Company culture has all the buzz right now. Mission statements, codes, values, visions—culture now means more than benefits and perks, although that can be part of it, too (who doesn’t love donuts on Friday?). It’s about creating an environment and team that align with the goals of the organization and get everyone invested in what that means and why it’s important.
1. Identify What You Stand For
Company culture can often be something that you assume everyone knows and is aware of just by the way that business is conducted day to day, but unless you really take the time to identify and develop the core values and principles, it can be easily misconstrued or pushed aside. Having this documented means just as much externally as it does internally. Customers and clients will see and consider what your company stands for, what you strive for and what you value—providing that type of transparency can go a long way when winning over business. Prospective employees will take note and know if they feel they would fit well and, when interviewing, it gives you a gauge as to how their values fit.
Warby Parker is a great example. They know their community is a key part of their culture. Whether it’s going green or volunteering, they know that at the center of their employees and customers hearts, they want to help the community and the world they live in.
2. Get Everyone Invested
A great culture doesn’t come from the top down. Everyone needs to be involved! There should be a connection, every day, to the mission that you outline. Involvement means creating it, maintaining it, changing it and enforcing it. In our experience, a documented culture can give a platform for a tough conversation. When you give everyone the power to ask the question, “Does this align with our culture?” you enable them to question, push harder for the best work and uphold the values they feel invested in. It can give a platform for fun activities, and things that can get pushed aside during a rush become a priority for maintaining fun and making connections in the workplace. It makes expectations clear. When everyone knows what’s expected of them, they know how high the bar is set and they can rise to it. A great example is the HubSpot Company Culture. They even created a JEDI Award.
3. Keep it Living
“Company culture documented—check! Moving on…" No! Company culture is not something that you can check off a list. It needs ongoing attention and support or it will die off and be a wasted effort. Create a team of people who lead the company in living out the culture code. As your business changes, let the culture evolve with it. When it’s set up correctly and everyone feels ownership in it, they will breathe the life into it. At Weidert Group, our pillars are our screen saver—you can’t escape it! Twice a year we take an internal survey to gauge where we think we are in aligning with our culture code. We make action items to address issues and we follow up on those with results. Voices are heard and action is taken and THAT is how we stay aligned. Boom!
Culture matters. Employees are more engaged than ever before. To get the amazing talent you know your business needs, you need to implement the kind of culture that your talent will be looking for...before they find it at your competitors' business.
Posted by Katherine Wells Katherine is an experienced consultant with a lengthy background in corporate retail, eCommerce, and traditional media planning. She's an expert in interdepartmental project management and collaboration.