How to Create a Sound Corporate Culture
Defining Corporate Culture and Its Importance
Positive corporate culture is the soul of your organization. It comprises principles you abide by, values you hold dear, and objectives you strive to achieve. The decision on how to create corporate culture will define the way people in a company communicate with each other and with a client, an investor, or a partner. All the flourishing businesses, should it be a small local start-up or a corporation as huge as Google, Microsoft, or Apple, place a great emphasis on their strong company culture. Every company remembers the fundamental business rule ― “Customer goes first”. Yet, only the most successful ones know and practice the other one ― “Employee goes first as well”.
What makes a good company culture and why is company culture important? The answer is super simple: any business is defined by people working there. It is unreasonable and naive to expect a corporate success having no positive corporate culture, no matter how much time, resources, or energy you devote. People will never put their best effort if they are annoyed with going to their office and seeing their coworkers. Only a strong team can achieve success, and you need to make sure that your company is about a team, not personnel. Motivation and inspiration, mutual understanding and shared values, respect and civility are the fundamentals of a strong company culture, which make employees, clients, and partners engaged and loyal.
While the question “WHY is company culture important?” seems to be pretty simple and to raise no doubts, the question “HOW to create company culture?” is way more difficult to answer. To achieve this aim, the company’s management has to effectively balance personal needs and interests of each stakeholder, values and goals of the business, expectations and attitudes of the broad public. So to say, to know how to create company culture, a manager has to be an outstanding psychologist, sociologist, entrepreneur, lawyer, diplomat, and motivational coach, all at the same time.
“Ugh... So complicated. Can you make it simpler?”, you say. We do not think so. Corporate culture is never a piece of cake. Developing it is a lengthy, tiring, and challenging process, but the path to success is never simple. If you feel ready to take up a challenge, here, you find a few vital recommendations about creating corporate culture in your organization.
Tips on Creating Company Culture
Let’s see how is corporate culture formed. First and foremost, there has to be a well-thought-out and clearly formulated organizational strategy of how to create corporate culture with comprehensively determined values, mission, vision, structure, and communication principles. This has to be done from the very beginning when a business is being launched. If a company, for some reason, did not manage to fulfill this task in time, they have to take it on as soon as they realize the mistake. The larger the company is and the more developed business processes are, the more difficult it will be to introduce any quality changes.
Besides, what makes a good company culture are the people aligned with the company strategy at all times. Essentially, there are a few important measures for creating company culture to be taken at each stage of the collaboration cycle:
Attraction, Recruitment, & Onboarding
- Create an attractive and competitive workplace: The image and reputation of your enterprise are vital for attracting new talents. While developing company culture, you will develop your brand. And you cannot do without attracting fresh blood into your organization, because however cool you were, people will always come and go, and you need to attract someone new to substitute them.
- Hire people who share your vision: When interviewing a job candidate, make sure that they cherish similar values and believe in similar ideas. Otherwise, they will bring disruption into your company and ruin your culture from within. Remember that tastes differ and opinions differ, but do not plan to change anyone ― simply look for a person who holds the same views.
- Be inclusive: Judge by professionalism and competencies, not by demographic characteristics. Only skills, experiences, and personal values should affect your decision making on whether to hire a certain person but not a race, gender, ethnic background, health condition, or physical appearance.
- Make the most out of social media: Create an account for your company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever network you like. It is a great way to communicate with the broad public, spread news, share images, show everyone that you love your job. It will boost your company presence in the market and help you build up your brand.
- Show that you care about your team members: It is necessary to actively listen to people, to care about their well-being and personal feelings, to share your thoughts and attitudes with them. Coworkers are always in the same boat, and the team cannot do without mutual trust. Moreover, if you spend such a large part of your day working, you should either find a way to enjoy it or look for a different job.
- Show that you care about your community: A sustainable company earns trust and respect. When newcomers see that you take care of the environment or vulnerable social groups, they will have no doubt that you will take care of them as well. Encourage your team members to recycle, to conserve energy and water resources, to respect nature, and to promote the idea of environmental consciousness among friends.
Development & Retention
- Embed respect and tolerance in the office environment: Greeting all the team members in the morning personally, you will show that each and every person is valued and respected. Do not privilege people but promote unconditional equality and fairness. At the same time, there must be absolutely no bullying, workplace discrimination or harassment, rumors or humiliations. Such a behavior pattern is utterly unacceptable to be displayed, encouraged, or ignored.
- Live your corporate culture: If you believe in something, believe in it at all times. Imagine that you promote sustainability and eco-friendliness, encourage your employees to purchase electric cars, but keep driving a petrol one yourself. Your image will eventually burst and your corporate culture as well.
- Be an embodiment of your company culture: Either you, a leader of the company, believe in the values you promote and act as a culture role model for your team members, or the culture will fall down at the first minor storm. You cannot expect others to pursue your ideas unless you pursue them yourself.
- Rehearse your culture regularly: The rules and values have to resonate in the atmosphere. If your team members do not remember or do not know the company’s constitution, you cannot expect them to obey it. Create information posters, share brochures and presentations, and carry out regular meet-ups to discuss ethical matters with your colleagues.
- Minimize hierarchy: People do not want to be employees, they want to be team members. Treat them as your friends, not your disobedient children. Nobody is willing to be under a close watch of ten different bosses. Eventually, if you have too many managers to supervise workers, who is going to do the actual job?
- Communicate: Your team members have to be in touch with all the changes unfolding in the organization, and departments need to interact with each other. For this purpose, posters, presentations, and group discussions will once again come in handy. If you still feel like missing out, create working groups and engage your team members into them to solve the most pressing corporate issues.
- Review, not criticize: It is important to conduct performance evaluations of your team members, especially if one has problems with performance or productivity. However, this has to be done with no judgment or aggression but with an utmost level of understanding and support. If after the evaluation you see that the person has greatly improved, do your best to appraise and encourage their progress. However, be careful here: not all people enjoy being openly paid tribute to, so before making it public, ask them.
- Do not be above your team members, be one of them: Effective leaders take part in brainstorming and problem solving, they are always ready to back up the team up. Join a working group, have lunch together with everyone else, attend the same events, express your personal concerns, or go out with your colleagues – do everything to show that all of you are in the same boat.
- Stick to the schedule: It is impossible to discipline coworkers without being self-disciplined. A leader should spend working hours in the office, come on time, and leave on time. Otherwise, you can neither control nor motivate your team members to be punctual.
- Do not change directions: A strong company culture has to be regularly revised and updated, but it cannot be changed dramatically. Then, you’ll need to overturn the entire company and start from point zero. Instead, conduct careful planning beforehand to make sure that you will not need to change anything later.
- Let your team participate: Developing company culture committee and establishing the aforementioned working groups would help you spread it among the colleagues and update it according to everchanging needs and interests of stakeholders.
- Seek feedback: Survey your team members about how they like working in a company, if they would recommend it to their friends, what they think of an atmosphere, and what they would like to change. To find out whether people are happy about working for you ― ask them.
- Encourage competition: Healthy competition helps people grow professionally, so you should acknowledge the most outstanding in a certain sphere talents and encourage them with badges, perks, and bonuses.
- Do not forget about presents: Everyone loves presents, so think about surprising people on their birthdays or other important events. Reward loyalty and professional growth, and do not forget about presents for Christmas or some treats for Halloween.
- Forget about the “carrot and stick” rule: Treat your colleagues as equal and remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
- Stay respectful and polite: Even when an employee decides to terminate collaboration, it is necessary to close the relationships properly and to separate in best terms possible. It is absolutely unacceptable to defame a former employee or spread their personal information. It will ruin trust and plant suspicion and anger instead.
It seems to be quite clear how to build organizational culture: open your laptop, google “how is corporate culture formed”, implement the ideas in your company, and enjoy the optimal level of performance and productivity.
No, this process is neither simple nor quick. It requires a deep engagement with the idea of a company, a profound understanding of its vision and structure, a team of devoted and ethically aligned people, a great deal of sacrifice of time and resources, and a sound set of personal virtues. To understand how to build organizational culture, you need to listen to what your employees, partners, and colleagues have to tell you, which needs and interests they advocate, and which goals they aim to pursue. Only a mindful conversation at the corporate level will let you identify potential gaps or bottlenecks in your business processes. Only openness and gratefulness will let you recognize the behavior that should be appraised and encouraged.
And now, straight from Keenethics, the ultimate rule of how to create company culture ― “Have fun”! We spend most of our day at work with our colleagues, so why not to enjoy it? We let our business partnerships turn into friendships, entertain ourselves, and keep the fire in our eyes burning. We share our enthusiasm and optimism, cheer up those in dismay, and support those in need. We highly value and respect our team members, clients, and partners. Check out our Instagram and Facebook to see! Creating corporate culture is creating the culture of a team, so we build a team!