Companies like Google and Facebook are widely regarded for their vibrant company culture, and while these reputations may sound like Silicon Valley clichés at this point, data has shown a connection between a great culture and net profits.

Building and maintaining a company culture is particularly important when a company starts growing beyond its initial staff. As a company grows, it becomes more difficult for communication and drawing consensus among employees. By establishing a core culture, people have a basic framework to operate within.

It should come naturally

When trying to establish a company culture, think back to your own personal past experiences. What did you like about previous cultures you worked in? What was ineffective or counterproductive? If a default culture has been established, figure out what is working and what isn’t.

After assessing your past experiences, figure out the aspects of your own personality you would like to incorporate into the company culture. Do you have a passion for details? Do you prefer a hands-off management style? Are you someone who likes to collaborate as part of a team? Once you figure out the soft skills that come to you naturally, start thinking about how to incorporate them into your company.

Steps to take

Building a company culture is more than just foosball tables and office happy hours. There should be a conscious method in place to create the culture you want. Even simple team-building activities can help to determine what type of culture to build. Read our blog “Team-Building Activities (Your staff will actually want to do these!)”  for tips on these exercises.

Assess the current structure of your company and determine if hierarchy is getting in the way of higher productivity. For example, if your company needs to place added emphasis on its sales or design department, restructure the company accordingly.

It might sound clichéd, but holding an offsite event can help establish a company culture or hit the reset button on one that needs changing. Make sure your event has a specific goal and isn’t just mindless fun. For example, if you’re looking to break down interpersonal barriers, hold an event that involves people sharing information about themselves.

An important goal when taking these steps is encouraging people to buy into the culture. Show them the culture can make their job easier and more enjoyable. This might involve a bit of “wining and dining” employees, but buy-in is crucial to establishing a lasting culture.

Walk the walk

Any company can make a few initial overtures toward setting up a culture, but those who are able to establish a culture follow though, with management setting the tone. Employees quickly pick up on hypocrisy, and if you start pushing for better communication among your employees  –  for example  –  you should be communicating better yourself.

A company culture takes nurturing and management needs to foster it and let it evolve. Let the culture grow naturally and allow employees to infuse their own energy into it. Allowing your employees to put their stamp on it, allows them to own it and internalize it.

At Cornerstone, we understand the importance of growing a company culture. If your company needs to bring in fresh talent to set up that culture, contact us today and we can get started on discussing a range on available options.

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