We all know expanding the bottom line is central to any company’s success, but let’s dig into which behaviors drive that success and the values remaining intact during the process. Courtney Chapman of the Rubicon Project puts it simply, “Company culture is the product of a company’s values, expectations, and environment.” To take it a step further, components of company culture must work together in order to be effective—just like a brand’s logo, mission statement, and color palette. Nothing frustrates employees and consumers more than organizations claiming to stand for one thing and doing another. So, let’s break down the components of culture, why it’s important, and how to create your own.
Components of culture
Values: A company without values is like a ship navigating without a compass. What are the guiding principles your team defaults to when faced with a challenge or conflict?
Expectations: This is the unspoken standard employees learn by watching each other. Which behaviors are rewarded or reprimanded? Does your company expect blameless problem-solving? Autonomous decision-making? Honesty?
Environment: A company’s environment is the physical expression of its values. Does your company value innovation? A way to encourage innovation through environment is providing a workspace with energetic colors or a setup that facilitates collaboration.
Why it’s important
Retention: Clear company culture simplifies the process of finding a good fit for both recruiters and prospective employees. Low employee turnover, in turn, saves time and money. Plus, satisfied employees are more likely to make referrals in their professional network.
Motivation: Since we spend most of our lives working, we want our job to be more than just a paycheck. Make it clear that your employees are making a difference and not just taking orders amounting to someone else’s success.
Celebration: Never underestimate the power of a simple “thank you.” Feeling appreciated goes a lot further than free lunch. Celebrate successes and reiterate your company’s commitment to its culture, whether it’s in team meetings, events, or newsletters.
Creating a culture
Inspire: Exploring acclaimed culture documents from other companies like Netflix, Spotify, and Hubspot can help spark inspiration. Pick out what speaks to you and create your own culture document. Fine-tuning can always come later.
Empower: If you’re a startup, have a chat with your team and ask for their input. Involve employees in deciding the company’s culture. Collaboration helps to align the company’s vision and strengthen a team’s bond.
Evolve: As your company grows, allow its culture to evolve. Send out surveys for a temperature reading. Pay attention to informal sources of feedback, too, such as company review sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Comparably. If there’s a disconnect between what your company says and does, change it.
Putting it all together…
Start with checking out culture documents from other successful companies. Involve your team in further developing the vision. Be realistic about the values, expectations, and environment you want your company to represent. Once those components are in place, your company culture will be clear. As a result, finding employees who are a good fit will be easier and this will, in turn, increase both employee satisfaction and retention.