Companies, especially start-ups, have begun to establish company cultures that embody their founding principles. These companies even base hiring decisions on candidates being a fit for their culture, often placing experience and qualifications as a secondary priority.
Corporate culture has become so important that it can be the reason why new hires choose to stay and grow within a company. If the company is not a good fit, a new hire will leave quickly, taking with them the time, energy and money spent on training. Many established companies already have a set company culture, but start-ups struggle with creating their own unique identity.
Culture should reflect core principles
The first step when creating a company culture is to decide upon your core principles and philosophies. Whether those principles include integrity, courage, kindness or creativity, these influences and principles can direct and become the foundation for your company culture.
Netflix has been cited multiple times for its unique business environment. The CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, explains that leadership cannot carry out a company’s core principles alone, but instead must rely upon employees to embody and represent those qualities. No matter how strongly and avidly a company claims they believe in integrity or honesty, customers won’t believe those claims if they do not experience them through their encounters with employees.
Company culture should be inclusive
A company culture cannot be created and maintained by a single person. Company culture, by its own definition, is a collective thought process. Though it is tempting for a CEO or president to try to shape culture alone, the entire company must be on board and included.
Zappos, an online shoe store, has also been praised for their corporate culture, which is a reflection of their highly-esteemed customer service. Every year, Zappos asks employees to write up how they wish the company culture would develop and progress.
Establish a sense of community in and out of the office
One of the best known corporate cultures in the U.S. is Google. It is known for allowing employees to set their own hours, buying a dinosaur skeleton that sits outside HQ, afternoon tea, an annual employee ski trip, and more. A company that promotes “play time,” happy hour, or even a companywide exercise program allows employees to be confident that they are a part of the company – not just a cog in the machine. This collectivity means happier employees and establishes loyalty toward the company.
Provide benefits that matter
Offering benefits beyond the basics might seem impossible to do as a start-up. As a new company, you might not be able to offer unlimited sick time, a free health care center, and subsidized child care for working mothers. But, there are other ways to provide benefits, such as allowing employees to work from home on certain days, allowing them to bring their dogs to work, or creating a work/life balance. Ask your employees to see what will benefit them most, before you make any choices.
Invest in employees
New hires take a leap of faith when they accept a new job. They hope that there will be opportunities to learn new things and advance. Companies take a leap of faith that their new employees are as driven and experienced as they initially claim.
Many companies have an initial interview based on experience and skills, and then they move on to a separate interview process that assesses the potential new hire’s personality to see if they fit the overall company culture. By investing in new employees, companies can reduce turnover rates and increase productivity.
Even if you’re not just starting out, your corporate culture is important, and it starts with how well you execute employee engagement best practices. The one primary recommendation for all corporate cultures is to listen to your employees and ask them questions. Contact NBRI for a complimentary consultation to begin the process of improving your company today.