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4 Ways to Zero in on Your Unique Company Culture

Potential employees are looking for a “great company culture” and candidates are accepting or refusing offers based on how a companies’ culture is portrayed through various channels. Employers are continuously hearing how company culture is just as important as tactical performance management or recruiting strategies and nearly 1 in 3 people in North America believe corporate culture needs improvement.

Of course as an employer, being aware of the necessity of a distinct culture does very little for actually discovering your organization’s place in the world at work. In fact, knowing just how much impact that a focus on improving company culture can have on morale and productivity is enough to overwhelm any executive. Culture is highly organic and continuously evolving, it isn’t something that can be ignored and left to itself. And with something that could be so impactful, why would you want to anyway?

Your corporate culture is unique to you and your team, so while there is no failsafe, step-by-step plan that works for everyone, developing a corporate culture program does have basic starting points every company should enact.


Nearly 1 in 3 people in North America believe corporate culture needs improvement. Click To Tweet


Determine Company Values

Companies are founded on goals. Sure, they all boil down to making money on a good idea, but the way to succeeding in that is solely based on the distinct approach the founder took to get there. Your company’s values and mission likely grew out of this distinct approach, and all decisions spring from those fundamental beliefs. They’re considered “core” values for a reason. If they aren’t written, write them. Chances are if they aren’t already implied, they are at least conceptualized. But they should be also be verbalized then written. Don’t take these lightly or leave them up to generalized, overused words either. They are to be an honest, public display of what defines your organization.

 “Rather than actionable corporate values statements that truly capture the essence of the organization, leaders often lean on single, powerful words or phrases that they think people want to hear. Examples of this might be “Integrity, Community or Service.”  They look good. They sound good. But they are all but meaningless if people within the organization fail to live them in their day-to-day interactions.”

Chris Cancialosi, founder of GothamCulture

Your mission is your mantra and the values are your guidelines. They tell employees and clients alike what you will do to succeed and where you draw the line. All of that is highly important to your culture as it speaks volumes to the type of people you want in your offices, on your client list and as a vendor.


Create a Solid Foundation

With your values and mission in place, you have the beginnings of a solid foundation. Now it’s time to focus on discovering what a great culture looks like to your people. Select what pieces support what you want to see in your organization’s future. For example, the top drivers of corporate culture are training (63%), recognition (54%) and leadership development (43%). Those three are great places to begin selecting the elements that will direct your culture.

For example, a small, spry business characterized by a less siloed work structure, might benefit from a professional development program that provides stipends for classes and conferences in addition to participating in a yearly volunteering program as team building experiences. A larger, enterprise company with a traditional structure, may have a dedicated philanthropy for monthly fundraising efforts and a corporate health and wellness program including an onsite gym.


Collaborate with Employees

Only 12% of executives understand the way their people work together in their networks. Human capital management can’t always be about knowing every individual on a personal level and this low number is probably partially due to hierarchical structures of businesses. However, it does speak to how easy it can be to stray from what will actually motivate employees. Proper communication with experts is about the only way you can hope to develop any successful business plan and company culture is no different. Lucky for you, the experts are already on your payroll. Your people, of course.

The way to approach gathering intel is customizable to the size of your organization. Each size has its own challenges and benefits. Smaller organizations might be able to discuss elements of their unique culture in an end of the week meeting around a table while larger company executives might need to turn to managers or internal feedback surveys for a holistic view.

Keep reading this article over on the Ceridian blog