Company Culture: How to Create and Cultivate it

Last week we touched on how managers can motivate employees – this week we’ll share some insights about company culture – what is it, how is it developed, and how to keep it up within your company.

What exactly is company culture? In essence, it is the common values, purpose, and beliefs of an organization. One place to start looking for company culture is your organization’s mission and vision statements. These statements are the motivating factors that drive all decisions within an organization. To understand this further, let’s take a look at one of FullStack’s client companies, IndyHub. Their mission statement reads: Our mission is to grow, engage and empower a community of 20-and 30-somethings who are meaningfully connected to Indy and invested in its future. This short statement shapes their programs, initiatives, organizational management, etc. – it is the key to their organization. If your company is still working on developing a basis for culture, consider these questions:

  • What motivates decisions at your organization?

  • What behaviors are rewarded?

  • What benefits does your company bring to their clients or customers?

Now that you’ve thought further about the basis of company culture – how can you develop it within your organization? The primary advice we give to our clients is to name 3-5 cultural values they strive for, and then name three behaviors for how each value is practically exampled. For example at FullStack, one of our values is “Be Direct.”  One of the behaviors is “Clear and actionable communication and addressing conflict directly.”  We give each other a license to hold us accountable when we are not direct.

Beyond accountability to cultural values as an organization, there are many ways to build culture. One way is through group activities. These could be after-hour events (baseball games, happy hour, etc.) or volunteer opportunities. Sharing in nonwork-related activities and volunteerism can bring teams together on a different level. Another way to develop company culture is through praise. Celebrate the achievements of individual employees who exemplify your organization’s beliefs. Set team goals and reward the group when those goals are reached. Have a celebration when the organization hits a milestone. Marking occasions that relate back to your company’s mission reiterates its importance and cultivates the company culture. 

Developing a company culture can shape your hiring process, promotions, professional development, organizational policies, etc. Understanding the vision and what drives your company should be the start of your company culture. Once that’s set in place, finding ways to cultivate it through shared activities and events, as well as relevant celebrations, will bring it to the forefront for your employees and make it a regular part of your organization.


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