What is an enterprising culture?
An entrepreneurial culture, it is best described as the members within an organisation demonstrating the willingness and attitude to generate income for that organisation. While you might think that sounds like a lot of companies, there are plenty of businesses where the employees turn up to work simply to collect a paycheque.
If you own and operate company chances are you can name many workers who don’t show initiative to grow the business. It’s in every business owner’s best interest to foster the kind of culture where their employees are actively trying to make the enterprise more money. In this article, we cover some of the ways you as a leader can instil this entrepreneurial drive in your employees.
When attempting to get every one of your staff to pull in the same direction and generate more income for the business, it’s essential to think about what you’ll give them in return. While everyone wants to be a part of a successful business, your staff aren’t going to break their backs working for no compensation, so to speak!
This doesn’t just mean offering a competitive salary. The right employee benefits, such as subsidised lunches or paid volunteering days, could make all the difference. Simply put, if they are happy at work, they will be more productive, leading to higher revenue for the business. A study from DCR Strategies also found that a 5% increase in employee retention could lead to an 85% increase in profitability.
Similarly, using a system of bonuses or rewards measured against KPIs can really inspire an employee to do well. Even social causes are making use of similar tactics. Technology entrepreneur Ewan Kirk launched the Kirk Global Challenge to award students that came up with a way to creative ideas to solve essential issues in developing countries.
If you are a small business and you enter a competition like this, you could allocate a portion of the prize money to your employees, as the great exposure you receive in your industry will be reward enough for your business. Other awards specifically for smaller enterprises include the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards and the Shell LiveWIRE Awards.
If you are trying to imbue your company with a particular culture, then you need to make your employees aware. Make sure they are informed not only what you expect from them, but that they are welcome to share ideas. Create an environment where people can interact with each other, as well as support each other’s achievements and successes. A study from Gallup also found that teams that were highly engaged were 21% more profitable.
Remind people about your vision and the direction you see the business going. Not only do your employees need incentives, but you do as well. Ask yourself where you see your business five, ten and even fifteen years down the line. Then make sure that roadmap is well-known among the others in your company.
Just as you need to communicate your vision, you need to let your staff know when they go above and beyond to generate income for the business. Bi-annual or even quarterly reviews will allow you to discuss an employee’s progress in line with your goals. It also lets them have an opportunity to discuss anything they are unhappy with, and likewise, you have the chance to do the same.
Feedback clarifies expectations, and it’s not just valued on the employee side either. Research from Breathe has shown that small business owners understand the importance of giving feedback as 72 per cent said that the employee appraisal process was valuable. A third (32%) considered it to be essential. It represents a suitable time for continued learning. Even at the executive level, an entrepreneurial culture can only sustain itself if everyone is continuously learning how to make the business better.
Sustaining the culture
Just as you must do the above to create an enterprising culture, so too must you continue to do them. This isn’t a case of set it and forget it. If you expect your employees to do their best to generate income, then you need to learn how to keep them motivated to do so.
This is especially important as your business grows. It’s easy to get your team to generate income when you are a small operation. But as you grow, some of your thoughts will get lost in translation. The good news is that it’s much easier to instil these values into a company that’s just getting started, rather than trying to flip the culture of a business on its head when there’s already hundreds of employees.
Incentivise your employees to generate income, communicate what’s expected of them and give them feedback on whether or not you think they are moving in the right direction, then you are well on your way to building an entrepreneurial culture.