Company culture is a key part of the employee experience. It influences the work environment and team dynamics, impacting how your employees feel about working at your company. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to build your company culture, as different types of people thrive in different types of cultures. One person may prefer a very detail-oriented company that carefully executes projects. Another person may prefer a fast-paced company with some room for experimentation and possible failure. The important thing is that you define your culture so you can attract, engage, and retain the right talent.
It would be a mistake to let your company culture develop organically, as it may not align with your mission and vision. Think about the kind of company you want to build, and identify your core values. Those will be the backbone of your company culture. Use them to drive business decisions, hiring decisions, and your employee experience.
For example, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Their core values — be bold, focus on impact, move fast, be open, and build social value — guide them toward achieving that mission. With the second value, focus on impact, employees are encouraged to spend time on the projects and tasks that will solve the most important problems. The third value, move fast, encourages employees to solve those problems quickly and without fear of making mistakes so they can move on to the next important problem.
Make your company’s core values uniquely your own and integrate them into your employee experience. This will allow you to build a company culture that helps you attract, engage, and retain the talent you need to accomplish your mission.
Share your company culture and values with both your employees and the outside world.
Review them during your employee onboarding process. Post them on your office walls. Discuss them during all-hands meetings. Publicly recognize employees who exemplify your values so others might emulate their behavior. Discuss how employees live up to them during manager check ins and performance reviews to reinforce desired behaviors. The more you discuss your culture and values at your company, the more ingrained they become in employees’ minds.
Many candidates, customers, partners, and investors are interested in learning about your company culture and values as well. Promote them on your website, career site, blog, Glassdoor page, and social media profiles. Talk about them throughout your interview process. Work them into customer and investor presentations. Promote them through media opportunities and speaking engagements. This can help you get the word out so you can attract culture-fit candidates, who are more likely to live your values and stay at your company long-term. Many customers, partners, and investors will also be interested in doing business with a company that has shared values.
Your company culture and values can only live on if your employees allow it.
Let’s say, for instance, your company values attention to detail. If you hire former Facebook employees who prefer to move fast, regardless of the consequences, your company culture could change. This could be extremely problematic in a medical device company that requires attention to detail to ensure customer safety. Most culture changes aren’t quite so dire, but they could still be problematic if they interfere with your company’s mission.
Your interview process should focus on culture-fit just as much as skill-fit to ensure that you hire the right people for your company. Behavioral-based interviewing can be useful in sussing out the qualities you most want to see in an employee. For instance, a company that values attention to detail might ask the candidate to tell them about a time they noticed a mistake in their work, how they found it, and how they addressed it. This can give you an idea of how the candidate would pay attention to details at your company.
Your company culture is an important part of your employee experience. Be intentional about building your culture so you can use it to attract, engage, and retain the right talent to accomplish your company mission. Then keep your culture on track by promoting it externally, reinforcing it internally, and hiring the right people.