Define what company culture is
Not all organizations are the same. No matter how fun and attractive Zappos’ company culture may seem to be, it would not suit certain people, certain organizations, or certain industries.
Do not forget that the aim of having a great company culture is not to have your employees enjoy working, but rather have everyone behave and work under the same defined values, and purposes in order to focus each person’s role, and enhance productivity.
What is your culture?
The first step to a great company culture is defining the culture you want for your company.
Precisely define the core values of your company and make the mission statement clear. Each and every undertaking within your company should aim to that vision, and should respect these values.
Share it with organization
Make it clear
Don’t be afraid to state these values. Print or write them out in order to have your employees read them as often as possible, and unconsciously acknowledge and respect them.
Lead by example
The best way to have someone follow you is by inspiring them. Do not neglect your image, and start behaving the way you would like others to behave. If you want a more friendly working environment, start connecting with your employees. If you want a more defined hierarchical system, set strong boundaries, and sense of respect.
Create an inward set of rules
This will come progressively, but start establishing routines and using a language specific to your organization. For instance, you can establish morning rituals by “checking” with everyone, or bringing breakfast on birthdays.
Whilst precisely defining the culture is an essential process, in order to maintain it, moments must be shared an stories created. History is part of culture, and telling these stories to newcomers or coworkers who were not present at the time, helps building the culture, and the sharing process becomes easier.
Pass it on
A main factor of culture is its ritualized process. Indeed, a culture exists only if present people are willing to pass it on. Otherwise moments don’t become memories, history is not created, and culture does not exist.
Make sure to introduce new employees to your company as a whole. Do not hesitate to show them the company insights anytime you are given the chance.
Make everyone contribute
In order to establish a strong culture, the key element is to have it engrained in every employee’s personality and behavior. Indeed, as you are all moving as one, you want everyone to be able to share the culture, and the mentality of your business. This is when you win. If part of your company’s culture is giving back to the community, you may implement this to your team building or corporate events. A great idea would be to ask your employees to join a charity bicycle team building event.
In some cases it might be useful for your company to implement programs in order to energize the company’s atmosphere. Games in group emphasizing teamwork, collaboration, and soft competition have been proven to help people bond more efficiently.
You might also want to give a cultural ownership to one or more employees in order to preserve it.
Maintain and evolve it
Culture is not a concept set in stone. It is evolving and improving in the same way individuals evolve and improve themselves.
The values and mission statement you previously stated are your basis. You want your company to positively evolve around them. You are not trying to imprison your people into a set of rules, but rather giving them a broad perspective of what it is like to work in your company.
You must let people add their own part, by allowing them to share ideas, and contribute in their own way to the company. Remember your company is composed of individuals, and your company culture embodies the spirit of these individuals.
Share it with the world
Make your culture recognizable
When people look at your band, you want them to instantly recognize it. The faster people “click”, the more connected they feel, and the more credible and trustworthy you appear. Authority in your industry is also a matter of being unique.
Identify cultural ambassadors
Make sure your employees carry the company spirit along with them. Indeed, values are not a set of rules one has to respect within the company; it is a set of morals one is living with. Your boss saying you cannot smoke inside the building does not mean you cannot smoke in your apartment. On the other hand, lying is something you generally don’t do – neither at work nor at home.