Small business employees working around a table

6 Things to Consider When Building Your Company Culture

Company culture is not just something that makes your staff feel good about where they work. And, it’s not about putting ping pong tables in the breakroom or hosting an annual summer cookout, although those things can help you shape your culture. According to Investopedia, “corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.” Your corporate culture is how things get done in your workplace, and it should motivate your team to be more productive.

It will be reflected in every aspect of your business – from your dress code to hiring decisions to customer relationships. Your culture can develop organically as your staff grows. But if you want to ensure everyone’s on the same page, define it early. Although each company has a unique culture, the Harvard Business Review has identified six common components of winning company cultures.

1. Vision

When you’re defining your corporate culture, start with your goals for the future, which you can convey through a mission statement. This will be the driving force behind every decision you and your team make and will give your company purpose. Learn more about how to create a mission statement for your small business.

2. Values

Your company’s values or beliefs should be actionable and make it easy for your employees to make decisions.

Consider posting your values in your office so your team can revisit them when making a difficult decision.

Google also posts their values, or “Ten things we know to be true,” online so their consumers can verify that they are living up to their vision:

  1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
  3. Fast is better than slow.
  4. Democracy on the web works.
  5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  6. You can make money without doing evil.
  7. There’s always more information out there.
  8. The need for information crosses all borders.
  9. You can be serious without a suit.
  10. Great just isn’t good enough.

Google’s values clearly put their customers first and guide employees to conduct business honestly and openly. Their team members can ask themselves if their decision will put the customer first and abide by Google’s “Ten things.” This helps them practice the company’s values.

3. Practices

Your beliefs will impact what your staff does and how they do things. If you practice what you preach, your employees will follow your example and help create a corporate culture focused on your company’s vision and values.

For example, if you value your customers, you have to make sure that your company regularly exceeds expectations and provides exceptional service.

4. People

Your team should share and embrace those values to create a coherent company culture. Because of this, when you hire someone new, focus on finding people who align with your vision. By focusing on cultural fit during the hiring process, you’ll find workers who enjoy their job and coworkers, which will cause them to stick with your company for longer.

Read also: 13 Interview Questions to Ensure a Cultural Fit

5. Narrative

You and your company have a unique story so help it shape your culture.

Coca-Cola celebrates its story to the point that they’ve built the World of Coke museum in Atlanta, Georgia to share their history with their customers. This encourages growth within Coca-Cola because they can look back and see how far they’ve grown and changed over the years.

6. Place

Your office space can influence your culture, so make sure that it reflects what you find most important. For example, if you value collaboration, you may lean more toward creating an office with an open floorplan.

Read also: 4 Tips for Matching Your Workplace to Your Culture