Three simple steps to create your strong company culture
If you imagine a business like a body, company culture is the lifeblood that circulates, revives and powers everything. It’s a fundamental component of commercial success and without it, you and your team are likely to become rudderless and disorganised.
For a clear illustration of just how potent culture is to business performance, there are plenty of robust academic studies that demonstrate the relationship between culture and prosperity.
A Columbia University study, for example, showed that job turnover levels at companies with strong cultures was just 13.9% on average, whereas those with poor cultures saw turnovers of 48.4%.
So if you feel that your company culture is lacking, here’s a clear roadmap of the steps you need to take.
Step one is perhaps the hardest part.
Bob Brown from coaching consultancy inspire2aspire stated that: “The Key is to know your values, rank them and then translate them into meaningful behaviour that you implement into every element of your business from recruitment, remuneration and marketing.”
But how do you know how to define yourself? Here are a couple of tips to get you going.
- Define your brand personality. Google the ‘brand archetype wheel’ and debate with your team as to which personality your company fits. Are you brave outlaws, taking risks and upsetting the status quo? Or are you irreverent jesters, taking nothing too seriously at all?
Whatever you decide should give you a strong steer about what your principles are and what your business personality is.
- What’s the big idea? Think about what the big goal is beyond making money. Make it a goal that your business probably couldn’t even solve by itself. A wider social impact. So for example, if your business is an app that helps people manage their electricity usage, your business goal might be to hit x subscriptions by the end of the year, but your wider goal might be to see the world become carbon neutral by the end of the decade.
Your big goal helps to inform you of what’s really important to your organisation. What are you fighting for? Whatever you land on will act as a flag for everybody to unite behind.
Conversely, if your big goal really is to achieve x subscriptions by the end of the year and you don’t care about carbon neutrality, then that also informs your company culture. This process has basically helped you to define that your business’s personality is ‘Wolf of Wall Street’.
So now you know who you are and what you stand for. How do you get your team on board?
Emily Mei Carter, founder of EcoSphere Consulting said that: “The desired direction of culture can be set by leaders but ultimately it is built by all the people in the organisation who contribute to it, so attracting the right people and making sure they are aligned with the organisational goals from the beginning is critical.”
There are multiple ways to address this.
The first is clearly to communicate your vision, mission and values to your team frequently. This isn’t simply a case of reiterating these elements in your meetings.
To make your company personality stick, communicate it through everything you do.
So for example, if you are the founder of the electricity management app I made up earlier, and you really do care about the world becoming carbon neutral, have that inform every decision. For instance, if you are organising a fun day for the staff, you would naturally avoid a day at the Grand Prix, but you might go on an environmentally-friendly segway adventure instead. Or perhaps your staff canteen might go vegetarian to reduce your environmental impact.
All of these micro decisions add up to a whole, getting everybody on the same page.
Secondly, hire the right people. You have to find people who embody the qualities that you are trying to promote through your company. It’s far easier to get your company ideology to take root in an organic way if the people you hire all believe in your wider goals.
There’s some circularity to this, as creating the right culture will attract the types of people that you want to attract. So once you’ve defined who you are and what you’re about (from Step One), engage your marketing team to ensure that your public face matches the culture and personality that you are building from within.
Potential employees will look to your social media, website and press to see if they are a good fit for your team. Make sure yours are saying the right things about you.
Once you’ve got your personality and goals hammered down and your ideal team in place, the next step is to supercharge your culture with alignment across the board.
One of the most effective and immediate ways of doing this is to implement a share scheme.
Vestd’s recent customer survey showed that nearly everybody who took part confirmed that their share scheme had enhanced company culture and team alignment. Additionally, 93% agreed that their scheme had helped their newly aligned teams to grow and develop.
The reason for this is that share schemes bring everybody together and get them focused on the same set of goals. Everybody wants to see the company succeed and everybody feels a greater sense of ownership of the wider company and over their individual responsibility areas.
On your marks...
Hopefully, this article has shown you that you are just a few simple exercises away from having a vigorous and well-defined company culture.
Creating a culture is one of the best things that you can do for your company and putting the time into defining who you are and what you stand for is a big investment into your commercial future.
Engage your team with all of the above, and have fun with it. It’s a great team building activity in itself to work through these processes.