Whether you’re setting out to define your company culture or revisiting your existing culture, you can follow these eight steps to ensure your values, culture, and communication are in-line and helping you recruit and keep talented employees. But, keep in mind that your work shouldn’t stop there!
After defining your culture, harness the power of your company values to create consistent, authentic experiences in all aspects of your marketing—especially online.
First, establish a strong company cultureWhile there are many definitions of “company culture,” I like this one:
“Company culture is the combination of people, vision, and values that ultimately defines the atmosphere of a workplace and shapes how much you enjoy coming into work.”—Adam Mendler, CEO, Veloz GroupAccording to a recent Columbia University study, the typical job turnover rate is 48.4% when a company’s culture is low, but it drops to 13.9% when a company’s culture is high.
A good company culture is key to enticing the best prospects to join your company (and keeping them on board once they arrive).
- Building Company Culture: 7 Steps for Every Small Business (LinkedIn)
- How to Build a Great Company Culture from the Ground Up (Forbes)
- How to Establish a Healthy Corporate Culture (Edward Lowe Foundation)
Step 1: Define your core valuesAs a company, what are your values? Your company’s leadership team might want to reference books and articles (or even take classes) for guidance as they outline core values to ensure they ring true. Related topics might include how your company’s values impact client work, internal collaboration, leadership style, fiscal responsibility, and more.
Typically, three to five values should sum up the top attributes and goals of your company.
Once your team has defined your company’s values, brainstorm ways you might display your values around the office to keep them top of mind.
Step 2: Determine how staff achievements will be recognized and celebratedWhen many people think of company culture, they jump to office celebrations and on-site perks (like beer on tap or a full-time yoga instructor). However, your company culture permeates the atmosphere, from how you face new challenges and what happens when someone messes up to how clients or vendors are treated.
Help employees buy-in to the company culture by consistently celebrating desired attitudes or behaviors.
For example, if members of your team volunteer for a community cause and this matches one of your core values, consider hosting a lunch, donating to the cause in their honor, or doing something else to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements as being representative of your company and its culture.
Company culture permeates the atmosphere, from how you face new challenges, what happens when you mess up, and how clients are treated.
Step 3: Talk to your team about your company’s cultureEven the most well-intentioned team member can get overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks and deadlines. Post your values around the office, or get them printed on sticky notes for team members to keep at their desks.
It doesn’t matter how it works for your office, just be sure your team has easy access to reminders of their purpose at work each day.
Step 4: Be consistentOne of the surest ways to keep culture a top priority is to regularly respond to and recognize when your team exhibits those core company values. It can be difficult for morale to see some team members or their actions treated differently than others.
Once you’ve made a plan, as described in the third step, be sure to hold to it or to clearly communicate changes before they take place.
Good communication is essential!
Step 5: Hire with the company culture in mindKnowing your core values can help you keep company culture in mind when making new hires.
Consider your team’s working style, background and experience, personal passions and characteristics, and how considering these factors might impact which interview questions you ask and how you evaluate potential employees.
If your team is made of independent, heads-down people who don’t enjoy collaborating (and this reflects your core values), then hiring a chatty extrovert who hopes to make friends at work is probably not going to be a great fit for your company.
This example may be a bit over-simplified, but you can keep the idea in mind when determining candidate qualifications and figuring out how to find a new employee that complements your existing team and company culture.
Step 6: Continue to nurtureBe sure there is someone on your team who will own thinking about company culture. If time is tight, you could prepare a weekly checklist for managers to work through by email.
- Who went above and beyond on an assignment this week?
- Who kept a positive attitude during a challenging task or after making a mistake?
- Who recognized the accomplishments of a team member this week?
- Who interacted exceptionally well with a client, or heard great feedback from a client about products/services received?
- Who stepped up to help with a task that was outside of their job description?
Help managers and supervisors to see the positive work and ongoing efforts made by the team.
Step 7: Re-evaluate and adjustYour company culture should always be evolving. Company culture isn’t something you can define once and then never revisit again for years.
Company culture should be looked at regularly for many reasons, such as when the team grows, when the company faces challenges, or even after new leadership is hired. But, even if there are no major changes, make an effort to revisit your company culture least once per year.
Integrate company culture into your marketingYour values and messaging should help form a common thread in your marketing campaign topics and even internal communications.
Talk about your company’s culture when recruitingOne of the simplest ways to see how your culture impacts your company’s success is to tout your culture in recruitment. By giving potential employees a glimpse of day-to-day life at your company, you’re more likely to attract talent who want to work in the same type of environment.
Example careers web page: The Hagerman GroupOn your website, your careers web page can be a great place to share information about your company’s culture to potential new employees. We helped the HR team at Hagerman create a robust careers section for their website that describes their company culture and outlines the benefits of working for their construction company.
Example careers web page: Logansport Memorial HospitalWhen Logansport Memorial Hospital started a new initiative to recruit nurses for their team, we worked with their HR team to create a landing page specifically for hiring nurses and set up digital ads that highlight company culture and other factors that set Logansport Memorial apart from the competition.
Adapting culture initiatives into external marketingOnce you’ve defined those core values and internal goals, you can draw inspiration for your external marketing that aligns with your customer experience. For example, one of our core values at TBH Creative is, “Excellence is our standard.” In our marketing, we incorporate this value in a few ways.
How marketing practices reflect culture initiativesIn our behind-the-scenes marketing processes, everything goes through a multi-step review and approval process. We are consistent in our scheduling, branding, and content themes. If you were to look at our marketing as a whole, you would see a picture that is reliable, smart, and thoughtful—and that is the experience you get from working with our team. Even this blog post missed the mark in its initial iteration, so I reworked it to better represent our values and brand and include more information that could better serve readers.
When preparing blog posts at TBH Creative, we follow a process that aligns with our values of taking pride in our work and having excellence as our standard.
- The writer comes up with a post topic and submits to leadership for approval
- A member of the leadership team provides any feedback on the post topic
- The writer researches the approved post topic and writes a first draft
- Members of the team read and do a peer review of the draft
- The writer makes appropriate revisions to spruce up the post
- The post is reviewed and final preparations are made for publishing
- Social media promotions are planned to help the post reach a wider audience
Ultimately, having a strong company culture helps you attract and keep great employees. Use an authentic voice and make sure to incorporate your company’s culture into your marketing efforts.
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