Developing your desired company culture requires intention, time, attention and planning. As a business leader, you must understand that there is no set formula to create a company culture. However, certain steps can help you to help create a high-performance work culture. 

Steps to Create a Desired Company Culture

Although each business has its own dynamics to determine company culture, certain elements are commonly at play in almost every organisation. Tweaking these elements can help you streamline your path to developing a desirable company culture. Let us dive right in to explore what these are. 

   1. Leadership Commitment

The leadership team has to develop a compelling and shared reason to create a company culture. This group needs to have a clear picture of who you are as a company and where you want to go. This team must not only understand the existing culture but also share a vision of the company culture you want to establish. 

All members of your leadership team should work on developing self-awareness. They must also know their purpose, values, behaviour, personality, and impact on people working around them. Each leader needs to understand how they align with the desired company culture and values. 

Develop a process and strategy to share your company’s culture, and do not forget to involve your managers. Your strategy must include programs for your managers to help increase their personal awareness and what you expect them to behave.

   2. Personnel for Supporting the Company Culture Development 

Similar to having leaders responsible for business development, finance, and HR, you also need a leader to supervise this cultural development journey and ensure it stays on track. You should assign the role of a cultural manager to someone. 

Established departments and existing managers often have too much on their plate already. Therefore, it would be difficult for them to bear this responsibility. It is necessary that this particular role works across all divisions and departments within your organisation to develop and look after the ongoing cultural transformation within the company. 

Hiring a culture manager is going to help you in the long run. However, make sure the potential candidate has expertise and training in executing company culture initiatives effectively. You will have to train all the employees within the organisation on how to support the company culture transformation initiative. 

   3. Defining and Developing Company Culture

Most leaders think they can create a company culture by defining core values and simply implementing them, but it takes more than that. The real effort required to develop your desired company culture is about aligning different aspects of the culture. It’s vital that you can demonstrate and measure the desired behaviours so everyone in your organisation can recognise what they should be doing and what’s not acceptable.

Developing your desired culture must be visible, tangible, and engaging in daily interactions. You must practice a systematic approach including:

  • Define a shared vision and mission.
  • Establish your company values.
  • Evaluate your existing culture using your company values as a filter.
  • Outline the behaviour and action you want in the new company culture based on your company’s value statements.
  • Ensure each behaviour statement is easily demonstrated and measured.
  • Create a contingency plan to handle any dysfunction that may occur.
  • Align your business strategy to aid the new culture. 
  • Provide ample opportunity to discuss behaviours and reinforce your values.
  • Schedule for continuous review of your culture.

   4. Structural Alignment

You should consistently work on incorporating the new corporate culture in different domains of the organisation, including communications, HR, and strategy as well as senior management. Collaboration is extremely vital to developing your company culture. You must ensure your internal communications are aligned to the systems and structures of your  culture. 

Your corporate structures, procedures, policies, and incentives must reflect the value system of your business as well as any institutional legacy established in the past. This helps define the acceptable and unacceptable behaviours for your organisation. 

Some of the most essential policies, programs, and procedures that reflect your company’s values include

  • Your decision-making processes
  • Hiring procedure
  • Leadership development
  • Employee evaluation 
  • Coaching culture
  • Brand promise
  • Communications 

   5. Execute, Learn, Adapt, Repeat

Developing a company culture is an ongoing process. Create your desired culture and continue to reinforce it using feedback, observation, and measurable results. Use this data to learn, adjust and adapt your company culture and make the necessary modifications you want for your organisation. Some common ways to gather this data include:

  • Daily feedback/employee feedback
  • Reflection meetings to discuss lessons learned so far
  • Quarterly culture report
  • Recognition, rewards, and celebrations
  • Rolling 3-month plan
  • Follow-up culture assessment 

This will be a start rather than an end. A healthy culture requires continual nurturing to achieve the desired results. 

Get in touch with StrategyX for more information on how to develop a flourishing company culture.

 

The Podcast

Developing your desired company culture requires time, attention and planning. As a business leader, you must understand there is no set formula to create a company culture. However, certain steps can help you to help ensure a high-performance work culture in your organisation. 

Culture can simply be described as the behaviours you want to see in your business. You can take hints of what these behaviours should be by looking at your company values. For example, if your company values innovation, then your desired company culture and behavior statement might  be something like, “Our employees suggest new ideas every day.” You can see how suggesting new ideas every day aligns directly to your stated value. Values are what guides your company culture. Culture is how the company behaves.

The first step to creating your desired company culture is to define what your company values. The leadership team has to develop a compelling and shared reason to create a company culture. This group needs to have a clear picture of who you are as a company and where you want to go. This team must not only understand the existing culture but also share a vision of the company culture you want to establish. You can hear all about how to do this in episode 13,  Creating a world-class values statement.

Next we need to think about how we are going to translate those company values into our company culture. The easiest way to do this is to take your list of values and turn each one  into a statement that describes the behavior required to support the associated value. 

Once the statement of behaviour has been established for each value, you then need to perform a sanity check on each of the behavior statements.  Are they clear enough to demonstrate and measure?  You must be able to tell if your desired culture – your behaviours – are being demonstrated in the workplace. The only way you’ll know is to ask your colleagues if the behaviour statements are clear enough to understand. Ask them if these behaviors can be easily demonstrated. Unfortunately, if you can't demonstrate and identify them, you'll never know if you have developed your desired company culture. 

The last thing you need to think about is implementation. Similar to having leaders responsible for business development, finance, and HR, you also need a leader to supervise this cultural development journey and ensure it stays on track. You should assign the role of a cultural manager to someone in the organisation. This ensures everyone knows culture is an important part of your business.

Keep in mind that established departments and existing managers often have too much on their plate already. Therefore, it would be difficult for them to bear this responsibility. It is necessary that this particular role works across all divisions and departments within your organisation to develop and look after the ongoing cultural transformation within the company. Don’t neutralise the importance of this role by lopping it into the job description of an already busy person. 

Hiring a culture manager is going to help you in the long run. However, make sure the potential candidate has expertise and training in executing company culture initiatives effectively. You will have to train all the employees within the organisation on how to support the company culture transformation initiative. 

I like to think about how to effect culture change  like this. Imagine you have a glass of water, and you place one drop of blue ink in that glass of water. Initially, the first drop of ink doesn't change the colour of the water. But after you add two or three more drops, the water starts to change. The clear glass of water is your organisation and the ink drops is your new, desired culture. You need to constantly be adding the drops to the water for it to ultimately change colour. In the context of culture, you need to be constantly reinforcing your desired behaviours to ultimately change the culture of your organisation.