You can define your company culture, you can write out core values and articulate your vision for the company, but your employees are the ones living it every day.
Their daily interactions and energy in the office help to shape your culture, but your culture can also help to shape these interactions. You need to show employees what it means to embody your company values—it’s an organized, organic process—because the last thing you want to do is have one culture on paper and another culture in reality.
In that spirit, here are some tips on how to define company culture for employees.
Your company policies, processes, values, benefits, and goals should all be guided by your culture. You can talk all you want about it, but employees are going to see where you spend resources—time and money—and that is going to show people what the company truly values. You need to “put your money where your mouth is”. Again, it’s about aligning your culture on paper with the culture that exists in the office.
Encourage employees to share feedback with management and with one another. Whether it was an epic presentation, a big sale, or an awesome box of donuts that somebody brought into the office, acknowledge the positive impact that your coworkers make every day. Celebrating triumphs will show employees that they’re appreciated and reinforce the positive behavior that builds a lasting culture.Celebrating triumphs will reinforce the positive behavior that builds a lasting culture. Click To Tweet
What’s worse than that awkward feeling when you walk past a coworker you sort of know and you both do that weird closed-mouth, grimace grin? Just say “Hi.” Say “Good morning, afternoon, evening.” Talk to each other in the elevators. It’s a little thing but it creates a warmer, more personable work environment. Management especially should be leading by example here.
Champion Your Champions
Recognize the employees that best embody your culture. Make sure these cultural champions are on track for leadership positions within the company. Put them in charge of planning company events, lunches, happy hours, parties, etc. Ask them to share ideas about how the company can improve. Have them take over the company social media accounts and guide the company’s brand image.
This is an improv mantra. Essentially, what it means is that rather than saying “But”, you say “Yes, and” to build on your teammates’ ideas rather than cutting them down. Think about it: How many times in a meeting does someone propose an idea, someone else shoots it down with a “But…”, and then the group loses momentum? “Yes, and…” creates a more collaborative environment, fueled by the collective group energy.
Set a time every morning for a quick (5-10 minute) company-wide or department-wide group meeting. Use this time to talk about the day ahead, recap numbers from the previous week, discuss goals and progress, tell a joke, do some stretches—whatever you feel best embodies your culture and the energy you want employees to carry into the day.Use daily huddles to communicate the energy you want employees to carry into the day. Click To Tweet
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