The employees of a company, no matter how many there may be, look to the company’s leaders to establish the “culture” of that company.This is especially true for franchises, points out Glenn Sandler, CPA, founder of G.I. Tax Service.The owner of a franchise is the de facto leader, whether he or she is present and actually works at the business, or whether a manager is hired to oversee the day-to-day functions of the employees.This is because employees know a manager rarely has the responsibility to make decisions on his or her own regarding such cultural staples as charitable activities or in-house team building efforts such as catered lunches for staff once a month, or sponsoring team building activities — all that comes from the owner.

Culture is Key

The culture of a business is quite simply the key to its success. How can you establish a culture for your business that identifies how you want your company to be perceived by your employees, your customers and the business-to-business individuals you must interact with, and the community at large?

Establishing a Culture that Reflects Your Ideals

There are several elements to a company culture, and every element integrates together to make the whole. If one element rings false, they all ring false, so it’s important to have a plan in place to ensure that the culture is communicated to everyone.

1. Identify core values

What are some core values that companies can choose to highlight?Commitment to quality. Commitment to accountability. Commitment to fairness. Commitment to treating others with respect and expecting respect in return. Commitment to open communication. Commitment to giving back to the community.Once you’ve established your core values, you must disseminate them.

2. Hire based on your core values

If one of your core values is diversity, then this should be reflected in your hiring process.

3. Create a culture handbook for employees

Whenever an employee is hired, they should be given a handbook that expands on everything the company expects from them regarding their job (whatever position they were hired to fill), and what is expected of them from a cultural standpoint – and what they, in turn, can expect from their supervisors and company owner.

This includes establishing performance review standards, a compensation policy, vacation and sick-leave time, and so on.It should also consist of a history of the company itself, with brief biographies of the founders and what their goal is in launching the business. This is all part of communication and keeping employees connected and feeling part of a team.

4. Create a development handbook for employees

Keeping employees engaged by offering continuing education is an ideal way to develop employee loyalty and helps establish the culture of commitment to quality.

5. Establish procedures for giving back

Giving back to the community is a key step in establishing the culture of a business. When a business is just starting out, it probably will not have the disposable income to make large donations to local charities, for example. But giving employees a couple of hours off once a month to participate in charitable activities should not drain the coffers and enables businesses to show their commitment to their community.

Clients or customers give loyalty to a business that treats them well, that treats their employees well, and that takes an active role in improving their community. Loyalty assures return clients and a profitable business.

About: Founded in 2013 by Glenn Sandler, CPA, G. I. Tax Service is America’s premier provider of year-round tax preparation and financial services including tax planning and small business formation assistance. G.I. Tax also reaches out to military vets with turn-key franchise opportunities. G. I. Tax Service believes in corporate responsibility and is active in a variety of local charities that help military families.