As a service-based industry, translation services are most successful when clients are happy. While focusing on client service is clearly one path to business success, a positive company culture also plays a big role.
Creating a positive company culture
Hire people who want to be there
This may seem obvious, but it’s so very important to hire people who really want to be part of the team. Employees who are just there for a check are not going to be excited about your vision. If people aren’t excited about what your company is doing, it’s hard to build a positive company culture. In a video on Facebook’s career page, Mark Zuckerberg says: “The reason why we’ve built a company is because I think a company is by far the best way to get the best people together and align their incentives around doing something great.”
Appreciate their work
Now, when employees are excited about your company, they are also more likely to contribute. When they do, the cornerstone to a positive company culture is making employees feel valued and appreciated. In fact, an extensive Boston Consulting Group study shows that appreciation for their work is the most important factor to most workers. Even something simple as a “thank you” for performing a routine task makes a big difference.
Create experiences to build a team
Along with appreciation, a team spirit is also key to creating a positive company culture. On a team, everyone helps each other because you’re working together for a common goal. Teams communicate, encourage each other and are the best way to get things done. Team building activities often mean getting out of the office, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. For example, one of the Word Connection team’s favorite rituals is sushi at the beach.
Listen to what employees want
Ask, listen to and learn what your employees want. A Human Capital Trends study by Deloitte says that simply listening to employees will help to “discover new ways to simplify work and improve productivity, performance, and engagement.” Do they want to work fewer hours, work remotely occasionally or just get a decent lunch break? Especially on a small team, the best way to know is simply to ask.
Support work-life balance
Another key to a positive company culture is supporting work-life balance. Nobody wants to feel like a robot. Family-friendly policies and flexible work policies, like the ability to schedule work around doctor’s appointments or picking up kids, brings a whole host of benefits.
Overall, the Japanese productivity philosophy, kaizen (continuous improvement), can anchor a positive company culture. More than a simple productivity strategy, kaizen humanizes the workplace. Because kaizen involves each member of the team in improving the company, everyone has a sense of ownership. Kaizen is naturally quite relevant to Word Connection’s team given our strong Japanese roots. Teamwork is an essential part of what we do and we all try to stay on the same level. Ultimately, kaizen orients the company towards providing employment over profit, with long-term growth as the main goal.
Why a positive company culture drives success
Happy employees are more creative and productive
Creativity and productivity often go hand-in-hand. First off, being happy encourages creativity. Research from Alice M. Isen suggests that being happy boosts creativity by freeing up space in our brain and increasing mental flexibility, both qualities that are key to innovation. Unsurprisingly, many studies also confirm that happiness powers productivity. One such study by Prof. Andrew Oswald at the University of Warwick found that happy people are 12% more productive.
Happy employees create value
We’ve established that happy employees perform better; as a result, companies perform better, too. Prof. Alex Edmans at London Business School studied the “100 best companies to work for” in the United States (as ranked by Fortune magazine), and found that these companies outperformed their peers by 2.3% per year.
Happy employees stay
When they feel valued, happy employees are more likely to stay longer. According to a Harvard Business Review study, employees tend to stay at a company until they either aren’t satisfied at work or see better opportunities elsewhere. Well, you can’t control the many opportunities out there for your talented team. However, you can make an impact on how happy they are. And, if your employees are happy with their job, chances are good that you’ll be able to hold onto your talent.
Happy employees make for happy clients
Most people agree that a steady stream of happy clients is key to success. To get there, evidence is strong that the key to achieving happy clients is to focus on happy employees. When employees are engaged, productive and invested in the company, making sure clients are satisfied is personal; it’s not just a question of “doing their job.”
Fostering a positive company culture is one of the best things you can do for your company. Happy employees are more efficient, create a better work environment and in turn provide better service to clients. As translation companies navigate a competitive and rapidly changing market, a highly trained, engaged and productive team is key to success.