Building a strong culture may not guarantee business success, but neglecting to hinders a company’s chance for long-term sustainability. While “culture” most likely won’t appear in your annual report, or as a line item on your balance sheet, it’s the glue that holds a great firm together. In reality, it’s one of the most impactful “hidden” assets a business can hold.
Here are five keys to creating a winning culture:
1. Develop a culture deck.
A culture deck is often a series of slides using short phrases, images or examples to describe the behavior of an organization. Although it is helpful to gain inspiration from the culture decks of successful businesses like Netflix and Hubspot, business owners with the help of their leadership team should develop one unique to their firm. Then, share it with everyone on your team, from top execs to new hires.
Not only will your employees enjoy the transparency of an outlined culture, you will be able to reference the detailed document when making important decisions moving forward.
2. Don’t accommodate everyone.
Successful work cultures exist in many different forms. In fact, they succeed because they are unique, not in spite of this. Attempting to create an all-inclusive culture fit for any personality often leads to an uncomfortable work environment for everyone involved.
For example, the company I work for believes in function over flash. We spend money where it will have maximum impact on the business and our people. You won’t find fancy offices or new furniture. There is nothing wrong with spending money on workplace aesthetics; it’s just not our culture. We realize this eliminates some potential hires and that’s okay. Actually, that’s the point. When you determine what culture is right for your business, stick to it.
3. Let your leadership team show the way.
To develop a truly great culture, there can only be one model. This means no special rules or exceptions for any subgroup, including top executives. As such, your leadership team should consist of the strongest cultural fits. Often the faces of the company, they will show others how to live the corporate culture every day.
4. Create a disciplined hiring process.
When businesses begin growing at a rapid pace, it’s easy to justify hiring candidates with impressive resumes or recommendations without first considering cultural fit. Under pressure, some may even ignore obvious signs of a potential cultural clash just to get the hiring job done.
Even in a time crunch, cultural fit is never become an optional component in the interview process. Leaders should partner with their hiring managers to develop a list of necessary questions to identify suitable hires. Develop the discipline to always do this and reinforce its importance to all involved in the onboarding process.
5. Recognize those who live your culture.
The most common mistake in regards to company culture is defining it, only to soon forget about it. If culture is important , and it should be, address it often. During our company’s regular team meetings, for instance, we often publicly recognize individuals, teams or units that exemplify who we are as a company and what we aspire to be. This positive reinforcement is an easy, consistent way to keep culture top of mind.