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Updated Jan 03, 2024

Creating a Strong Company Culture: How to Do It Right

Workers thrive in cultures that encourage support, personal growth and open communication. Learn how to create a strong company culture.

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Skye Schooley, Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
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Company culture directly affects employee recruitment, retention and turnover. Workers thrive in cultures that encourage support, personal growth and open communication – but this isn’t always easy to achieve. Keeping everyone on the same page can be difficult when you have a diverse company with numerous employees. However, there are ways to address this issue and ensure workers perform with the same goals and values.

What is company culture?

Company culture refers to how an organization and its employees behave. It is defined by the shared values, behaviors, visions and perceptions among the organization. It is perpetuated by the way employees and leadership treat one another. A strong company culture is easy to identify, even from an outsider. However, company culture can slowly change over time, based on how employees interact and how guidelines and principles are enforced.

How do you create a strong company culture?

Although company culture is based on the actions of the entire organization, your HR manager or someone in your HR department will likely be in charge of maintaining it. The tips outlined below are simple yet essential techniques to engage and retain the best employees. Follow them to create a strong company culture.

1. Establish and promote core values.

The first step in creating a solid company culture is to establish your core values. These should align with your company’s vision statement and mission. Think of what type of values you might be known for, and pick those that resonate with you.

Once your core values are established, bake them into the processes of every department and team so they are readily apparent. Everyone in the company needs to understand and respect its principles to ensure everyone is on the same page, regardless of their position or status.

Leaders should practice these values to set an example and remind everyone what’s important to the company instead of getting sidetracked. Values provide a common ground for all workers. Some examples of core values include:

  • Teamwork
  • Personal accountability
  • Respect
  • Support
  • Hard work
  • Honesty
  • Courage
  • Education

Every organization needs an employee value proposition (EVP), which outlines the benefits and rewards of the company. Your EVP should match your company’s core values and focus on employee satisfaction and appraisal.

2. Keep it personal.

Promoting personal development and success creates a positive company culture. You should focus on individual talents and goals to keep employees happy and inspired. Employees who are engaged are more likely to perform efficiently and be motivated. However, according to a report by Gallup, only one-third of employees are engaged at work, while 18 percent are actively disengaged.

Make sure to be supportive of your workers and their performance. As a leader, ensure your team members feel their work is valued. This will reduce voluntary turnover and improve employee retention.

Knowing your employees on a personal level also helps them to feel more comfortable and encourages them to ask questions, give feedback and contribute to the team. You can be friendly with your workers while still holding them accountable and maintaining a professional relationship.

3. Prioritize your employees.

Make your employees a priority and invest in their well-being. This includes not only what you offer in terms of employee benefits packages, but also the way your leadership treats your staff. Make it known that your organization treats all employees equally and respectfully; anything else will not be tolerated. When you take care of your employees, they will take care of you.

Additionally, your employees have personal lives and should not feel pressured to stay late or be available for contact after hours. Overwhelming them impacts the quality of their work, which ultimately affects your company’s bottom line. It’s difficult for workers to perform efficiently if they are stressed or anxious, struggling to achieve a work-life balance.

Did You Know?Did you know
Offering a positive work-life balance can improve your employee turnover rate by 25 percent, according to CompareComp.

4. Practice open communication.

If you are not communicating clearly with your employees and they don’t know about core values or company changes, your business is at risk for many issues. For instance, employees may feel indifferent or passionless because they aren’t involved in major company decisions.

Without communication, employees also won’t know how they’re performing or if they need to improve in certain areas. This can cause confidence issues, and employees may feel too timid to take risks or be creative. They may also feel intimidated when speaking up. Instead, they keep quiet when they want to pitch an idea or ask questions about a task.

Avoid these problems by speaking with your employees. Be clear about your expectations and any information your workers should know. Also, hold meetings regularly to keep everyone updated and on the same page. Make sure to encourage questions or ideas from employees; no one should be treated like their voice isn’t important.

5. Hire the right people.

Hiring the right people can drastically impact your organization and company culture. This is because your people represent your business and perpetuate the type of culture that is created.

If you are just starting to build your company culture, hire individuals that you think best represent the culture you want to achieve. Once you have an established company culture, finding the right people to match your culture will become a little easier.

FYIDid you know
A bad hire can cost your business 30 percent or more of your employee's first-year earnings.

6. Use the right HR software.

There are several top HR software solutions that can simplify many HR processes, but some are especially useful for developing a solid company culture. For example, they can help create a seamless onboarding process, administer competitive employee benefits, and track employee performance, engagement and satisfaction.

One great option for this is GoCo. Users can develop hiring and onboarding workflows to automate their recruitment process. With features like customizable offer letters and onboarding task assignments, you can be sure that new hires get started on the right foot. Read our GoCo review to learn more.

Another top HR solution for building company culture is BambooHR. The software has advanced performance management tools that allow you to take the pulse on how each employee is doing. You can create employee goals, give and receive employee feedback, and track overall success. It even offers satisfaction (eNPS) reports that provide insights into how employees feel about your organization. If you have a low eNPS score, it may be time to reevaluate your company culture. Read our BambooHR review to learn more.

7. Understand the culture yourself (and encourage feedback).

You should especially be aware of your interpretation of your company’s culture and how you communicate that to your team. Here are some questions to ask to understand and build your culture:

  • What is your current company culture?
  • What are your company’s values?
  • How do you communicate your vision for organizational culture?
  • What kind of people do you want?
  • How do you want employees to grow?

8. Be honest with yourself. If there are any gaps, address them with your team.

On the other end, to know how your workers are accepting your company’s culture, you need to offer ways for them to provide feedback. Ask these same questions to employees to ensure they’re on the same page as you, and question them on their satisfaction at work, what they like about their company’s culture and what they think needs improvement.

You can gauge their feedback through direct confrontation (individually or in group meetings), surveys and an anonymous tip box.

Managers should also give feedback to employees to clear up any misunderstandings or possible issues. This comes back to open communication, which is overall the most important asset of a company.

TipBottom line
One powerful way to receive honest feedback is through anonymous employee surveys.

9. Lead by example.

One of the most important keys to creating a strong company culture is to lead by example. You and your business leaders must embody the company culture that you are trying to create. If you do so, employees will follow your lead. Your leadership will teach them what your company values are and what type of behavior is and isn’t acceptable.

Why is a strong company culture important?

Company culture is something that is cultivated to reflect your core values and beliefs. Although it requires some thought and nurturing, a strong company culture benefits you and your employees. Here are a few of the most common reasons why:

  • It defines your identity and reputation. Company culture helps spell out your internal and external brand identity. It highlights what is most important to you, and it signifies to your employees, customers, clients, potential recruits and all key stakeholders that you operate in a particular manner. [Read related article: Your Reputation Is Your Reality: How to Strengthen Your Company’s Public Image]
  • It helps to attract the best employees. According to Jobvite, 52 percent of workers think that company culture is just as important as ever, and 23 percent even said that company values and culture were a top influence in whether they would accept a job offer. Additionally, having a strong company culture makes it easier for job seekers to realize if you are the right fit for them, which in turn can streamline your recruitment process.
  • It improves employee engagement. When employees feel like they are in a safe and inclusive environment, they are more open to participating in team activities and speaking up in meetings. To improve your employee engagement, create a culture that fosters trust and communication.
  • It improves employee productivity. When employees care about the organization they work for, they tend to be more productive in their work. They give more effort because the results matter to them. 
TipBottom line
To maximize employee productivity, develop a company culture that encourages formal and informal feedback, and recognizes and rewards high performance.
  • It improves employee retention. The SHRM found that 9 out of 10 workers with a poor company culture have thought about quitting, compared with 72 percent of workers who rate their company culture as average and 32 percent who rate their culture as good. When employees connect with your company culture, they often feel more compelled to stick around longer. Not only can a high employee retention rate speak volumes about your culture, but it is also great for your bottom line.
author image
Skye Schooley, Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Skye Schooley is a dedicated business professional who is especially passionate about human resources and digital marketing. For more than a decade, she has helped clients navigate the employee recruitment and customer acquisition processes, ensuring small business owners have the knowledge they need to succeed and grow their companies. In recent years, Schooley has enjoyed evaluating and comparing HR software and other human resources solutions to help businesses find the tools and services that best suit their needs. With a degree in business communications, she excels at simplifying complicated subjects and interviewing business vendors and entrepreneurs to gain new insights. Her guidance spans various formats, including newsletters, long-form videos and YouTube Shorts, reflecting her commitment to providing valuable expertise in accessible ways.
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