Building Company Culture: Steps for Every Small Business


Company culture, more than a buzzword, has become one of the deciding factors job candidates consider before taking the plunge for a new job. Candidates, no longer limited to a single position for forty years, have become increasingly interested in company culture, even over potential earnings. Knowing that we spend about a third of our lives at work, these candidates have changed the ways that companies attract and retain new employees.

For some companies, their culture is reflected in more than just HR practices, but also in “amenities” like yoga and massage breaks, mountains of snacks, and generous parental or sick leave policies. Even if your company doesn’t have the operating budget of Google and Facebook, company culture is more than trendy ploys offering “bread and circuses.” Whether you’re a small family business, a startup, or more established, here are some suggestions on how to build the right company culture:

  1. What does your company value?

Culture is always set from the top down. If your employees don’t think you embody the culture that you preach as your own, it can quickly become meaningless, so it is important to make sure your culture is authentic and it is something to which you can commit. Here are some suggestions on how to identify the core values of your company’s culture:

  • What’s your company’s mission?
  • What does your company believe?
  • What differentiates your company from competitors?
  • Does your company value internal relationships? Organization? Integrity? Creativity? Communication?

Once you’ve determined your values, it’s important to live by them, and over time, even evolve them as your company grows.

  1. Align your hiring practices with your values

Building a culture for a new company is often more straightforward than adjusting an established one. Ingrained habits are hard to undo once they’ve been in regular practice, but adjusting your hiring practices and developing transparency can help you to better identify the right fit for your team. Here are some suggestions on how to improve hiring practices:

  • Invite colleagues from different company levels to interview candidates to cover more ground. In this way, you’ll learn more about your job candidate through an array of interview questions and will ensure that more of your team has contact with a potential hire to determine fit.
  • Create clear onboarding processes. The onboarding process is an opportunity to not only get new employees up to speed on best practices, but it also introduces them to fellow employees, building comradery. Offer plenty of onboarding reference materials, but also frequent, small workshop environments in which new employees can receive guidance, have some fun, while also feeling free to bring up questions or ideas. Culture should be a consistent theme throughout onboarding.
  • Prioritize transparency in the hiring process. Be clear to both existing employees and interested candidates about why you are hiring for a position and the values of the company that you expect them to support. Without addressing culture head-on during the hiring process, you are at risk of hiring someone who isn’t the right fit.

It is crucial to align your hiring process with your culture to ensure that new employees are supporting and enhancing it, where a bad fit would undermine it.

  1. Find new ways to reinforce your values

Creating a company culture is about more than offering perks, it’s about making your employees feel like they are contributing to something greater than driving revenue. There are a number of ways you can embody your defined values while also rewarding the employees who support them:

  • Recognize employees who perform well and exemplify your culture through peer nominations.
  • Volunteer together as a company towards a cause that aligns with your company’s mission.
  • Offer lunch workshops that support aspects of your culture that you’d like to highlight.
  • Find new ways to measure if your company culture is effectively engaging talent. Trust people to do the job you hired them for.

However, you choose to shape your business culture, feel free to adjust and renegotiate it over time as you learn what works and what doesn’t for your team. Your business culture may also evolve over time to include new ideas or principles, so don’t limit yourself to your original plan. Whether you’re just getting started or your business is long established, create a business culture that’s true to your mission.

Consider these insights on how to establish a business culture for your online business from Clothing Shop Online!

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