What is Company Culture and How to Make Yours Great
We’ve all had the experience of walking into a job interview and immediately sniffing out the company culture. Even if you’re unaware of what this term actually means, it was definitely on the back of your mind. You wanted to see how everyone dressed, what they did for fun, what kinds of snacks were available in the kitchen, and how the managers treated their team.
The sum of these is known as company culture. This concept is crucial for you to nail because it defines the everyday environment of your business and whether or not people will want to work with you, buy your products or services, and even be inspired by you.
In this article we’ll show you what is company culture and the components necessary to build a strong one of your own.
What is company culture?
Company culture is, in short, your company’s identity or personality. However, one wouldn’t know this just by looking at your website or other branding assets. It’s something that is visible in the day-to-day life of your employees and overall office vibe. Of course this changes as your business grows, but it encompasses many different pieces. It’s a sum of your workplace environment, mission statement, values and beliefs, ethics, vision, language, practices, and employees and management.
You know that saying ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with?’ Well, another way to think about company culture is that a company is the sum of the coworkers and partners it surrounds itself with.
Components of a great company culture
Companies that incorporate a strong culture are those that consider the following parts:
Have a well-defined mission
A clearly defined mission statement is one of the most powerful ways in which you can lead your company in the direction of success. It expresses your vision for the future by putting it on the top of your to-do list. From there, you’ll be able to get everyone that works for your company on board with this concept.
To ensure that all of this actually happens, you’ll want your mission statement to be one that your employees can easily remember as well as follow. This guide to writing a mission statement can assist you in crafting one that best fits the role.
Hire people that are a good fit
Just like you would define your target market when creating your business plan, you’ll also want to take some time to define the type of employees you’re looking for here. There are certain personality types, skill levels, and other aspects that make up your beloved coworkers. Being able to put this in words will allow you to hire more and more great people that motivate each other and love to come to work.
This begins with a strict hiring process. You want to really invest your time in trying to get to know potential employees as well as possible by asking the right questions about them in relation to your culture. For example, if you have a fun start-up vibe and everyone likes to get together after work for drinks or sports games, see if the potential new hire is social and into those activities. Also, imagine what conversation would be with them both inside and outside of work.
The people you hire will represent your company the same way that your products or services do. That is, their behavior speaks for your brand, even when you’re not around.
Educate employees on your values
Your employees are walking business cards for your brand. Because of this, it’s important to keep them up-to-date on your values. It’s not only about how they represent themselves with their own actions, as mentioned in the previous step, but also that they are able to verbalize your company’s culture the way that you anticipated.
In order to make sure of this, spend time educating them on your values, starting from the on-boarding process. Being in a management role also means that you should represent those values yourself to serve as a positive example for their inspiration.
Establish an environment of trust
Trust isn’t just making your employees feel comfortable enough to leave their phones or laptops out when they go to lunch, but also how they feel around their coworkers and how they are perceived themselves.
For example, if they have a doctor’s appointment or need to pick their child up from daycare, the employer should trust that they will get their job done even when they need to leave early here and there. Likewise, they should trust their coworkers to have their back when it comes to working together to share ideas and other instances of codependency.
Provide continuing education opportunities
Once you have a strong team that understands your company’s mission and values, you’ll want to do everything in your power to keep them around. Providing them with opportunities to learn new skills and grow in their professions is one way to do so. This allows people to take a break from their day-to-day jobs to gain experience that will in turn benefit your company.
It might also mean that people who don’t always work together will have the opportunity to get to know each other - hence improving the overall office vibe with more friendly and meaningful interactions.
For your business as a whole, this is especially advantageous. The more educated your employees are, the more you’ll be able to keep up with the market and continue growing.
Treat workers exceptionally well
Since company culture is centered around your employees, make sure that they love their jobs beyond their day-to-day tasks. Happy employees will be more willing to stick around. To ensure this, you can enhance their work experience with team building activities such as playing trivia together or going to a ropes course.
These are some other ways to motivate your employees, from providing regular feedback to creating a welcoming work space and many other tips.
Consistently keep up with the competition
Your employees are not only aware of your company’s perks and benefits, surely they have friends who work for similar companies or even your competitors. After all, like-minded people get along. This means that they know what your competition is doing, from the lunch benefits and parties they provide to their employees to other common benefits.
It’s up to you if you want to compete in order to keep your employees satisfied enough to continue to work for you, rather than apply for a job with the competition that gives them everything you can and more. Be the employer who can offer them everything they are looking for - within your capabilities of course.
By Jennifer Kaplan
Small Business Expert & Writer