How Does Your Work Culture Make People Feel?

If you were setting foot into your own business for the very first time, how would you feel? Not only as a patron, but as an employee? Would you feel welcomed? Rushed? Comfortable? Anxious? Excited?

What we’re trying to pinpoint here is the culture that exists in your business. Even though it’s one of the most frequently used buzzwords in the industry today, it’s still incredibly relevant.

The culture that you create within the walls of your establishment and among your employees is linked directly to your success.

So if you need to define your culture – or how about we call it vibe instead? – you can figure that out rather quickly with our method below.

What is Work Culture?

Work culture in small business settings involves several components that together determine the company’s atmosphere and its method of operation. It is characterized by the collective attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors prevalent among staff members. These elements are critical in shaping how team members engage with each other and how they support the company’s broader goals and objectives.

Understanding work culture is essential as it impacts employee interactions and their contributions to the company’s mission. In small businesses, where team dynamics are often more closely knit, the influence of work culture becomes even more significant. It serves as a guiding force that dictates the way employees communicate, collaborate, and address challenges within the organization.

Each small business develops its own unique work culture, which can be a key factor in its overall success and growth. This culture is a reflection of the company’s values, the management’s leadership style, and the collective approach of its team towards achieving their objectives. As such, for anyone involved in a small business, recognizing and nurturing a positive work culture is vital for fostering a productive and harmonious work environment.

Key Aspects of Work Culture in Small Businesses

Balancing Quality with Efficiency

In the realm of small businesses, the equilibrium between producing high-quality work and managing tasks efficiently is a key aspect of work culture. Cultures that emphasize efficiency and quality encourage skills like process orientation and thorough communication. These aspects lead to teams that are more aligned and dynamic, enhancing morale and boosting performance.

Finding and Retaining Talent

Attracting and keeping skilled employees is a challenge unique to small businesses. A robust organizational culture influences a company’s attractiveness to potential employees. A well-developed culture not only aids in attracting talent but also plays a pivotal role in their integration and long-term commitment, effectively reducing turnover costs.

Market Presence and Customer Engagement

For small businesses, which typically operate with smaller advertising budgets compared to larger firms, a distinct and positive culture can significantly enhance market presence. This culture reflects in the quality of customer service and responsiveness, fostering customer satisfaction and encouraging brand loyalty.

Flexibility and Management Style

The culture within a company is shaped by several operational factors, including office layout, policies, and management approaches. Elements like a flexible work environment, transparent management practices, and inclusive policies are instrumental in creating a positive work culture.

Types of Workplace Cultures

Work cultures in small businesses can be categorized into different types, such as Clan, Adhocracy, Hierarchy, or Market cultures, as per the Competing Values Framework. Each type has its own set of features. For example, Clan cultures emphasize teamwork and equality, whereas Market cultures are characterized by a focus on competitiveness and achieving results.

Know Who You Are…Today

Do you know who you are?

Who you are as the owner, but also who – or what – your business is?

Admittedly, it might sound somewhat nonsensical to think of your establishment like a living, breathing creature. But it truly is – each business has its own characteristics, nuances, and of course, vibe.

So, first and foremost, owners need to know who they are. That means, they understand and identify:

  • Their own personal characteristics (good and bad)
  • Their personal challenges and obstacles
  • Their values
  • What they want employees to value
  • How their restaurant or retail concept is unique or different
  • The challenges and obstacles the business is facing
  • What the current vibe of the business is

A quick note about how values tie into culture: Values are how people act and culture is a direct result of that. So think very carefully about the values you hold high.

Now, if you write out all of the answers to the questions above, do you like what you see there in black and white? Does the current vibe match up with the intended vibe?

Are you living up to the values that you hold dear? Does your unique concept work with or against the vibe you’ve created?

In looking at those answers, if you’re not quite where you want to be, there’s still time to get back on track .

Remember: Culture is Unique to Each Business.

No two owners are the same; as strengths, weaknesses, and concepts are identified, owners will invariably go in different directions with their company culture.

Just think about all the restaurants you’ve ever visited. There’s a definite vibe associated with each one, right?

Like at the family-owned Greek restaurant down the street, where you feel so welcomed and relaxed – almost like you’re sitting down at your grandma’s house for dinner.

Or the sandwich shop you stop at once a week, where the owner asks how your daughter’s dance recital went. And you ask her how her ill mother is coping with treatments.

These places have focused their efforts on creating a specific vibe, starting with their values, and trickling down to their staff, food, décor, and relationships with their customers.

In other words, they remembered the most effective step to nurturing a lasting, memorable culture: They LIVE it. Because culture is who you truly are and the actions you take, not just who you say you are.

Looking Ahead to Tomorrow

Once owners fully understand where they are today, they can begin to define and create a road map for where they want to go and how they’re going to get there.

And that’s where all those other buzzwords like mission, vision, and purpose come into play. We’ll discuss those in the weeks to come, as well as the step-by-step process to get you there faster…and with more success.

In the meantime, now that you’ve defined your businesse’s vibe, know that it won’t be perfect going forward. It will require a constant refocusing, but the end result is most certainly attainable. And worth it!

Carrie Luxem is the founder and President of Restaurant HR Group, a full-service HR group based in Chicago, IL. Carrie will be sharing her wisdom from over 15 years in restaurant human resources through guest-posts on the Homebase blog.

Want some HR help? See Homebase can make it easy by visiting our HR and Compliance page.

Related posts

Best Restaurant Scheduling Software: Top Options for 2024

When you opened your restaurant, you probably didn’t imagine you’d be up at night stressing over scheduling. But restaurant scheduling…

Read article

How to determine different personalities in the workplace (+ Tips to manage them)

Managing a team with diverse personalities can feel like juggling flaming swords. Each team member brings their own quirks, strengths,…

Read article

Understanding the Roles of Coffee Shop Staff for a Thriving Business

What is a Staff Coffee Shop? Running a coffee shop isn’t just about brewing the perfect cup of joe. It’s…

Read article

How Do I Get an Intern? A Comprehensive Guide for Small Business Owners

Thinking about bringing an intern into your small business? Smart move. Interns provide fresh perspectives and much-needed support. But what…

Read article

Managing Tips Made Easy: The Benefits and Challenges of Tip Trackers

Running a small business in the service industry can feel like juggling flaming torches. You’re dealing with customer service, employee…

Read article

HR for Restaurants: Tips & Challenges for 2024

You’re no stranger to fast-paced environments and working with tight profits, so you know all about how important HR for…

Read article
Effortlessly schedule and track your team's time with Homebase.
Try our basic plan free, forever.
Try Homebase for free