What is Company Culture? | How to build something that lasts
Published at : 04 Dec 2020
What is company culture? Answering this question can be hard, but don't worry! We've answered the culture question for you along with some tips on building culture for your own company.
How do we define culture? Ultimately, company culture is about how we treat each other. When you center your culture efforts around people and how they should be treated, everything else falls into place.
As you communicate your culture, start by defining these three things:
1. Define Your Mission
2. Define Your Vision
3. Define Your Values
How you define and grow your culture should depend people. So go out there and be good to each other.
Life is full of questions. Most questions are small.
“Oh, what's that smell?” “No no. Where do you want to eat?” “Wait, what did you just say?” However, some questions - “so where's grandpa now?” - are big. “What if what we call ghosts are actually aliens from another dimension?” “So do you love me?”
Of all the questions asked in the business world very few are as big as “What is company culture?”. So, what does company culture mean? Well, there are a lot of definitions out there. Some are good. Some are not so good and some are, well, incomplete.
It's pretty common for people to associate company culture with things like benefits or perks. “It's so fun beating you guys.” “Some of us are trying to not work here, OK?” “This is company culture.”
These things can influence culture for sure and hopefully they have a positive impact. But, it's important to recognize that company culture exists independent of those things. “Now this, is what I call company culture.” In other words you can't just give your employees a bunch of free stuff and hope that those things equal culture there are no shortcuts. “I thought you'd never ask.” There are a lot of good definitions for company culture out there.
“Company culture is the set of standards and attitudes that members of an organization have in common.” “Actually it's the shared beliefs and purposes within an organization that's what company culture is.” “No no, you're both close but company culture is the values and behaviors that people in an organization agree on. I didn't give up my semi-annual perm for this.”
Those are all fine answers. Whether you call them values or beliefs or whatever, it is helpful to find the common principles you aspire towards. It helps make sense of your culture and your people. But even these definitions ultimately fall short. “What?” These definitions are close but there's something very important that these types of definitions forget. “Just spit it out skinny boy! What is company culture?” Company culture is ultimately about how we treat each other. In fancy marketing language company culture is the summation of how people within an organization interact with each other and work together. Not bad. Okay, really what a company believes or values isn't as important as how they act. Now it's still important to talk about your culture. In fact as you communicate your culture, may I suggest you do that by defining these three things.
First, define your mission. In other words, what is your purpose beyond just making money?
Second, define your vision. What is it you want to accomplish in the long term?
Third, define your values. What are the fundamental beliefs you share on how people should act and be treated?
Defining these three things will help you communicate your culture to others. Remember company culture talk is useless unless you walk the walk and no amount of brilliantly worded mission statements or fun perks can make up for a genuine culture where people are treated with respect. He's joking don't. When you center your culture efforts around people and how they should be treated. Everything else falls into place. This is what the best companies do. They know that when you focus on people it's clear what behaviors and values and beliefs and beliefs are truly important. Focusing on people helps you know which perks and benefits are actually worthwhile to offer. You know who to hire since you can look for candidates who already treat people the way you do. And on the flip side you know who to well let go. We can go on and on discussing company culture because there's so much to it but the point is this cultures are made up of people. So how you define it and grow your culture should depend on people. How should your people treat each other to be happy and engaged. How should your people work together to be fulfilled and successful. Answer those questions first however you define your culture. If you make sure your people have the opportunities to grow professionally and personally. Chances are everything will work out. Now go out there and be good to each other.
“Mom what's company culture like in heaven?” “You sure you wanna know kid?”
“What do you think?” “Never.” “Yeah, figures. You think he knows that he's kissing an alien from the Gremulon galaxy?” “What is wrong with you?!”
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