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Defining Company Culture

Company culture doesn’t always get the attention as other areas of the business, but it’s just as important because it influences almost every discipline from operations to sales.

But what makes up the culture of a company?

In its essence, company culture refers to the shared set of values and ideals within an organization. It’s what brings character and personality to a brand name.

It can be influenced by:

  • Team members – what are their shared values and ideals? A culture is created by the people.
  • Mission statement – what is the organization’s collective goal?
  • Values and ethics – what is considered important or pointless? Acceptable or unacceptable? Right or wrong?
  • Environment – where does the company work? How do space and amenities affect people’s behavior and mindset?

 

Why is the culture of a company important?

Organizations in any industry experience change every day. The one constant is the company’s culture- the highest standard expected of each individual, and the values that glue everyone together. Company culture is more than a collection of words, its a collection of ideals.

Culture pervades every aspect of professional life, even though it’s not always apparent. For example, if an employee has a birthday, the way that the rest of the team treats that individual can represent the company’s culture. Similarly, if the team is hostile to one another, that may come out in customer interactions.

Whether it’s a simple interaction or a major initiative, culture plays an important role in unifying and directing people.

 

How To Describe Your Company Culture

So how do you describe the culture of your business or the culture of the workplace? That might not be easy questions to answer, so we’ll cover a few steps on how to refine your culture messaging.

Brainstorm your brand’s top core values

Gather the key stakeholders of the brand in a room and come up with the top 20 values of the brand. Then narrow them to 10. And then again to five, until you have three left. While the others are still important, focusing on three main values will be easier to embed in the brand’s identity.

Start with the team

Find people that aren’t just qualified, but exemplify the brand’s core values. In most cases, you can train the individual to become proficient with a certain program or process, but you can’t train them to follow core values. During the interview process, picture how that person might behave with the team or under pressure. Would you still hire them?

Check out our tips on finding the best talent for your company.

Get down in the trenches

The best way to learn about the top values of your company is not just to ask, but to observe. Watch your team at work or at events and try to find the best aspects of their personality. Chances are these personalities and traits are what influence your current culture.

Listen to feedback

And not just to your team, but to your customers and partners as well. Read the reviews (as hard as that may be) on Google or Amazon, or whatever website your business may be rated on. What do others say about how your team’s interactions? Criticism can be difficult but can also be opportunities for change.

Measure, Evaluate, Revisit

It’s not enough to write down the values, you have to actually uphold them! Set milestones to check in with your team and see how closely the values are being followed. Send out anonymous surveys to get real opinions on how well the values are implemented, and how they might be improved. Use that feedback to build upon the values you created.

 

A Higher Standard

Company culture and values act like the north star for a business, guiding the team during tough times. It’s easy to shrug off company values as a low priority item, but doing so only leads to further ignorance and conflicts in the workplace.

Take the time to make company culture a priority. The lasting effects of a well planned, fairly enforced value system can cause ripples beyond the business and beyond the workplace.

Be sure to read our article on the 8 must-read books for 2018.

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