How and why to build a distinctive company culture

It entails more than an open floor plan and Foosball Fridays. Aligning your mission to your organization’s past and future helps set a compass for navigation and keeps staff on board.

If your company consists of one person, you probably haven’t thought much about your company culture.

After all, as the founder and sole full-time member of your company, you are the culture. However, developing your organizational culture can help you grow and create a consistent workplace environment. defines company culture as “the pervasive values, beliefs, and attitudes that characterize a company and guide its practices.” Culture is your company’s personality, but it also encompasses your vision and values and how you do things. Your culture should be reflected in your branding and your messaging.

Your culture should influence the types of clients and projects you accept, as well as whom you partner with, contract or hire. Every decision, including how you use or invest your business resources, should connect to your culture.

Culture provides a structure for how you accomplish work, compete in the market and interact with your community. Your culture is—or should be—the underpinning for your business.

Answering the following four questions will help you develop and maintain a healthy company culture:

  • What is your purpose? As communicators, we frequently develop mission or vision statements for others but often neglect to memorialize our own. American Express “wants to be the world’s most respected service brand,” and Southwest “is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.” The best mission statements are simple, straightforward and clear.
  • What are your values? What principles drive your company? Values represent the DNA of your company. They are the things that you hold fast to, without compromise.
  • How do you, or can you, communicate your culture? When you define your culture, you must share it. Tell stories that reflect your culture. Teach it to employees, if you have any. Most important, communicate it through your actions.
  • How can you measure it? PR pros know the crucial importance of measurement, and that also applies to your culture. Find specific culture-related metrics you can gauge. Put a tangible number on it so you can measure progress over time.

A strong company culture can be a powerful tool in recruiting staff and landing new clients. As your business grows, keep in mind that hiring for the right cultural fit is as important as hiring for the right skill set.

How do you define and maintain your company culture?

A version of this post first appeared on Solo PR Pro.

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