A 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:
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?
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.