Many companies view corporate culture as company-hosted events or the office aesthetic, but those things are not corporate culture; they’re influenced by corporate culture.
According to Investopedia, “corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.” Your corporate culture is how things get done in your workplace.
Every aspect of your business (dress code, hiring decisions, and customer relationships) will reflect your culture.
You can allow your company’s culture to develop organically as you build your team, but if you want to ensure that your culture stays true to you and your values, you should define your culture early.
Although each company has a unique culture, the Harvard Business Review has identified six common components of winning company cultures:
When you’re defining your corporate culture, start with your vision, which can be a shared through a mission statement . Your vision and mission statement will be the driving forces behind every decision you and your employees make and will give your company purpose.
Your mission statement can also attract customers because they identify with your vision. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, says that Microsoft’s mission is “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” With this mission statement, Nadella is not only telling Microsoft employees what they are striving for, but he is also telling their customers what Microsoft plans to do for them.
After you have a clear vision for your company, you need a set of core values to achieve that vision.
Your company’s values should be actionable and allow employees to make the right decision when you’re absent.
Although you don’t have to post your values in the office, it can be helpful so that you and your employees can revisit the company’s values to ensure that every decision fits into the company’s vision.
Google also posts their values, or “Ten things we know to be true”, online so their consumers can verify that Google is living up to their vision:
Focus on the user and all else will follow.
It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
Fast is better than slow.
Democracy on the web works.
You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
You can make money without doing evil.
There’s always more information out there.
The need for information crosses all borders.
You can be serious without a suit.
Great just isn’t good enough.
Google’s values clearly put their customers first and guide employees to conduct business honestly and openly. Google employees can ask themselves if their decision will put the customer first and abide by Google’s “Ten things”. This helps Google employees put the values into practice.
A company’s values have little merit if they’re not put into practice daily.
For example, if you value your customers, you have to make sure that your company regularly exceeds customers’ expectations and provides them with exceptional customer service.
If you act on the company’s values daily, your employees will follow your example and help create a corporate culture focused on your company’s vision and values.
You need people who share and embrace those values to create a coherent company culture.
Because of this, when you hire new employees, you should focus on finding employees who share your values. By focusing on cultural fit during the hiring process, you will hire employees that enjoy their job and coworkers, which will cause them to stay loyal to your company for longer.
You and your company have a unique story; share it as part of your culture.
Coca-Cola celebrates its story to the point that they’ve built the World of Coke museum in Atlanta, Georgia to share their history with their customers. This encourages growth within Coca-Cola because they can look back and see how far they’ve grown over the years.
Your office space can influence your culture, so make sure that your offices align with your values. For example, if you value collaboration, you may lean more toward creating an office with an open floor plan for your employees to easily be able to work together.
If you want to ensure that you create a company culture that promotes growth and productivity, share your company’s vision and values, put those values into practice, hire people who share your values, incorporate your company’s narrative into its culture, and create a work environment that aligns with your values.