If you want to take your business to the next level, one of the best ways to do it? Focus on your company’s culture. The culture at your business can have a positive impact on everything, from work environment to productivity to employee morale.
But what, exactly, is company culture? Why is it so important? And what are some ways you can build a strong culture within your organization?
First things first—what is company culture?
In recent years, company culture has been associated with Silicon Valley startup-inspired perks like catered lunches, craft beer on tap, and ping-pong tables and video game consoles in the break room.
But corporate culture is so much more than that. Your company’s culture is who you are as a company; it’s the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that make up the DNA of your organization.
There are a few different elements to company culture, including:
Now that you understand what company culture is, let’s jump into why it’s essential if you want your business to thrive.
There are a number of reasons why building a strong organizational culture is a must, including:
You know what company culture is. You know why it’s important. But how do you build the kind of company culture that makes people excited to work for your business?
Ask Your Team What They Want and Need from Their Workplace Culture
If you want to know how you can build or improve your company culture in a way that makes people excited to work for you, the best thing you can do?
When you’re interviewing potential new hires, ask what they’re looking for in a culture. Do a survey of your existing employees and ask them what they value about your corporate culture—and, just as importantly, what they’d like to see improved. Gather as much intel as possible on what kind of culture the talent you want to work with is looking for—and then take the steps to create that culture within your organization.
If your team can’t explain your company culture, it’s not strong enough—and it needs to be better integrated into your day-to-day business operations.
Your culture should be evident in everything you do at your company. For example, your culture should be clear throughout the hiring process—and when you hire people, they should know exactly what kind of culture they’re signing up for (and be excited to be on board). When you’re strategizing where you want to take your company next, your culture should play a part in the decision-making process. When you’re hosting an all-hands meeting, crafting a new PTO policy, setting your company’s goals for the quarter, planning a holiday event for your team...whatever you’re tackling at your business, you need to think about whether it’s aligned with your company culture.
So, for example, let’s say you want to build your company culture around teamwork and collaboration. If you wanted to integrate that culture into your quarterly company-wide meeting, you might have each of your departments present at the meeting to review their progress over the quarter—and then schedule a separate meeting with the heads of each department to discuss how their teams can work together and collaborate during the upcoming quarter. If employee well-being is an integral part of your company culture, you might showcase that to your employees by offering perks like gym memberships or free meditation classes or hosting workshops on wellness issues like work-life balance or better dealing with workplace stress.
The point is, the more you work your culture into every aspect of your business, the stronger that culture will become—and the more that culture will help you attract and retain the right employees for your business.
Your employees should get a sense of your culture from day one. So, if you want to build a strong company culture—and get your team on board with that culture—you should integrate the culture into your team from the very beginning.
Your new employees got a sense of your culture during the interview process (otherwise, they might not have decided to work for you!). But the onboarding process is your first opportunity to make a real impression on your new hire after they accept your company’s offer—and you need to use that opportunity to reinforce your company’s culture and why it’s a fit for them.
Schedule aside a solid chunk of time during your onboarding process for culture-related training. For example, if you’re building a company culture around collaboration, take your new hire through the office to meet and talk to the different teams they’re going to be working with—and have each team present the different collaboration opportunities they’ll have for your new hire in the first 30, 60, or 90 days of their employment. If your culture is all about growth, incorporate an employee development conversation into your onboarding—and sketch a map for where your employee is now, where they want to go with their career, and how you’re going to help them get there.
Your new employee’s experience of your company culture starts on their first day of work—and if you want them to get on board with that culture, you need to focus on culture during the onboarding process.
Employees want to work at a company with shared values—so much so that they’re often willing to take a pay cut to do so. According to the TINYPulse report, employees who believe their company has a higher purpose beyond profits are 27 percent more likely to stay with the organization—and were 24 percent less likely to leave the company for a 10 percent salary increase.
So, if you want to build a strong culture, focus on your values. There are plenty of ways to incorporate your values into your culture.
For example, let’s say one of your company values is sustainability. In that case, you would want to bring sustainability to the forefront of your daily operations by doing things like only using recycled and sustainable materials in your office, sending quarterly emails to your team that outline how you’re working to lower your company’s carbon footprint, or scheduling regular volunteering events where your team has the opportunity to contribute to sustainability efforts in a sustainable way (like participating in a local trash clean-up).
Or let’s say your main company value is integrity. If you want to build a culture around integrity, it needs to be lived within your organization. For example, when a team member makes a mistake, they need to feel safe enough to share that mistake and how they plan to fix it—and leadership needs to take the lead in modeling that behavior.
Bottom line? Employees want to work with mission-based companies—and if you want to attract and retain top talent, you need to make your mission and values a cornerstone of your corporate culture.
A strong company culture is a key element in any successful company. And now that you understand the importance of workplace culture (and how to build a strong culture within your organization), all that’s left to do? Get out there and build the kind of culture that will not only make your company strong, but have your industry’s best talent excited to work for you.
This article from hourly.io has been posted with permission.
The WorkFlow podcast is hosted by Steve Glaveski with a mission to help you unlock your potential to do more great work in far less time, whether you're working as part of a team or flying solo, and to set you up for a richer life.
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