Small Budget, 4 Basics for a Big Company Culture

Shelley SmithBlog, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Predictive Index


Do you have a small company or small budget and focused on winning the war on talent and creating a ‘best place to work’ environment? You can and who doesn’t want that? No worries with a small budget and your ability to create a big impact and a big company culture.

So, you think having grand benefits is the key to a great company culture or employee engagement, think again. Keeping it simple can yield high returns. Translation, don’t worry if you cannot afford a 2-day ongoing tournament for your team, Starbucks Latte’s, free lunch on a daily basis, and paid intern positions that include housing. Start with some basics.

One huge basic doesn’t cost you a thing; it’s more about the relationships you need to establish in your company vs. ‘perks.’ Understanding needs, providing development, creating trust, and showing appreciation are what count the most and yields the results you are seeking. That fact remains true, regardless of your company’s size.

Understand Needs (Big Culture)

  1. What do your employees want? Ask them what will make the company great. The culture great. The team great. Customers happy and returning.
  2. Ask them:
    • One on One
    • Small Group Discussions
    • Surveys
    • Outside Consultant Facilitation
  3. Make a list and prioritize them. Find out the time it will take and if there are costs involved. Ask yourself what the potential gain in retention, engagement, sales, open positions and so forth, it will win you to determine the cost to benefit ROI for implementation.

You may find simplicity in the list, such as, a change in company attire policy (this costs you nothing) but increases morale and productivity with a little agreed upon shift.

Personal and Professional Development (Big Culture)

  1. Training is a must in every organization. Never skip this vehicle. It costs far more in turnover dollars than in training to retain.
  2. Formal or informal mentor programs go along way with retention, engagement and strong cultures. Institute reverse mentoring as a part of your program too.
  3. Coupling mentoring with a coaching culture creates long-term wins establishing efficient and innovative teams.
  4. Instilling competencies such as critical thinking, strategic thinking and design thinking increase not only the teams individual and group results but lifts the entire organization and keeps your customers happy too. Trained, engaged employees equate to money. Your culture is driven by members of your team (people.) People drive the company and the profits.

Trust is a Must (Big Culture)

  1. It begins with the coaching culture and day-to-day interaction.
  2. Give team members rotating opportunities to lead on projects, stretch their boundaries and share in responsibilities.
  3. Offer support, help to those struggling, provide honest and valuable feedback to improve on a frequent basis, not just during annual reviews.
  4. Roll up your sleeves and jump in when necessary.

Reward and Appreciation (Big Culture)

  1. If you can’t afford trips and big bonuses, change performance reviews to quarterly vs. annually and make them mean something. Set team goals, reward them for results achieved.
  2. Give individuals recognition in emails, newsletters, social media announcements, cards for both private and public motivations depending on individual behavioral needs.
  3. Speaking of behaviors, assess each employee, by using tools such as The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment, that help you as owners and leaders motivate correctly.


It doesn’t take a big budget to have conversations. If you ask questions, you do get answers. Never assume, never make decisions based on assumptions or what others want, desire, need.

Just ask!

For more on these tips, conducting a Culture Inquiry or Culture Curator Membership for your organization contact Shelley Smith at Premier Rapport.,, direct at 757 897 8644.