Aside from offering a competitive salary and solid benefits when setting up your subsidiary in the U.S., establishing a positive company culture can be one of the most important steps you take to acquire and keep talented employees. This can be especially challenging when you throw in the inevitable cultural differences foreign managers face when hiring a US workforce.
Company culture is somewhat intangible, but when done right it can result in loyal employees who not only do their best work but also stay with the company over time. Poor culture can lead to high turnover, low morale, and mediocre output.
As you focus your efforts on enticing valuable talent, it is important to ensure a positive workplace. Here are some ideas to improve your company’s culture:
- Encourage an open-door policy. If your employees feel that they can go to a supervisor with an issue or idea without judgment or retribution, they will be more likely to work with you to solve the problem than to quit unexpectedly. Job hopping is much more common in the U.S. than in other parts of the world. We all know there is a cost to recruiting and training talent, so it is best to try and keep them if you like their work and attitude.
- Celebrate wins—even the small ones. Acknowledging your team for hard work – whether it be for a particularly lucrative year, a happy client, or simply long, hard hours worked – goes a long way. You can do so with something as small as cupcakes in the break room or a half day off, or something as large as an annual bonus. But if you do opt for something on a yearly basis, be sure to punctuate the year with smaller celebrations so the team knows it is appreciated.
- Trust. If your employees know that you trust them, they will be more likely to not betray that trust. If they need to work remotely because of a family situation, or have a few doctors’ appointments to take care of a medical issue, it is best to believe them, rather than ask for proof every time they make a request. This should be, of course, within reason. If you see that an employee has needs that you deem unreasonable, sit him or her down for a chat to get to the heart of the situation. Don’t assume the worst. You hired them, so they clearly have qualities you respect.
- Talk to your employees. Obviously, everyone is at work to work, but it is also important to ask your team how they are doing outside of work. Learn about their families, their hobbies, and their passions. These are not automatons who work for the company, but people with lives that extend far beyond the walls of the office. By letting them know that you care about them beyond what they produce for the company, they’ll see you as a person to whom they want to remain loyal as well. This would also be a prime opportunity for them to learn more about the culture of the parent company, and for you to learn more about what Americans enjoy.
- Hold yourself accountable. Managing a team is no easy feat, but one way to ensure your employees have your back is to let them know that you have theirs. If things aren’t going well, if people are unhappy, or if mistakes are being made, the first step is to look at yourself, your managing style, and the processes and procedures that have been put in place. Perhaps things that worked well for your parent company just do not work with an American workforce. Rushing to blame your team for problems will only lead to resentment. If they know that you hold yourself to the same standards to which you hold them, you’ll have a much more productive, content group of people with whom to work.
- Know the Why. Employees who believe in what your company does will make for more committed workers. Not what you do or how you do it, but why you do it. Make sure everyone knows your mission and values and ensure it aligns with those of the people you hire.