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3 Ways to Create a Great Place to Work These steps will help employers build a company where everyone wants to work.

By Marty Fukuda

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If you want to build a truly great company that will year in and year out outperform the competition, it's critical that you minimize employee turnover. And the more success you have, the more appealing it will be for other companies to poach your top talent. The way to beat this is to build an organization that your team members truly love. While there are many factors that contribute to creating a great place to work, perhaps the most powerful are ones that don't include fancy benefits packages or paying top-tier salaries. Here are three ways to create a great place to work:

1. Choose your first employees wisely.

As a business owner, you always set the tone for the culture of your company, particularly when your business is new and smaller in head count. At this stage, every move the company makes likely has your fingerprints on it. As your organization grows, you won't directly be working with everyone on your team anymore. Your team will be led by other leaders and their interaction with new members will far exceed their time spent with you. The culture will be set in large part by the team members who have been there longest.

Related: 6 Steps for Creating a Strong Company Culture

The smaller the business is, the larger the role the owner plays in establishing the culture. For obvious reasons, it's incumbent upon the leader to be extremely intentional about how they comport themselves in the company of their team. Don't however, underestimate the hidden effect your first hires have on you. For instance, if your first hires are people that are highly energetic, driven and kind, you are going to look forward to work, whether you are consciously aware of it or not. On the flip side, if your staff is comprised of competent, yet unenthusiastic professionals, it's likely that will rub off on you. It's a myth about leadership to think that a leader's will and behavior is impervious to the vibe of others.

2. Create opportunities for friendships.

What great places to work do is provide team members with a myriad of reasons that others are personally invested in them. And the most powerful reasons invariably revolve around people. A team member goes above and beyond because they care and they don't want to let the person to their right or the person to their left down. This is even more the case when the person on either side of you isn't just a "co-worker" but an actual friend.

Related: 5 Culture Truths Every Company Needs to Learn

The goal shouldn't be that every member of the team gathers socially outside the office with everyone, but that each person on your team has multiple co-workers that they want to voluntarily socialize with beyond the company walls. Friendships shouldn't be forced corporately, but instead should be given an opportunity to develop by creating opportunities for them to naturally unfold. Create additional chances for your team to get to know each other. As an example, sponsor athletic teams, host socials, volunteer together or plan trips to see a comedian or attend a concert.

3. Look internally when it's time to promote.

Fast-growing companies need leaders who can help them keep up with the demands of growth. It will always be tempting to add someone from the outside since they may have experience with another organization, and you feel it will be easier than developing a greener existing team member. Don't underestimate the power of promoting from within the company. When you do, a powerful statement of opportunity is made to everyone else on your team.

Related: Is Workplace Culture Overrated? (Infographic)

When you select team members not just for a skill set but also for cultural fit, a wonderful thing happens: everyone starts to look forward to Mondays in the office. Friendships develop and deepen over time, creating a workplace where everyone pulls for each other. Accomplish the first two and results are bound to follow. Then sustain success by promoting leaders who already have the respect and admiration of the team. This will create an environment for the next generation to dream about their personal opportunity.

Marty Fukuda

Chief Operating Officer of N2 Publishing

Chicago native Marty Fukuda is the chief operating officer of N2 Publishing, overseeing operations at its corporate headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. He first joined the company as an area director in 2008 after working in the direct sales and print industries. 

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