns – without fear of reprisal. You want them to be open and honest.
If mistakes are made – and everyone makes them – rather than delivering reprisal and criticism, ask them how you can help fix the error, what they’ve learnt from it and what you need to put in place so that it doesn’t happen again.
Ask your team for ideas on improving your business as they will often have a different view to you and help you see things from a perspective you may not have thought about before.
Promoting a culture which values sharing and encourages joint problem-solving builds trust, balance and better productivity.
Feel good Fridays
Celebrate the week. Get some platters together and gather your team around to reflect on the positives, successes, challenges and goals.
It might seem like such a simple task, but it’s great for improving mindset and integrating your team into the business on a deeper level.
Shared experiences also help build camaraderie.
Go around the room and have each team member share their:
▪ biggest win
▪ one learning
▪ one challenge
▪ one goal for the next week.
It’s social. It’s fun. It’s bonding over work-related issues.
Team bonding activities
Team bonding activities don’t have to be complicated. They can be as simple as organising a roaming sales, property management or entire team meeting at a location of choice.
Once a month, you could do a ‘walk and talk’ meeting along a local walking track or hit a nearby cafe for a coffee meeting.
If you want to go a little bigger, you could find a local yoga instructor to conduct a class for the team once a week, either before work or at lunchtime.
Obstacle courses can also make a fun quarterly bonding event and these often have the added bonus of requiring teamwork and communication.
Or, for a real feel-good bonding experience, why not raise money for a charity and enter a local fun run.
You could even do it as a relay, with a different team member for each leg.
Acknowledge and appreciate
Everyone needs acknowledgement and appreciation, especially when their effort is essentially for the greater benefit of someone else.
At a minimum, leaders should greet each team member of a morning and acknowledge with a ‘thank you’ for the key work they have been working on.
There is a big difference between what is acceptable effort and what is going above and beyond the call of duty.
When your team goes above and beyond, it’s important you actively show your gratitude so that the team member feels valued, validated and beneficial.
Acknowledging your team’s wins and challenges shows they, and their work, matter to you.
A rewards program
Believe it or not, this doesn’t have to be expensive.
If it is fun, your team will want to get involved and support each other.
One great idea is to have some small, numbered envelopes with a prize in each one. Prizes could be a car wash, a massage, a coffee for a week, or a gift voucher.
Set a weekly or monthly challenge with the winner getting to select an envelope. It’s important to change the challenge, so everyone has a chance to win.
Some challenge ideas include:
- the most listings
- the most appraisals
- the most sales
- the most new managements
- the least arrears
- the best customer experience.
It’s also essential to reward your team for any major business milestones with a lunch or some other team activity. It’s a small investment for a greater reward.
Allowing your team to diversify within your business by learning new skills and giving them the space to move into different roles can provide greater opportunities for responsibility and appreciation as well as increased financial reward for both of you.
- Up-skilling and promoting from within helps employees feel valued and a crucial part of the business’ success.
- Employee development, education, and training are other tools in your retention arsenal.
- Training and education go hand-in-hand with mindset and motivation.
- It builds the framework for culture, bonding and a cohesive, energetic workplace.
- Ongoing learning can include group, face-to-face events, webinars, podcasts, daily role-play as a team, coaching and online programs.
Employees see a commitment to training as an investment in their worth and a powerful incentive to stay where they are.
Finally, ensure you share your company vision with your team so they understand your goals for growth and financial aspiration, along with the core values they need to be aligned with.
When your workplace is enriching and enticing, allowing everyone to contribute to your business, their energy and enthusiasm will help to set the standard for recruits.
So, look for people who will fit in with and enhance your existing team when you are recruiting – not just those with more experience.
Good culture is the lifeblood of your business’s development and longevity.