Working on building a solid company culture is an essential topic amongst our Executive Coaching clients. And it’s not an easy task. Not only do we have to build a culture from the ground up, but it also needs to be maintained as we grow and progress, adding people to the team. Simultaneously, employees seek out roles in companies that care about their employees’ well-being, rather than just settling for any position that pays their bills.
Our clients and the senior teams are placing much greater importance on company culture In business today. We know from our work with companies how important it is to people that they enjoy their careers and the environment in which they work. In fact, on average, one-third of a person’s life is spent at work. So, when people began to realize the insane amount of hours they were putting into their careers, they began to search for a way to make it better.
One of these people is Tony Hsieh, former CEO of Zappos. Despite most companies putting their customers and clients first, Hsieh firmly believes that quality company culture determines all other success that comes to a company. It’s the employees that matter because they are the people working hard to build the brand. Those are the people worth keeping happy.
Hsieh is not the only one placing an emphasis on the quality of company culture. Many of our CEOs and leaders have been fighting for the same cause. Now, company culture, which is the shared ethos of the company, encompassing all of its values, beliefs, and behaviors under one umbrella is vital for not only the satisfaction of the employees but also for the success of the company. Company culture can help to solidify the mission statement of the company and get everyone involved on the same page and working productively towards common goals.
Common Types of Company Culture
Good company culture isn’t just one thing. It cannot be defined in just one way and that’s because every team is unique and what may work for one team, may not work for another.
However, there are four common types of company culture that leaders tend to gravitate to that have a high success rate:
- Team-Oriented: In a team-oriented company culture all team members are encouraged to share ideas and participate in decision-making. This is a collaborative environment in which team members feel comfortable communicating with each other
- Traditional: In a traditional company culture there is a hierarchy that is known by all team members. Everyone has a clear duty with clear expectations. In these work environments, team members often work on their own behind closed doors so there is not as much socializing.
- Freestyle: In a freestyle company culture everything is much more free-flowing. Roles are flexible and team members tend to pitch in with tasks that aren’t traditionally theirs. With freestyle company culture, there is a lot of self-organization, as well as communicating on different platforms. Transparency is key for communication and efficiency in these work environments.
- Elite: In an elite company culture innovation is encouraged and promoted at every level. Elite company culture is driven to take big risks and make changes in the market. Their dream employees have the same mentality and do not mind working 60-70 hours a week. Usually, elite company cultures opt for casual dress codes to allow workers to feel comfortable and also encourage them to move around freely for brainstorming sessions, conference calls, etc.
Now, that you know what types of company cultures there are, it’s time to decide what is right for your company and work progressively towards attaining it.
Define Your Values and Make Changes
The first step in working at creating your ideal company culture is to define your values, your company’s values, and your team’s values. Do they all align?
If not, then that’s the first obstacle to overcome. Your company and your team should also align with your vision and values. All parties need to be on the same page if the company is going to move forward effectively.
- Why does the company exist?
- What are the company’s values?
- Where do we see the company in the future?
These three simple questions will help you to truly define the umbrella which you, your company, and your team are working under.
If your company already has a mission statement in place, then that’s a great place to begin to look to for direction. However, if you’re leading a start-up or managing a small company, then a mission statement may need to be drawn up. Take this as an opportunity to write one while creating a company culture that reflects the goals of your company.
If you happen to find that there are values that are in your current mission statement that do not hold true or do not resonate with your team or the overall company, it may be wise to reevaluate and make changes in order to solidify a deeper and stronger company culture.
What Values Matter?
There is a huge list of values that can matter to a company, and you may be tempted to throw all of them into a single mission statement. Although that concept may make your company look good on paper, confusion can happen amongst the team while trying to do everything ‘the best’ all at once. It’s just too much for any team member to focus on. That’s why picking just a couple of key values for your team to remember works best and it gives a more clear definition of what your company stands for.
Here are some common values that companies often utilize to design their ideal company cultures:
- Flexibility and Adaptability: Team members that have the ability to switch from role to role and pitch in with other tasks that may not be traditionally theirs. Team members who work under this value are encouraged to go-with-the-flow and remain open to change.
- Great Communication: Companies that focus on great communication want team members to be fully transparent, have respect, and show kindness to their teammates.
- Passion: Many teams want employees who are passionate and having fun with their work.
- Helpful: A lot of companies encourage team members to help one another and collaborate in their work.
- Take Initiative: Taking initiative can be a lead value for a team. In this company culture, people are self-motivated and take the lead on tasks and projects.
- Positive Attitude: A positive attitude is a must-have for teams, so many company cultures are centered around this quality.
- Focus on Client: When clients are present in everyday company culture, making them a first priority is a no-brainer for the success of the company.
Hiring for Company Culture
Now, that we have broken down the common types of company culture and the qualities that are often encouraged in good company culture, it’s time to learn how to hire according to your well-designed company culture.
It’s obvious that the type of people you hire onto your team will help to define it, so going into the hiring process with an already established company culture in mind will help to make the process go smoothly.
To ensure that you are getting the right people on your team from the start, follow these steps:
- Check Their Values: It’s important to hire people whose values align with that of the teams. If they cannot adopt your values, they probably won’t add to your team’s efficiency. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
- Conduct Multiple Interviews: It’s impossible to get to know someone thoroughly in the matter of a thirty-minute interview, especially if you are covering everything you need to know for hiring purposes. Sharing the interview process with your team will help to ensure that you find your ideal match. For example, you could cover their experience with the tasks they’ll be conducting, while another interviewer covers their cultural fit within the team. Having more than one interviewer also allows you to see how your team interacts with the new addition.
- Look At Attitude: Especially in a start-up environment or a small business setting, attitude should be prioritized over skill. If your hiring candidate has ten years of experience but has a poor and non-collaborative attitude, then it probably isn’t a good fit for your team-oriented company culture.
- Are They Fitting In Or Adding Something New?: A lot of leaders make the mistake of hiring people who are just live the rest of their team members. It doesn’t sound too detrimental, but by doing this, leaders are missing out on a chance to add a beneficial addition to the team and further diversify their company culture.
Driving Culture Through Reminders
Putting all of the company’s core values and goals down into a mission statement is not the end of building company culture. In fact, company culture is a living breathing entity that never stops building, adapting, and developing. So, because of that, it always needs the attention of you and your team.
There are a number of ways to reinforce company values and culture. Some of these methods are done annually, monthly, or weekly, while others are done on an everyday basis. A simple wall-hanging in the office depicting the company’s mission statement would be a hands-off method to give a gentle reminder of a team’s values.
However, again, you can’t just write it down and hang it up, you need to put in some work as a leader to drive company culture. Many companies have annual awards that are given to team members who illuminate their values. This can be an incentive for team members.
Other companies take more hands-on everyday approaches when it comes to enforcing good company culture. For example, if one of the company’s core values is to always help, then a team might get together to cook for a team member’s family during a tough time in their life. Or if a team prioritizes being adaptable, a leader might make a good example by jumping into a task they do not usually handle in order to help a team member.
All of the little actions leaders and team members do and the reactions they have throughout their day-to-day in the workplace, help to establish the company culture. By promoting the core values transparently on a regular basis, the company culture will be exemplified and understood by both company insiders and outsiders, upping team satisfaction and contributing to the success of a business.
- What Is Company Culture?
Company culture is the shared ethos in the company, which encompasses its values, beliefs, and behaviors.
- What Are Common Types of Company Culture?
The common types of company culture are team-oriented, traditional, freestyle, and elite.
- What Should You Ask Yourself When Defining Core Values?
Three questions you should ask yourself when defining core values are: Why does the company exist? What are the company’s values? And where do we see the company in the future?
- What Are Some Common Values That Matter to Companies?
Some common values that matter to companies are flexibility, adaptability, good communication, passion, helpfulness, people who take initiative, positive attitude, and client-focused service.
- How Do You Hire For Company Culture?
To hire for company culture, you should make sure the candidate’s values align with the company. Multiple interviews should be conducted. The candidate’s attitude should be prioritized over their skill level and they should add something to the company’s cultural dynamic.
- How Do You Reinforce Company Culture?
Reinforcing company culture can be done in many ways from picking up a shift for a co-worker to awarding a team member a prize to going above-and-beyond when someone on the team is down on their luck. Everything a leader or team member does should be aligned with the company’s core values.