We all would like to work in a pleasant environment and hope that our practices are full of bright, capable people who make our business run more smoothly. While many practice managers appreciate the internal benefits of such a positive work environment, many fail to connect the dots and see how an outstanding company culture can create real, tangible growth and benefits for your business externally as well. When you invest time and effort to foster a sense of respect and positivity in your workplace, you are investing in the future of your business.
Begin your development of a positive environment by first building the proper team. Naturally, recruitment is an important part of the equation since finding the right employees is half the battle. As many business owners have found out the hard way, the wrong people can weigh down the team and upset company culture. Too often, people hire their friends or recruit in a panic which leads to less-than-perfect employees. Make the investment in a proper and thorough recruitment and screening process. When you hire new employees, look for individuals who are the right fit for the business but also have a skillset that is matched to the particular job description you are trying to fill.
Once you have a great team in place, foster a strong sense of teamwork within your practice. At my business, we put everyone through the Kolbe System or StrengthsFinder to determine their strengths. These systems show how each person scores on metrics such as empathy, fact-finding, follow through, implementation and more. Building up a healthy team requires you to pair up employees who complement each other. For example, one employee may constantly brainstorm new ideas but fail to implement them while another employee may be better at implementation than creative thinking. By pairing up these two seemingly opposite employees, you actually set them both up for success. This not only is a great team building technique, but it also improves productivity and helps celebrate people’s strengths instead of their weaknesses.
You should also work to encourage a culture in which helping other employees is commonplace regardless of their position in the company, whether or not it’s their client in a given situation, or whether the task is in their job description. If you hire passionate and caring people, you will usually find they will go above and beyond to help their fellow employees succeed.
While creating a positive company culture is rewarding in and of itself, there is also tangible business value for those who focus on this aspect of their practice. The more positive the work environment, the better your employees will perform and the happier clients will be. If clients feel that they are in a welcoming space, they will be more inclined to trust you and your practice and become more invested in your professional relationship. On the other hand, if your staff is unhappy they will project that onto your prospects and clients and your business will suffer.
One of the ways I see this play out directly in my business is through referrals. At my practice, I encourage employees to acknowledge others’ accomplishments and celebrate a job well done. When clients are exposed to this type of environment within our office, they are more inclined to refer us to their friends and family. At my practice, we have even had prospects who we were ultimately unable to help go out and refer us to their colleagues due to our team’s superior attention to their needs. Create a culture where people share their good experiences both internally and externally and it will bolster your client roster dramatically.
Treating employees with respect and compassion also affects the way we interact with our clients and how they interact with us. Small acts of kindness, like a handwritten birthday card or flowers for a special occasion, can go a long way to make employees feel appreciated. The same type of attention to detail can also be extended to clients. When this occurs, clients will often express gratitude for these gestures, which in turn continues the loop of positive acknowledgment and within the office and encourages employees to continue this type of client service. Ultimately, seeing the value behind these small gestures requires the understanding that being an advisor is about more than fitting a client with the right plan, it’s also about the human experience.
If you work to create a positive environment internally, it will often become a self-sustained cycle externally as well. If you and your employees do the best work and create the most positive environment possible, the right opportunities and clients will come back to you in return. While many advisors exist in the mindset that clients always come first, I encourage you to put your employees on a similar level. The bottom line is that clients and staff alike should leave your office feeling better having been in your company. If you go to work each day with this concept in mind, you will create an unparalleled culture of excellence that translates into significant business value.
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- Building A Positive Company Culture Benefits Your Bottom Line - September 21, 2017