How to Establish Your Company Culture and Make It Buzzworthy

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How to Establish Your Company Culture and Make it BuzzworthyA company’s culture is unique to each business. From Fortune 500 companies to your small business on the corner, defining company culture is just as important as defining your mission as a business. Establishing your company culture is an opportunity to define expectations for yourself as the boss, your employees, and your business itself. You will have touch points to help communicate the vision-at-large and help assure your team is on the same page.

Once you discover your company culture, thinking through how it’s personified in your employees and embodied in their day-to-day tasks and activities, you’ll be able to better explain who you are to prospective employees and potentially increase morale amongst current employees.

Company culture isn’t just a nice way to describe the perks around the office; it’s also a foundation of principles that will help you consistently recruit the right employees. It will also help communicate your expectations to your new employees in an approachable and understandable way that will set them up for success. So how do you begin to establish a buzzworthy company culture? Follow these steps to find out:

Define the pillars of your company culture.

1. Define the pillars of your company culture.

Your business should be a reflection of the ideals you hold most dear. These will vary from business to business, but they should be deeply rooted in your mission. Don’t have a mission statement? Stop and write one right now.Reflect on the mission of your business and use it as a launching pad to establish 3 – 5 ideals that describe you company culture. Try to keep it to 5 – 6 words per ideal. You want to keep things easy to recollect and reference like a reflex. Need some more help? Ask yourself the following questions to get yourself going:

  • What is the direction you are currently moving as a company?
  • Is that the same direction you picture for the company in five years? 10?
  • What sort of tone should every meeting be conducted in? Collaborative? Factual reporting?
  • What sort of values should your employees strive for?
  • When in doubt as to how to handle a problem, what should your employees do first?
  • What sort of working environment do your competitors encourage?

 

Establish how to put those pillars into practice everyday.

2. Establish how to put those pillars into practice everyday.

Once you’ve established the pillars, “test” them by working through theoretical cases where they can be put into practice. For example, your company culture may encourage independent work ethic and the ability to self-motivate. A way to practice that in the day-to-day is by setting up monthly meetings between employees and their managers to touch base. These meetings can be used as tools to communicate positive or negative feedback without micromanaging.

This is especially important for the high-level employees at your business. Even if your staff gives off the sense they are confident and march to the beat of their own drum, most people compare themselves to their manager. When your manager isn’t following the principles they laid out, why should you? Make sure the leadership leads by example.

 

Discuss how those pillars can increase retention and any gaps there may be that could cause employees to leave prematurely.

3. Discuss how those pillars can increase retention and any gaps there may be that could cause employees to leave prematurely.
After you’ve considered the day-to-day scenarios of your company culture in practice, it’s time to think like an employee, not the boss! Consider how an employee may interpret your company culture and what may motivate them to buy into it. Also consider what would motivate them to shy away from it. This is a good time to revisit the question, “What sort of working environment do your competitors encourage,” because if your employees leave your business, that is most likely where they will go. Think about what would make you want to stay at a job and make sure your culture aligns with it.

 

Establish events or tangible rewards to help reinforce the pillars.

4. Establish events or tangible rewards to help reinforce the pillars.
It’s a challenge to stay motivated 100% of the time. We all go through periods where work is tough and we don’t give it our all, trudging through it all just to get it done. This negative feeling can arise in any business structure, regardless of your company culture. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to reward your employees for a job well done. Many might say their salary already does that, but a good pat on the back in the form of a work-sponsored happy hour or cupcakes at lunch is a small gesture to make them feel appreciated. People who feel appreciated tend to work hard in thanks for the acknowledgement. It is small gestures like these that may seem silly but truly set you apart from other employers.

 

Set up a plan to revisit the pillars every six months to a year.

5. Set up a plan to revisit the pillars every six months to a year.
As your business grows, so do your ideals. The same principles you established as a small business may stick for a while, but if you experience continuous expansion, you may eventually outgrow them. Set aside time every six months to a year to reflect and ask yourself how your pillars relate to your current business. What’s changed? What has stayed consistent? Is there anything that needs to be adjusted in this new perspective? If you let your principles fall to the wayside, it may cause employees to grow unmotivated by outdated or exhausted ideas, and they may lose faith in management and their overall direction.
Barbara Davidson

Babs is a content writer at Enova International, Inc. with a Bachelors in Cinema Studies and English from the University of Illinois (ILL-INI!). She loves binge watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos! Find out more about her on Google+.

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