Joining the Culture Club: How to build and establish a successful company culture

People Science Reimagining Talent Acquisition

You’re a prospective employee, eagerly (and perhaps nervously) waiting for someone to enter the room to interview you about a position you’ve always wanted. A notepad is out to make sure you take detailed notes and the phone has been turned OFF. You’ve rehearsed answers to yourself beforehand and have done so to the point where people start to wonder if you’ve picked up the habit of talking about yourself in third person. “Just remain calm, collected, and confident, and you’ll be fine” you tell yourself. Then the door opens and in comes the hiring manager and all of what you just told yourself goes out the window. The hiring manager sits down, introduces themselves, makes some small talk and asks you all of the standard questions. Questions are asked about your work history, why you want the job, your skill set, accomplishments, weaknesses. The benefits (both literally and figuratively) of the job are explained as well as objectives and goals for your position. Everything seems to be going well so far although one prominent question sticks out in your mind; what’s it like to work here?

Enter the reality of having an established company culture.

In the past, company culture was more of an afterthought but in todays world, how can companies differentiate themselves from one another? What’s that one extra thing that makes your company better than others?

Here are items that can create a successful company culture:

Establishing core values (i.e. commonalities, a credo, a mantra, mission statement, etc.)

When trying to create a successful company culture, everyone has to be on the same page; in other words, everyone has to buy into what you’re saying. My company has a set list of commonalities that we look for in potential employees and currently have with our existing employees. Although everyones personality is different, we all relate and live these commonalities. Having an overlying message that employees understand and will adhere to can really tie everyone together and enhance a company culture.

Setting Expectations/Open Communication

Setting challenging, yet realistic expectations, will make employees work their hardest and to their full potential; if the expectations are too low, employees will get bored. If they are unrealistic (note, I didn’t say difficult), then employees will become frustrated. When setting these expectations, you often have to ask yourself “would I or could I meet these expectations?” With that being said, it gives new and current employees a framework to work towards and beyond.

Projecting a Positive Attitude

Note the word “projecting”; sometimes, you have one of those days where nothing seems to go right. You’re angry, upset, and want nothing more than to go back home and not have to deal with anything at the workplace. Although it is healthy to let out your frustrations, we all have a job to do and we can’t run away every time there is a problem. When you have a positive mindset, you’re projecting a positive attitude, which, at the very least, influence your team members directly around you. The concept of having a positive attitude is especially important around newer team and department members; how do you think they would feel if within their first couple of weeks, all they saw and heard was negativity? It’s important to project positivity, even if the circumstances dictate otherwise.

Becoming Selfless

When writing this article, a quote came to mind; “we rise by lifting others”. The quote by Robert Ingersoll is concise, yet sends a great message, especially in the workplace. For example, in my company, information is often shared amongst coworkers, we cover work for someone when they are out, and provide advice to those looking. Whether you’re a small company or a large corporate conglomerate, this message rings through and through. In some industries (including mine) it can be tough to think of others in a competitive environment; no one said it was easy, but remember, you would want help if you were asking for it. A company culture can really thrive if the employees are engaged and ready to help.

A True Belief in the Company/Organization

With all that was said above, this is really the point that ties everything together. If you don’t believe in the company you work for or it’s mission, then chances are that your productivity will suffer and your effectiveness on the job will decrease as time goes on. I understand that having a job is a major mean to living a happy and healthy existence, but working without a true belief in what you do and what your company will ultimately take away from my other previous points. A negative attitude will start to become apparent and you won’t adhere to your core values, and you probably won’t even set any expectations. Overall, you’ll eventually phase yourself out of your position and the company, whether it’s on your accord or the companies.

So the next time you’re thinking about company culture, ask yourself “would I want to work here?”

By Joe Griesbach | People Science Senior Talent Advisor


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