The term “company culture” is discussed a lot these days, especially in terms of employee recruitment and retention. If you don’t have an outlined culture, you might be wondering how to establish one. Or if you do have an established culture, you might hear questions like, “Is our company culture attracting the right talent to move the company forward?”
First, let’s establish what company culture is. Company culture, in essence, is your company’s personality. Just like you can attribute traits to your friends and acquaintances, your company’s traits combine to form a company personality, or culture.
Why is it important to employee recruitment and retention, not to mention company success? Securing top talent is a competitive endeavor. One way to help your company stand out from others is in your company culture. And having a good culture can help your company work as a team toward goals.
Define Your Culture
If you’re starting a new business, or want to improve your current business, take some time and decide what type of company you want. What type of working atmosphere do you want to encourage? What traits should your employees have in common?
The easiest way to define the culture you hope to adopt is to examine your company values. If your company’s core values are integrity, quality and innovation, then you want your company culture to support and reinforce those values.
Also, don’t rely on your employees to set the tone of your company culture, instead set the tone and then hire employees that fit within your desired culture. This helps your company hire the right people to support its mission and achieve its goals.
Culture in Action
Once you’ve defined the type of culture you want to establish, implement policies and programs that put that culture into action. For example, if you want to cultivate an environment that encourages innovation then establish means for continuing education. You might institute a reading program or provide tuition reimbursement as part of your benefits package. Fostering continued education will support your employees in bringing new perspectives to the table allowing innovation to flourish.
Your company culture can come across in many ways. Take your company’s dress code for example. It can set the tone for your working atmosphere. If it’s more laid back, then that could manifest itself in a jeans and tee shirt dress code. Company culture can also come across in your office design, working hours, and benefit offerings.
However, keep in mind that while perks and benefits can help promote your culture, they don’t dictate it entirely. It’s about the company management taking an interest in their employees and allowing success for everyone involved.
Communicating Your Culture
Once you’ve established your company culture and are actively promoting that culture within your company, be sure to communicate that culture to employees, potential employees as well as clients. Some of this communication will be present when an employee or client comes on board. The dress code, for example, can quickly establish a tone for employees to adhere to. But be sure to carry that communication beyond onboarding.
Company communications (newsletters, email blasts, and even swag) can be effective in helping build your company culture.
Evolution of Culture
It’s important to remember that company culture is also something that evolves with time. As your company grows and expands, your culture will too. Even top companies like Google recognize the need for change. On their hiring site they state, “We want Googlers to be happy and healthy both inside and outside of work. Our benefits and perks vary by region, but they’re all based on the philosophy that taking care of our people is good for all of us. We know that everyone is different, so what we offer is constantly evolving based on employee needs and feedback.”
Not only does Google recognize the necessity for an evolving culture, they go to the employees to get feedback on how it should evolve. Having management and employees work together can provide the best outcomes. Evaluating your company culture on a regular basis and deciding what changes need to be made can make it even better.
Company culture is the personality of your business. It’s the reputation it gains both internally and externally and it works best when owners work together with employees for the good of all involved.
As a writer for Built for Teams, Rachel focuses on helping small businesses succeed by providing tips on recruitment, hiring, employee retention and more. Built for Teams was created by the developers at Objective Inc.