Company culture is a fundamental part of an organisation. Getting culture right is crucial to your long-term success; it tells your staff how to behave, how to treat their jobs and how things are done in your business. It covers your company vision, ethos, values and beliefs.
An organisational culture can be hard to quantify but it’s there, and communicating it to your staff and customers is something you should undertake proactively.
Why should you communicate company culture?
By simply working in your organisation, your staff live and breathe your company culture every single day. But if you fail to articulate it to them and instead let it develop organically, you’ll find that different members of staff will view your culture very differently. It’s a lesson that Google learnt not too long ago.
By communicating your company culture and how it enables your business, it becomes more consistent and more effective with everyone understanding it.
Be totally transparent
You have to be completely open about your culture and how your business fits with that. Staff will not be on board with it if you say one thing but do another. For example, if you run a company that provides software to promote remote working, refusing a flexible working policy would go against what you stand for.
You also need to be open with your staff when you communicate company culture to build trust and employee engagement. Members of senior management should engage with staff so they know clearly what the company purpose is, what they are striving for and how they will achieve it.
Nothing will undermine your company culture more than if you merely pay lip service to it. Company culture should not be seen as an optional extra but rather and essential part of your business armour. It’s especially important that it is attractive and authentic if you want your staff to buy into it and be in it for the long haul.
And to be authentic you really need to live and breathe it if you want to engage your staff and get them to live and breathe it too.
Lead by example
Staff won’t buy into your company culture if you don’t buy into it yourself so set your core values and stick to them. If you promote great communication and an open door policy, don’t hide away in your office with the door shut every day.
If allowing all workers to have their say and creating a collaborative environment is important, make sure you really do take steps to listen to all employees when they have an idea and don’t dismiss them out of hand.
Never underestimate the benefit of saying thank you – it can create a culture of recognition and help your staff to buy into your company culture. If they feel like they are appreciated, they feel more invested in your business and what it stands for.
Showing appreciation promotes feelings of happiness, positivity and cheerfulness. It also leads to a “we’re in this together” mind set which leads to a more positive workplace environment and greater business success.
Thread it into everything you do
Company culture needs to run through everything you do within the business with a top down approach. Try and educate your staff with culture training from the moment they join - you can make it part of your induction process and include it at your company meetings.
In addition, make sure your HR department considers cultural fit when recruiting and think about how you can incorporate it into performance management. If you promote a collaborative environment, then having employees compete against each other with tough targets is likely to produce a more toxic and counterproductive atmosphere.
Have culture champions
In your business you will no doubt have people who embody your company culture. They could be leaders within your organisation or they could simply be employees who really believe in what you’re doing. Recognising them however, as great examples of your company culture can really help to uphold your culture.
By championing your culture kings and queens you encourage other workers to emulate them and to align their work patterns and behaviours with your culture too.