Creating A Great Company Culture In A Small Team

Leaders of large companies often talk about the importance of culture in the workplace, but small business owners might not know how that translates to them. Can a small team even have its own company culture?

To get insight on what company culture is and how leaders can foster their own work culture – even in small teams – we talked to Kelly Wheeler, team leader of the Amazement Team at Rocket Mortgage®, whose job is to amplify the team member experience through recognition, events and other various programming.

What Is work Culture?

According to Wheeler, her goal is to “create a place where people enjoy coming into work.”

Company culture is what takes a workplace beyond a place where you go to complete your daily tasks in exchange for a paycheck. It’s the environment, attitudes, behaviors and values that determine how people within a space work, interact and feel about the jobs they do and the people they do them with.

While large companies use culture in part to help employees feel like one cohesive unit, small companies can benefit just as much from helping their employees feel unified.

5 Tips For Creating A Work Culture In A Small Team

Here are some tips Wheeler shared for fostering a positive environment and a great culture within your small business.

Find Shared Values

An important part of creating a good culture, Wheeler says, is “finding those values that you all share on your team and creating goals around that.”

If you aren’t sure what values you share with your employees, ask. Talk to them about what’s important for them to have in a job, what they like about working there and if there are any areas they think could be improved upon. Maybe you’ll find that all your team members value open and honest communication, or a culture of understanding and flexibility.

Recognize Success

People like to be recognized when they do something right. If you aren’t occasionally letting your employees know that you see them doing a good job, they might start to feel like they aren’t valued or that their job isn’t important.

Wheeler says it’s essential for employers to take the time to show team members that they care about the work they’re doing and to ensure them that they’re being recognized by their leaders and peers for their successes.

It’s also important to know how to recognize them.

“Different people like getting recognized in different ways,” Wheeler says.

This could mean taking the time to mention their achievements during a staff meeting or scheduling a one-on-one meeting to congratulate them and thank them for the work they do.

Reward Success

Beyond calling it out, you can also offer rewards for employees who complete certain tasks or hit specified goals.

Part of what Wheeler’s team does is implement programs that reward team members for achieving goals. This has included things like planning competitions around daily goals and offering rewards such as gift baskets.

Take Time Out Of Your Day

Try to avoid holing up in your office for long periods of time, which would prevent you from interacting with your employees. A big part of creating a positive culture is making sure your team members feel like they know their leader and have the ability to talk to them when issues come up. That means leaders need to build good relationships with their employees.

Wheeler says this could be as simple as walking around the office from time to time, talking to people and letting them ask questions, or bringing in treats to work and passing them out individually.

Say Thank You

“The smallest thing you could do would be literally just thanking your team members for what they do and recognize that what they do is making a difference in the company,” Wheeler says. “People want to know that they’re a force for good.”

You can do this in big ways and in small ways. Take employees aside and thank them for the work they did on a project. Write a thank you card or take them out to lunch if they did something particularly challenging. Simply being kind and appreciative will go a long way.

“People think that [building a culture is] this huge beast, but it’s really just treating people the way you want to be treated,” Wheeler says.