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University of Minnesota Extension

Improving business culture

The culture of a business sets the tone and atmosphere of the work environment and can be used to gauge the health and satisfaction of your employees and contributes to employee retention. The business culture is the way things are done on the farm and it stems from the company’s values, expectations and behaviors.  

Know your culture

What is the culture on your farm? Whether you intentionally create a business culture or not, your employees will sense if the work environment is positive or negative. Is the farm always clean and organized or more laid back? Is the farm up to date on technology and new practices? Is the farm willing and trying to expand? Do the employees feel valued and are they treated with respect? All of these are aspects that go into creating a business culture.

Tips for creating a positive work culture:

  • A good indicator of work culture is the farm’s animal welfare practices. 
  • Employers can use anonymous surveys to evaluate how employees view the work culture and use the results to take steps to improve the culture.
  • The company’s core values are the basis of culture and should be clearly communicated to all employees.

Lead by example

Setting a business culture begins with the company’s leaders. Supervisors need to lead by example, set the tone for the culture and be consistent in their behavior. Employees watch and notice what the supervisors do more than what they say. Is the supervisor telling employees to clean their workspace, yet the supervisor's office or workspace is not clean and tidy? If a supervisor doesn’t want foul language on the farm, they should check themselves first before asking others to change their language. 

Responsibility is the duty to complete the task. Authority is the power to get the task done. Accountability is the responsibility to answer for the job that was done. All three of these need to be given to employees and modeled by the employer to help employees feel confident in their roles and to improve the farm’s business culture.

Giving employees proper levels of responsibility, authority and accountability is especially important when a task does not go as planned as it shows that the company trusts and values its employees, even during difficulty. 

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