Getting your company’s culture right is as important as sorting your cash flow. If your culture is good you’ll create a great place to work with loyal and productive staff who support your business growth. Get it wrong and you could be saddled with a poor employer reputation and struggle to attract top talent. Or worse, you could find yourself the subject of damaging news headlines.

Google was left red-faced last year after one employee released a memo arguing women in tech were scarce because of biological differences. As well as firing the employee, Google was quick to underline its commitment to diversity and inclusion but the damage was done. And Uber made headlines when a female engineer wrote about the rampant culture of sexual harassment and sexism. Since then, the CEO Travis Kalanick has been ousted and the company is facing a slew of legal cases.

Read the Culture Economy report now to discover why developing a strong company culture is just as important as business strategy 

Why is it important to build a strong company culture?

As you can see from the examples of Google and Uber, a bad company culture can have serious consequences for your public image and company health. It has an impact on productivity, staff morale and therefore long-term growth.

In a wider sense, it will also have an impact on how your brand is perceived by your clients and the general public. Cultivating a strong company culture is important whether you employ hundreds of people or just a handful – without your staff, your business wouldn’t be able to function. So nurturing them, creating an atmosphere of mutual respect, and a chance to fulfil their career potential can do wonders for your bottom line.

Steps to create a strong company culture

There are plenty of things you can do to ensure you’re build a winning culture as your business grows.

Have a purpose

What are your personal core values? What are the business’s core values and what is the business’ purpose? You’re driving the business and you may know what they are but you need to make sure your employees do as well. You’re basically saying out loud what is important to you and that should be important to your staff too.

Communicate that authentically

Once you’ve figured out what your purpose is you need to communicate it clearly to staff. How does that translate into the day-to-day running of your business? Is there behaviour you expect from staff that exemplifies it? You also need to make sure your core values are applied to every part of your business.

Hire people who are passionate about the company’s purpose

There’s absolutely no point in employing staff who don’t believe in what you do. They will never be as productive as you would like, you’ll find yourself banging your head against a wall in frustration and they could ultimately damage your business. For example, if your business involves customer service and you expect them to provide the Disney megawatt smile style of customer service then use your company values to recruit people who exemplify that.

Define success and measure it

It’s important to create a barometer for success so staff can see how they are progressing both individually and collectively. This could be as simple as introducing rewards for hitting targets or bonuses for passing certain turnovers, customer conversions or profits. But if staff have nothing to measure their performance against or aim for it’s all too easy for productivity to suffer and your business growth to slow.

Be transparent about your progress

It’s not going to be plain sailing all the time in business but don’t try and hide the low points. Instead, celebrate the highs and analyse the lows, consulting with staff about where things have gone wrong and what can be done to improve them in the future.

Align the purpose with the practice

Purpose or values or vision are pretty useless unless they are put into practice. If you say you’re a people company and that your staff are your greatest asset, you need to be prepared to invest in them. If you run an organisation where you value management by consensus rather than a hierarchy then you need to listen to junior staff and they need to know they won’t be treated negatively or ridiculed. Basically, you need to put your money (both real and metaphorical) where your mouth is!

Culture economy