How to Build and Sustain a Great Corporate Culture

HowtoBuildandSustainaGreatCorporateCultureA strong corporate culture is the stuff of dreams. In today's competitive world, a positive culture influences everything from brand positioning to workforce performance. The real mystery is how organizations create and maintain these outstanding cultures? When one thinks of companies that have demonstrated excellent cultures, it’s easy to think of Apple, Google, Virgin, Zappos, and others that have forged their way to the top. In a recent survey conducted by Entrepreneur in partnership with CultureIQ, 15 of the top American companies with the highest rated corporate cultures were revealed. While we won’t break down the massive survey, we want to pull out factors that we believe to be critical for generating and sustaining great cultures.

What corporate culture isn’t

Before we do, however, we’d like to take a moment to clear something up. Corporate culture is not the same thing as a corporate mission. Although many times these become interchangeable aspects of a successful business, they are not the same. The corporate mission is the set of goals and ideals that a company has to serve customers and reach objectives. The corporate culture is a set of values, beliefs, and behaviors that create community. In other words, a culture is about building a tribe of loyal and engaged employees.

What are the features of top company cultures?

In the study above, we noticed that the top company cultures included elements such as highly visible leaders, employees being treated with respect and value, open and honest feedback, creating meaningful career experiences, transparency, authenticity, and careful employee selection. This is a tall order list! But, look within your own company to see what areas need improvement and what is going well.

Why does culture matter so much to organizations?

This question comes up over and over again. Why should companies place so much emphasis on building great cultures? Best selling author and a leading mind in global future trends, Daniel Burrus, sums it up well when he says, “The competitive advantage that is shaped by your corporate culture cannot be replicated.” Each organization has the opportunity to develop a unique corporate culture that influences everything and everyone around it. From attracting the best candidates to customer acquisition, a culture goes before every interaction. If you are not sure what a positive culture can do for your business, take a moment to consider what damage a negative one can have.

How do we measure engagement with corporate cultures?

In the past, human resource leaders measured corporate cultures by various methods -- such as employee retention rates, the number of complaints that arrived in the office, and feedback given by employees. However, now we have the tools and resources to measure how successful the corporate culture is with real-time employee engagement solutions. In less than a day, we can find out how the culture is impacting employees, customers, and even the community. Trends can be spotted, and we can even take steps to protect the culture when a change event is on the horizon.

Big vs. small companies and their cultures

It’s easy to think about corporate culture leaders as being just from big companies. For example, Sir Richard Branson, who heads up Virgin, has a simple mantra for the successful development of culture, “Treat employees as you would like to be treated.” Yet, what makes him stand out from other leaders is that he is highly visible to his employees, and at the same time he has retained a humble and grateful nature. Small and large companies can learn a lot from Branson.

Building a better corporate culture

Take a look at your own company. How likeable and approachable is your CEO? How are employees viewed and are they treated with respect? Are the values you promote aligned with company behaviors and norms? Are employees looped into the company decisions and given a voice? These are all aspects of a healthy corporate culture. The second element is regularly measuring the culture. Thymometrics has several questions built into our engagement platform, and others can be added specific to the corporate culture. Your culture is a living and breathing organism. Honor it and build a better one for the sake of all your employees and the future success of your company.
Want to find the tools to build and sustain your great  corporate culture? Contact Thymometrics; email, call +1 646 760 9323 (US) or +44 (0) 1223 750 251 (Europe) or visit Image courtesy of Shutterstock