How can you build a company culture that your employees feel connected to and why is it even important?
What is company culture?
Company culture refers to the attitudes and behaviors of a company and its employees.
Company culture encompasses a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, leadership style, values, ethics, expectations, and goals. It is the identity of your company in order to reach common goals.
Why should you care about culture?
Employees should look forward to going to work. While the work may be difficult, the culture shouldn’t add to the stress of the work. The culture should be designed to alleviate work-related stress.
There are three easy to understand reasons, why you should care:
Performance: Culture sustains employee enthusiasm and happy employees are much more motivated and their productivity will increase. By creating an identity, your team will be more dedicated to reach their goals and increase their performance. When a business is more productive, it's more successful and can outperform competition much easier.
Employer branding: Your culture is a recruiting tool and you want to attract talent and the right fit. Obviously, people will also want to stay in your company and you can reduce fluctuation, which will save money and retain knowledge.
Company mission: When you put a focus on culture, you’ll have guiding principles. People will know you for this and live by it. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is their guide. It’ll also help you to get through difficult times. It’ll help to get all employees working on the same company mission.
How to create your culture?
The greater your company is, the more high performer want to work for you. You want to hire the right cultural fit. You could think of a cultural fit test during the first interview, where you assess the candidate against your values. People should act as ambassadors and represent your company even outside of work. They have to share and live your values, as people will change their perception of a company based on your employees' behaviour. Bad hires can affect your customers, teams and an entire department.
Having employees know the values and the mission of the company. Make sure that every employee knows and understands your values and principles. This can be through a shared workshop session with everyone in the team to explore and discuss these. It’s also crucial that your employees know the mission of your company in order to create a culture of purpose. Good onboarding is key, make sure that every new employee has a company culture session with someone from the management.
NO ONE HAS ALL THE ANSWERS! Knowing that good ideas and decisions can come from everyone. As some companies get bigger, they tend to limit employee freedom. The employees are less and less involved in key decisions and their impact on the business is drowned out. This leads to more and more employees going to work, only to do what they’re told, to help someone else achieve their dream. The employees' impact is minimal and they can't develop and contribute to the business. While the 9 to 5 model might work for some people, others want to have a voice and a meaningful impact on the company and its direction. As Steve Jobs said:
"It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do."
Your culture is your identity - you're a team not a bunch of individuals. CEOs often refer to their employees as team, and if it is not only an empty phrase, it can make a difference. Teams work together on all work-related projects and help where necessary. It doesn’t matter who gets credit for what because you accomplish everything together. It's similar to sports, teams play together, encourage each other, and communicate with each other to achieve the best result.
Make sure to check on the cultural performance of every team member by going through a self and manager review where employees are assessed on each of your values and how they live by them.
Touch base with your team regularly and ask them about their opinions and how they feel in the form of a survey, where also questions about your company culture should be asked. That helps to identify flaws in culture and actively solve them.
Once your corporate culture is defined and implemented, make sure to pay attention to nurture it. Create a pleasant workplace, physically but also mentally. Foster collaboration by team activities. Walk the talk and act as a role model. Live your principles and values daily. Recognize and reward your team, people want to be seen and heard. Double-check from time to time if your values and principles are still in line with your current situation and make changes where needed.
What do you do to ensure a great corporate culture? We are happy to get your feedback or to learn more about your approach and experiences.