What kind of culture have you created for your pest control company? For that matter, what does “company culture” even mean? According to Entrepreneur.com, company culture is defined as, “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time.” It’s basically your company’s unique personality, which includes your overall mission, principles and work environment.
It may seem like nothing more than a trendy business buzzword, but the culture you create is vital to your company’s success. In fact, studies have shown that a company’s culture can directly impact employee retention and productivity. For instance, a Columbia University study revealed a company with a rich culture is likely to have a 13.9 percent employee turnover. On the flip side, the probability of turnover for a business with a poor culture is a whopping 48.4 percent.
Plus, your company culture often determines whether or not your workers are happy—and countless studies have shown that happy employees are hard-working employees. In fact, happy workers are 12 percent more productive than average workers, according to research by the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. On the other hand, unhappy employees are 10 percent less productive than the average worker. These disgruntled staff members cost American businesses more than $300 billion each year. This is why it’s critical for businesses to build and promote a positive company culture.
“Your business has a culture,” emphasizes Kevin Lemasters, A.C.E., president of EnviroPest. “It is just a matter of whether you are leading it or it is leading you.” He adds that every organization’s culture impacts all aspects of that business. “If it is a positive and healthy culture, staff will respond much better when difficult times come and tough discussions need to happen,” he explains.
Ben Johnson with ABC Home & Commercial Services reflects that sentiment. “A positive company culture is so important in any business because happy people with a worthy purpose will be the driving force to take an organization to the next level,” he says. “This is so important in pest management because our service professionals out in the field are the company to our customers.”
Johnson goes on to say ABC is only as good as the people delivering service to its customers. “Solid company culture also ensures that we are retaining and hiring the best people to reflect who we want to be,” he adds.
Do you want to create a rich culture for your pest control business and make it a place where professionals want to work? Keep reading for five failproof culture enrichment tips:
Tip #1: Get Your Staff Involved
If you want to create a well-defined company culture, it’s critical to put all the details in writing. When it comes to tackling this process, you should get your entire staff involved—and that’s exactly what EnviroPest did.
“We knew that our team enjoyed being here and had a good environment to work in,” Lemasters recalls. “It took us having a couple of team meetings and really talking about what makes EnviroPest a great place to be to get it in writing. Then we could talk about it intentionally and build on it.”
Once you’ve pinpointed and written down the details of your culture, it’s important to continually discuss it with your staff. “Your people know what it is that makes your place a great place to be—but it is key to make sure they are a part of ‘creating’ that culture and talking about it every chance you get.”
Tip #2: Don’t Fake It
When it comes to promoting a strong company culture, you can’t fake it to make it.
“Our culture aligns with our mission and values, so it is something that we are ‘doing’ every day,” Lemasters explains. He says this includes deliberate discussions about their company’s culture. “We are always looking for ways that our team members are living out the culture we have and then talking about it,” he adds. “We send texts, emails and have fun by catching people doing the right things. During our regular meetings we have forms that team members have completed recognizing their peers for exemplifying our culture and values.”
Johnson says a company’s culture has a lot to do with caring about your employees. “At ABC, a great deal has been done to enrich culture,” he says. “You can’t fake it. You have to truly care. Our owners care about everyone on the team and that trickles down to our managers. We have to make profits to stay alive, but that’s not all that matters at ABC.”
He adds that ABC’s leaders, Raleigh Jenkins and Norman Nelms, genuinely care about the well-being of each and every one of their employees. “They have made ABC a great place to build a long-term career, as long as you work hard and do right.”
Tip #3: Focus on Teamwork
Johnson says teamwork is another cornerstone to company culture. “I believe that we are hardwired for community with one another,” he explains. “We want to be a part of a team and we want to know our teammates deeply. The better you know someone, the more likely you are to empathize with them. The more you empathize with them, the more likely you are to want to help them and work toward a common goal with them.”
Unfortunately, fostering a sense of team can be a challenge in the modern business world. “Owners and managers must create space and time for team members to get to know each other,” Johnson adds. “This is very difficult in today’s age. Technology allows us to start our day from home, and many people work remotely. This creates a disconnect with teammates and makes positive culture tough to attain.”
This is why it’s crucial to find opportunities for team members to connect in entertaining ways. Which brings us to our next tip…
Tip #4: Have Fun!
Companies with the most desirable cultures all have one thing in common: They know how to work hard and play hard.
This is probably why ABC’s owner Raleigh Jenkins built their office to promote community and fun, Johnson says. The facility features a sand volleyball court, a palapa with an outdoor kitchen, a beautiful pond, a ping pong table, a gym where employees can work out, showers and lockers, a foosball table and a full indoor kitchen.
“Raleigh built the place for our people to enjoy,” Johnson adds. “We are constantly cooking meals for the office, hosting fitness classes, and even had a bunch of after-hours cookouts to watch the Houston Astros journey to the World Series this year,” he enthuses.
Of course, sometimes employees and community members need more than fun activities—they often need a helping hand. ABC has that covered, too. “We created an in and outreach council, which raises funds to support fellow employees in need as well as help people outside of ABC,” Johnson explains.
Tip #5: Celebrate Your Employees
Last but not least, if you want to build a rich company culture, you should applaud each employee’s accomplishments—and we’re not just talking about business successes. It’s also important to recognize the personal milestones of your employees, whether it’s a marriage, a new baby or finishing a marathon. It may seem like a small gesture, but this can make a huge impact on employee happiness.
“We have department meetings once a week where we have to cover important items to keep departments on the same page,” Johnson explains. “We start this meeting with good news. Everyone gets to share a piece of what’s going on in their lives—birthdays, weddings, babies, weekend fishing trips, etc. Every week we get to learn a little more about each other, and this really helps build the tightness of the team, which builds the culture.”
By following these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a rich company culture. However, once you build a culture, Lemasters says pest control leaders need to be deliberate about promoting it to both employees and customers.
“It is important to be intentional about your company culture so that your team knows who they are and what is expected,” he emphasizes. “If you’re doing it right, people outside of your organization see it and know what it is as well.”
By Amy Bell