When we hear the phrase “company culture,” many of us think about whimsical chairs, beer fridges, pool tables, paintball retreats, and other non-traditional workplace accouterments. Startups have ruined company culture for the rest of us.
I jest. But the truth is that company culture is more than the workplace fixins’…it’s also something deeply embedded in how the workplace works. Culture now ranks as the third most important characteristic that job-seekers prioritize in their search. That makes sense: in an era of workaholism and poor work–life balance, a good company culture seems like a strong buffer against burnout. And frankly, micromanaging and bureaucracy are out of style.
A weak company culture is almost as bad as a toxic company culture. These days, your best candidates are looking for strong cultures, and your lack thereof might be a key factor in their decision. Here’s how you can strengthen your company culture.
Assess Your Current Team’s Satisfaction
You probably review your team’s performance, but how often do they review yours? Ask your team members how they would rank your workplace in terms of efficiency, productivity, and support for their work. Do they feel like they have the resources they need? Are they frustrated with how projects get done? By identifying issues, you can move forward with strengthening your company culture.
Decide What Type of Culture You Want
The famous “startup culture” may not suit your business. That’s fine. Attempting to force it on your workplace may backfire. The key is to be authentic. How can you translate your company values into a great workplace experience?
Take some time to reflect on how your values align with your company’s attributes and priorities. A “green” company” that doesn’t offer recycling in the break room will come off as insincere to your employees. If you uncover such a discrepancy, start taking steps to bring your values and culture into alignment.
Let Your Company’s Story Motivate People
That’s all superficial, though: The secret to a strong company culture is the strong affirmation of a company’s story. If you use story-driven content in your marketing, think about how you can market internally and to job candidates. Why did you start your business? What are your key pieces of wisdom? What motivates you to come to work every day?
Above all else, be authentic: These days, people respond well to that. No one wants to feel like they’re working for a company that doesn’t put its money where its mouth is.
Address Any Problems.
It’s hard to look in the mirror, but to strengthen your company culture, it’s essential. Take a deep breath and check Glassdoor and other job sites for reviews of your company. Sure, some of the reviews might be a little biased, but there’s usually a grain of truth that points to a potential issue. If you hear that your company is known for poor management, that’s something to take into consideration.
A strong culture is one of accountability. You must “walk the talk,” as the saying goes. Let people know that you’re taking steps to resolve issues and strengthen the culture. Be open to their feedback on how to do it.
Strengthening a company culture is not easy but is well worth the effort. Let your company’s story, values, and wisdom inspire your culture, and actively work to solve problems and address grievances. Above all else, be authentic and accountable. That resonates with your team members and candidates on a deep level.