Company culture defines your organization, your work environment, and even your team members.
Your unique culture encompasses both the underlying feelings you have about your company as well as the explicit company values you broadcast on your website.
“Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.”
—Brian Chesky, Co-founder and CEO, Airbnb
Company culture may be just what your company needs to stay unified and resilient in the face of changing work trends. Keep reading to refine your company culture to withstand anything in 2021 and beyond.
What Is Company Culture?
Company culture is, by standard definition, the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.
You can think of company culture as a company’s personality, the matrix of features, and shared values that make it uniquely different from any other company out there.
Just as your personality affects every aspect of your daily life, your company culture affects every aspect of your day-to-day business operations. Culture impacts how others perceive you, how effective your internal and external relationships will be, and most importantly, how the people who work for you generally feel about you.
Some companies may talk about their culture in terms of specific perks, retention rates, or offices filled with ping-pong tables. These are all reflective aspects of your core culture; they are not the core tenets of your culture.
The Benefits Of A Positive Company Culture
Positive company culture can benefit veteran employees, new employees, partners, customers, and even collaborators in countless ways, from enhancing brand recognition to increasing workplace friendships. Click To Tweet
Here are some of the most important takeaway benefits of company culture:
- It helps entice top talent. Modern candidates often use work culture as a deciding metric when choosing which jobs to accept, sometimes even weighing culture over salary.
- It stimulates quality work. A positive, balanced company culture leads to more engaged employees, and engaged employees work harder for the companies they love.
- It trickles down to customers. Zappos, famous for having a great company culture, encourages decision-making through the lens that everyone is family. The company’s values lead everyone to treat co-workers and customers with exceptional care and respect.
- It leads to commitment. Netflix defines its cultural fit in terms of several core values, including curiosity, communication, passion, and innovation. By recruiting for and developing these values, the company inspires happy employees who believe in intelligent risk-taking and who also see the company’s goals as their goals.
- It engenders the desired business outcomes. According to the Harvard Business Review, successful culture can drive business goals when it’s aligned with strong strategies and influence from a leadership team.
How To Improve Your Company Culture
Having a strong company culture, a culture that resonates regardless of physical location, became critical to companies who transitioned to remote work during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Constant cultural development will continue to be critical now that a new age of work is here and many companies must consider transitioning to full or partial remote work models.
In the absence of shared spaces and casual in-office banter, company culture becomes the glue that holds organizations together.
Use the strategies below to make your “cultural glue” as strong as possible.
1 ) Reward Employees To Cultivate A Sense Of Empowerment
When you reward and recognize brilliant work, you encourage more brilliant work. Furthermore, rewards reinforce an employee’s sense of purpose and significance, empowering them to take ownership of company goals.
You can reward employees at practically no cost by writing notes of thanks, granting them more influence and responsibility, and also seeking their input on core initiatives.
Tools you can use to bolster your rewards strategy:
- Nectar makes it easy to provide meaningful rewards and recognition. It can boost recognition because the interface is easy to understand and also creates an inspirational buzz.
- Fond reinforces company culture by making reward activities visible across the entire company. Their customization capabilities help companies create desirable, and therefore effective, rewards.
- Assembly helps companies dole out culture rewards, such as a lunch with the CEO or an expense-covered class or webinar. Each reward makes employees feel good and also reinforces core values.
2 ) Promote Effective Collaboration
People need to collaborate effectively to feel united by a core culture. When teams feel disconnected or at odds with their colleagues, the commitment to shared values you’ve cultivated can quickly disintegrate.
Promote effective collaboration by encouraging your teams to have weekly stand-ups and asking managers to suss out potential blockers during weekly one-on-one meetings and even annual reviews.
Resources you can use to promote collaboration:
- monday.com provides all the tools teams, including remote teams, need to work effectively together. The platform gives all team members visibility into the planning and progress of key projects, making it easier for them to share ideas, stay informed, and support each other along the way.
- Toggl Plan overcomes collaboration challenges by putting tools for project management and communication at everyone’s fingertips. Harmonious collaboration flourishes when it’s easy to assign deadlines, input milestones, and even provide feedback in one place.
- Google Drive offers a variety of cloud-based document sharing and collaborating abilities. Instant edit and comment visibility helps make sure everyone on your team has the most current version of a document or spreadsheet.
3) Have Fun At Work
Fun is one of the most beautifully simple aspects of a strong organizational culture. Employees who have fun together might experience more cohesion and more willingness to support one another.
Resources you can use to have more fun:
- Outback Team Building delivers managed activities that give your team a concentrated dose of fun. They use their event expertise to make sure everyone on your team enjoys themselves and everyone feels good after the event.
- The Go Game offers an expertly developed virtual gaming session that shows employees a good time while also piquing their creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Perfect for team building and even welcoming new hires, each experience comes along with an event host that optimizes your team’s fun.
- Let’s Roam will work with you to develop a team-building event that fits perfectly with your company culture. They keep your team’s needs in mind so every event meets your expectations and delivers desired outcomes.
4) Help Employees Show Their Pride With Company Swag
We all love wearing gear to show an affinity for sports teams, bands, and even brands. Deck your employees out with company swag to enhance their feelings of company pride.
Resources you can use to find company swag:
- Swag.com curates an extensive list of desirable, customizable products. It helps you provide branded items employees will actually want and will actually want to wear.
- SwagUp offers packs with essential and also just-for-fun branded items. One pack will deck employees out with everything they need to represent the company with pride.
5) Have Fun With Your Team Outside Work
As we said earlier, fun can bring your team together. Obviously, fun doesn’t have to be limited to work hours. Have fun outside the office as well to further solidify employee bonds and absolutely maximize your fun.
You can easily encourage extracurricular fun by starting a group hiking club, organizing a volunteer event, or even just having group dinners.
Tools you can use to have more fun outside the office:
- City Brew Tours offers virtual flavor experiences and local beer tours. Combine expert guides with laughing coworkers and you have a no-fail bonding experience.
- The Escape Game hosts virtual and in-person escape rooms. These challenges encourage teamwork and communication as participants have fun.
- Goosechase will help you and your team enjoy a location-independent scavenger hunt. Their chases create the experience of togetherness without the need to actually be together.
6) Facilitate Effective Communication
Effective communication is a linchpin of workplace culture. Employee engagement, understanding of core values, and success in any imaginable metric—all these facets of culture depend on effective communication.
You can help bolster organizational communication by carving out plenty of opportunities for project work and even encouraging employees to network with one another by using a company culture tool such as Donut.
Tools you can use to facilitate effective communication:
- Slack makes around-the-clock workplace communication simple and fun. Slack works because employees love it and will naturally use it to communicate more.
- Otter turns meeting recordings into transcripts. With neat notes you can easily read and skim, you have all the information you need to work productively with your team.
- Chanty is a team collaboration tool with the messaging and work organization features you need to gather information and reinforce your points.
7) Start A Weekly Ritual
Traditions help families maintain bonds and connections across generations. These meaningful rituals can do the same thing in companies, providing a disparate group with the centerpiece of connection and goodwill that makes them feel closer.
You can easily make traditions happen organically at your company by looking for the interests and activities most of your employees have in common. For example, if everyone loves basketball, then a weekly or monthly pick-up game could be in order.
Tools you can use in your weekly rituals:
- Watercooler Trivia allows you to create and share trivia about your team. This activity gives employees an event to enjoy together while also learning factoids they need to better understand each other.
- QuizBreaker helps you build team camaraderie through team building quizzes. Getting answers right or wrong will help employees remember what they learned about one another forever.
- Use a random trivia generator to easily play trivia games over Zoom.
8) Implement Fitness And Wellness Initiatives
When employees feel good, a positive culture will be easier to cultivate. Beyond that, it shows employees that you truly care about their well-being, reinforcing their hope that they found a good culture fit.
You can incentive wellness by promoting your health-care plan and offering flexible schedules that support your employees’ work-life balance.
Tools you can use to promote wellness at your company:
- Sonic Boom helps you deliver wellness programs customized to your employees’ interests. It works because it allows employees to pursue wellness on their own terms.
- Wellable distills a robust wellness program into an easy-to-use application that walks participants through challenges centered around nutrition, exercise, and more.
- Headspace makes it easy to properly practice mindfulness meditations.
9) Cultivate A Balanced Culture
Whether you’re a startup or an established successful company, you can achieve a strong company culture with a balanced approach that takes all employee preferences and personalities into consideration. Developing an organizational structure where everyone can thrive means that your company’s culture will be all the more strengthened by everyone’s unique contributions and talents.
You can work toward more balance by offering employees autonomy over their work schedules and sending more pulse surveys to learn how employees really feel.
Tools you can use to achieve balance in your workplace:
- CultureAmp helps you gather culture-centric insights. By looking at a variety of metrics together, you can easily piece together a comprehensive story of employees’ safety and engagement levels.
- Glint empowers organizations to understand how employees really feel. Their focus on pulse surveys and people’s insights give employers what they need to identify areas of balance they may need to work on.
- Grapevine gives companies an easy reporting solution for complaints and grievances.
10) Maintain A Culture-Oriented Hiring Process
An organization’s culture should be clear from the moment a new candidate finds a job on LinkedIn or a different social media platform and should also be reinforced throughout the hiring process and all the way through onboarding.
Work with company leadership and human resources to document your company culture as officially as you might document your mission statement or business plan. This will help everyone involved understand how to hire people that align with your core values.
Tools to help you maintain a culture-oriented hiring and onboarding process:
- Symphony Talent helps companies turn their unique characteristics into clear and appealing candidate messages. It works because it helps companies send strong messages to receptive candidates that align with their values.
- GoCo allows companies to automate their hiring and onboarding processes. By automating some of the tedious aspects of hiring, you can focus on clearly communicating your culture.
- HiBob gives companies the tools they need to turn hiring and onboarding into tools that promote belonging and enhance your company culture.
11) Embrace Transparency To Cultivate Trust
Transparency engenders awareness and also trust, which in turn fuels positive company culture. Employees shed suspicions that can lead to bitterness and embrace the joys of knowing exactly who they’re working for.
Cultivate transparency by holding open Q&A discussions, openly communicating both successes and setbacks, and creating anonymous forums for fielding questions and complaints.
Tools you can use to bolster transparency:
- Qualtrics gives organizations the tools they need to field anonymous surveys and also use the data to take appropriate action to improve company culture.
- Thoughtexchange helps employers learn what their employees are truly thinking about. When employees can give feedback through a safe platform, leaders are more likely to get the insights they need to make major improvements to company culture.
- OMBEA allows leaders to host live events and collect feedback they can turn into practical insights.
People Also Ask These Questions About Company Culture
Q: Why is company culture important?
- A: Company culture is important because it operates effectively as your company’s personality, and as such, it affects how people perceive you, how positive and productive your internal and external relationships will be, and what kinds of thoughts, feelings, and reactions you’ll inspire in others. Read even more about the importance of company culture and learn how to cultivate it in this post.
Q: What are the benefits of cultivating a positive company culture?
- A: The benefits of promoting a positive company culture include recruiting top talent, achieving desired business outcomes, and stimulating productivity and quality work.
Q: Are there tools I can use to improve my company culture?
- A: Yes, there are tools you can use to improve your company culture. These tools include reward platforms like Nectar, collaboration tools like Monday.com, and onboarding software like HiBob.
Q: Are there ways to improve company culture virtually?
- A: Yes, there are ways to improve company culture virtually. For example, you could plan a virtual team building event with Outback Team Building or give employees the virtual recognition platform they need with Assembly.
Q: Is company culture important for remote teams?
- A: Yes, company culture is important for remote work teams. Work from home employees may rarely get to interact face-to-face with co-workers or enjoy in-office perks. To help these employees feel a sense of belonging, companies should build cultures based on shared values and interests instead of physical spaces and perks.