Company Culture

Company culture and having a lot of money are two different things. You might have seen examples of “great company culture” by giant corporations that have billions of dollars. Such as amazing amenities, worker benefits, or giant office parties.

Of course, this is absolutely great and if your company can provide such things for the staff, by all means, go ahead. However, that’s not what company culture is about.

What is company culture?

The company culture definition in one sentence would be something like a set of practices and behaviors within an organization that is based on certain values and beliefs.

Also called office culture, It affects the ways in which company employees interact and communicate.

Factors such as company formation and history, services and products, management, and business strategy play an important role in the formation of company culture.

The importance of company culture

Often company culture is called the “soul” or the essence of a company because it has many implications. One of the most important aspects is how it affects employees and their communication.

After all, those who enjoy their time in the workplace are way more productive and likely to stay loyal to a company. And those who find themselves misaligned with the organization’s accepted practices are more likely to be unhappy and eventually leave.

The spectrum of company culture

From traditional (strict) – The characteristics of traditional company culture include clearly defined (often outlined in the documentation) job responsibilities. There is an established chain of command and hierarchy of communication.

Opportunities for workers to advance usually come from formal promotions. Staff members are expected to dress in accordance with an accepted office etiquette or wear uniforms.

A perfect example of traditional company culture is the TV show “The Office” that showed the endeavors of the paper-selling company Dunder Mifflin. Basically, it is what you think of when you hear words like “corporate” or “banking” for some reason.

To flexible (open) – Most modern tech companies are well known for practicing cultures that nurture collaboration, openness, and flexibility.

While there still is a well-defined chain of command and hierarchy of responsibilities, workers and middle management staff can take on multiple roles and collaborate to various degrees in projects. Other aspects and formalities such as decision making, work hours, and dress code can also widely vary.

Company culture will emerge on its own whether the process is guided by the management of the company or not. That is why the sooner you take control of the process, the better.

How to build company culture in 5 simple steps

Step 1: Answer a few basic questions

The very first step towards building your company culture (or changing the existing one) is figuring out the answers to a few simple questions.

1. What does your company do and why?
2. What does your company stand for?
3. What do you believe in? What are your values?
4. Where is this company headed? What is your vision for the future?
5. What is the change that you will bring to the world through this company?

Sure, these questions and your respective answers might overlap a little bit. However, this is a good starting point. In other words, this will help you define the company culture that you wish to achieve. The answers to these questions should reflect the behavior that you want to see in your company.

Step 2: Analyze the existing culture

Depending on what stage of development your company is at, certain types of behavior and beliefs might have already been established. Now would be a good time to compare if the current situation is in alignment with your vision for the company.

You need to be honest with yourself and face the reality of the situation. This process might be somewhat painful, especially if there are certain cracks and gaps that you notice.

Step 3: Communicate the changes that you want to see

When the time is right, share your vision for the company with your colleagues. Talk to them about the changes that you wish to see. And praise the people who have already aligned themselves intuitively with the culture that you want to accomplish.

You can use the opportunity to appoint somebody to be your “culture” person. Somebody who has good people skills. This doesn’t have to be somebody from HR. The best fit would be somebody who already has been exposed to great company culture.

Step 4: Hire for the long run

As soon as you establish your company culture, you should turn your attention to your hiring process and optimize it. Your company might be at a stage where you hire people for their skills and that’s okay but you should consider how they fit in culturally as well.

With time, you should focus on people who fit well culturally, even if they lack certain technical skills. After all, those can be easily acquired in a short period of time. And if you attract people who are already aligned with your existing company culture, then they are much more likely to stay with you longer.

Step 5: Establish a talent brand

This one goes hand in hand with step 4. Once you have attracted the people you want to work with, let their voices be heard. In a company, the people are your greatest asset and if you want to attract more like-minded individuals, then you should put some points into your talent brand.

You can create lots of inspirational videos, telling the stories of your colleagues and how they find working at your company. This way, potential candidates will have a taste of the environment before they come for an interview.

Key Takeaways

  • Company culture is about behavior and communication.
  • More and more employees realize the importance of office culture.
  • Guide the process to make sure your staff is aligned with your vision.
  • Assign the role of “culture” to someone who has great people skills.
  • Create a talent brand to communicate the type of culture you have built.