A company’s culture is the invisible force that drives its success, defines its identity and values, and determines the manner in which employees interact. A strong, positive culture contributes to increased productivity, greater employee satisfaction, and business growth.
Company culture starts at the top. As a leader, it is essential that you embody those qualities you want to see in your employees. Demonstrate integrity, respect, and inclusivity in word and action, encouraging others to follow your example.
How can leaders create a company culture that reflects the business’s goals and values? Let’s discuss steps you can follow to create a company culture that serves employees, customers, and the overall goals of the organization.
Define your company’s vision and values.
Creating a company culture starts with a vision and clearly defined values. Start by asking yourself and your leadership team important questions about what your company stands for and what your long-term goals are. Answering those questions will reveal the core principles upon which your company’s culture can be built.
Involve your employees in creating company culture.
The kind of company culture that inspires, motivates, and transforms can not be created solely by those at the top. It needs to be a collaborative process, including the thoughts, opinions, and ideas of employees at all levels of the organization.
Consider conducting employee surveys and holding open forums where ideas are shared and greater understanding is gained. When they are included in the creation of the company culture, team members are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and investment in its success.
Create a culture statement and communicate regularly.
You’ve defined your vision and values and identified your goals. You’ve sought out the ideas and opinions of team members. Now it’s time to create a culture statement. This document should be a concise representation of your company’s goals, principles, and expectations.
Share this statement regularly and celebrate achievements and examples of the growth of this culture within your organization. Everyone at every level of the company must understand the importance of the culture and the impact each person has on its success. Ensuring your employees feel valued and appreciated is essential to creating a strong, positive, thriving company culture.
Invest in employee learning and development.
Invest in your employees. This investment should include their professional and personal growth. Demonstrate to your employees, through opportunities to grow and learn, that you value them as employees and as individuals. A culture that supports employee growth and development results in team members with enhanced skills and a greater sense of purpose and loyalty.
Assess progress and be willing to adapt.
Company culture evolves over time. Put metrics in place to measure progress toward creating your desired company culture. Quantify results of employee surveys and track turnover rates. Use this information to refine culture-building efforts if necessary or to reinforce that you are moving in the right direction.
Foster a positive culture of empathy and inclusivity.
In order to create a culture where employees feel seen, understood, and valued, it is essential to lead with empathy. Encourage team members to seek to understand each other, treating one another with respect and consideration. Employees who feel seen and heard will be more willing to not only embrace the company culture themselves, but also promote it to others.
Our experts weigh in on how company leaders can create a culture.
A conference attendee at a recent event asked one of our speakers, “How do we actually create a culture?”
We thought it was such a great question, and one best answered by our resident corporate culture experts. As expected, they had valuable insights to offer.
“You create culture by developing a set of shared values as to how you will treat each other in the workplace. Then you must operate by those values every day.”
Anton Gunn has spent his career helping leaders build diverse, high-performing teams, and world-class workplace culture.
“At its core, organizational culture: is just the collection of individuals who are a product of learned behaviors. If you ONLY hire and retain rock stars (top talent), you will create the culture you want. Everything else is expensive window dressing.”
Jim Knight teaches organizations of all sizes how to attain their own “rock star” status through keynotes focused on leadership, company culture, customer service, and employee retention.
“Culture is created by asking and deciding which behaviors are important to us. Examples can be passion, listening, emotional health and balance, mental well-being, coaching, accountability, and humility. Also, defending against behaviors we want to avoid, such as lack of boundaries and burnout.”
Steve Gutzler is a respected authority on high-performance leadership, emotional intelligence, and leadership development
Alan Stein, Jr.
“You create a high-performance culture by aligning the organization’s beliefs (core values, mission, vision, etc.) with each individual’s behavior and by encouraging everyone on the team to care enough to hold each other accountable to a high standard of excellence.”
Alan Stein, Jr. teaches proven strategies to improve organizational performance, create effective leadership, increase team cohesion and collaboration, and develop winning mindsets, rituals, and routines.
“Culture gets created when a company not only shares a clear definition of their mission, goals, and values, but is consistent in living those practices in their everyday behaviors from the top down.”
Colette Carlson is an expert on human behavior who transforms relationships through the power of connected conversation
“Every organization has a culture, either by define or by default. If you don’t create it, it creates itself, and not all cultures are healthy. I define culture as ‘everything employees think and believe that determines what they do and achieve.’ Texas Roadhouse has a shorter definition: everybody gets it. One way to define culture is to design around ‘What kind of organization do we want to be for those who work here and those we serve?’”
Mark Sanborn has been hailed as one of the top leadership experts in the world. He delivers keynotes about leadership, customer service, business growth, and organizational performance.
The ongoing journey toward a company culture that serves all.
Creating a company culture is an ongoing, ever-evolving process. Stay focused on your vision and values, involve your team, adapt as necessary, and continue to lead with empathy. Dedicate the time and effort to building a strong, positive, inclusive culture as an investment in your organization’s future.