Building a solid corporate culture

Every human environment is so steeped in a culture (or cultures) that the particular influences they exert are often overlooked, and their local, characteristic features can be mistaken for universal norms. Inside a company, the “culture” dictates how people relate, how they feel on the job, and even how well they produce. While every company has a culture, not all cultures contribute equally to the success of their companies. Cultures, for instance, that do not reflect a company’s desired value structure will not ultimately serve company goals. In this article, we’re sharing ten ways your organization can begin creating a solid corporate culture immediately.

  1. Be the first to arrive and the last to leave. There is no substitute for hard work and everyone will look to the leader as an example. Employees should know that no matter how hard they work, there is always someone working harder.

  2. Show the ROI of transparency. Find ways to measure how transparency and trust flows within your organization. Whether it’s through your employee survey or through leadership interactions. Keeping your pulse on this thread will help leaders be more connected to the culture, and the people more connected to the organization's’ own values and goals.

  3. Take responsibility. Every business has a corporate culture—a collection of shared values, traditions and goals that make it unique. The difference is, strong corporate cultures arise consciously, shaped by the business owner, while weak ones arise accidentally from neglect.

  4. Create a mission statement. Your company’s mission statement, which clearly conveys your business’s goals, philosophy and unique differentiators in a sentence or two, will be a reference point for developing and maintaining your corporate culture.

  5. Keep it authentic. Corporate culture should be a natural outgrowth of your business’s mission, your industry, your customers and even your Personality. Don’t try to “force” a corporate culture that’s not authentic. IBM has one corporate culture; Zappos has a very different one. Each is authentic to the business involved.

  6. Involve your team. Although you are a key driver of your business’s corporate culture, that doesn’t mean you can impose it from the top down. Involve your employees in fine-tuning your mission statement and determining what kind of culture they want to create.

  7. Create rituals. Rituals, stories and rites of passage help create and sustain corporate culture. Whether it’s a weekly Friday pizza lunch, a celebration for employees who reach certain milestones or just the stories you tell when you welcome new employees to the team, create rituals that convey your corporate culture.

  8. Have an out-of-office meeting. A strong work culture requires that everyone gels together. After-work dinners or activities are a great way to help build the strength of your team. An activity like bowling is great because it’s competitive—create a team of competitors that want to win and work well together and you will be unstoppable.

  9. Hire for fit. Look for job candidates whose personalities and attitudes mesh with your culture. Fit is more important than skill. A job candidate might have years of experience, but if he or she is uptight and rigid while your culture is loose and fun, the new hire won’t be happy—and neither will you.

  10. Express your corporate culture in everything you do. Everything from the design of your office or stores, to the appearance and tone of your marketing materials, to the way your employees interact with customers should clearly convey your corporate culture to the outside world.

What are your thoughts on developing corporate culture? Share with us in the comments section below.