Every company has a personality, a culture.
One of the best examples of this is Disney. When you think of Disney, you think of the happiest place on earth. That is their centralized theme and it’s embodied in every way possible.
Company culture is important because it sets the tone for not only how employees interact with each other, but also how they perform day in and day out. Employees who feel they fit in with their company culture are happier and more productive. Culture can make or break a company, so here’s how to get on the path to success.
Find out who you are.
Define your core values. Take time to reflect on what’s important to you. How do you want to conduct business? How do you want colleagues to interact with one another? What kind of vibe will the office have? Do you want it to be more relaxed or more corporate? Do you want people to work more independently or foster more collaboration?
This is a time to ask questions, collaborate with other leaders in your organization to define what kind of culture aligns best with your business goals. Create a list and then try to narrow it down to 4 or 5 core values; too many will cause them all to get lost in the shuffle.
Walk the walk.
Once you’ve defined your core values, you have to lead by example. The leaders are the drivers of the company culture, so make sure they know it.
Culture by definition, is a way of life. So be sure to embody this, starting from the head. Employees look up to management for examples of what’s okay in the workplace. If they see higher ups being rude, guess what?
It makes it acceptable for everyone else to be, too. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work when it comes to the workplace. Be sure that all the leaders are on the same page and you’re one step closer to creating the culture you want.
Talk the talk.
If your employees don’t know what’s important to the company, how can they help get the message across? Be sure to talk about what your company culture means to you. Define it.
If exceptional customer service is one of the core values, talk about this. Your core values should be expressed verbally from day one. Orientation and training should reinforce what the company culture is and how to maintain it. How is it expressed? How do you see it? Why is it important? Take the guesswork out and it makes it easier for employees to embody.
Hire people that reinforce those values.
This is one of the most important parts of creating a company culture – you have to hire the type of people that are already like this. It is much easier (and efficient) to play up one’s strengths than to change them completely to your liking.
So, hire the right kind of people for the company. Make sure the hiring department fully understands the culture and the personality types that fit in with it. Ask the right questions in the interview and be sure to pay attention to their personality, overall.
Also very important, you have to be willing to let go of those who no longer embody the culture. One bad apple will spoil the rest, so be on the lookout.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
Building a sense of community, not just in departments but company-wide, fosters culture. Nothing builds unity like everyone feeling as if they are working together towards a common goal. What strides have been made? How has the culture impacted the company positively? Is the company running more efficiently? Is the company moving forward more quickly than anticipated?
Show employees how the culture is working to create a successful company. There are mounds of activities that help build teamwork in workplaces, do the research to make that a reality within your culture as well. Being a part of a team will make things more personal for everyone, making them feel more vested in the company culture overall.
Reward, reward, reward.
All too many times, new employees get told about what’s expected of them in orientation, only to see something different being rewarded once they start working. The only way to keep the culture you want in place is to ensure that those who embody it get rewarded.
If you want colleagues to treat each other well, find a way to reward that. If teamwork is important to the culture, find ways to reward collaboration and not just individual achievements. Reinforce the positive core values that make your culture amazing.
On the flip side, be sure you’re not rewarding behaviors that are opposite of your core values. For example, if honesty is one of those values, be sure that the salesperson who lies on each sale isn’t being rewarded for this.
Maintain the culture.
Working on creating the right culture is not a one-time thing. You can’t just set things in motion and then hope they stick. Culture is something that is displayed every single day, so making sure of that is crucial.
Meet with the leaders of the company regularly to assess how they see the company culture. Are you sticking to those core values? Are there different ways to go about it? You might have new members of management that have a fresh look on things; listen to them.
Company culture takes time to set in and it takes work. Doing all of the above will put you on the right path, but culture doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s going to take everyone working together to get the vision you’d like in place, so be patient knowing this. Work with the leadership team and make sure they are working with their employees to keep a thumb on the pulse of the company. Be quick to take action when something isn’t right and allow the company culture to evolve naturally.
Another great way to improver your company culture is to get your onboarding process right. We build software that helps you do that. It’s called ChiefOnboarding.