Culture 101

There are four crucial aspects that researchers say contribute to company culture and its formation: Culture is 1) shared by everyone in the organization, 2) pervasive between levels of hierarchy, 3) enduring beyond employee turnover, and 4) implicit—which means company culture happens whether or not we define it, realize it and name it.

With that in mind, here’s a list of five things to keep in mind in order to not only help foster a great culture, but to ensure values reach and resonate with all team members.

1. Nurture relationships. In a 2009 study of U.S. employees that were asked to determine top factors that affect their job satisfaction, 45% of respondents identified corporate culture as an important factor, 54% identified feeling safe in the workplace, and 52% mentioned their relationship with their supervisor. Our takeaway from this is that relationships in the office matter a lot. The more your employees feel like they know their coworkers and supervisors, the safer they will feel and the more trust they will show. Because of this, they will also invest in a better culture, will be more satisfied, and as we already know, happier and more productive! Be an example yourself. Ask your workers about their families and interests outside of work. Share personal anecdotes when appropriate, if you can spare the moment it takes to do so.

2. Include employees in defining culture. Take a look at your team and identify key people that are trustworthy, honest, and already leading somehow. Consider asking them for advice on defining the culture, or even task them with troubleshooting potential problems within the existing culture. Not only will you get a more honest idea of how employees view the culture, but you will also be investing in your employees more personally. According to the same study by Globoforce, most employees trust their peers more than their superiors. Tasking your employees to help you sort through cultural issues in the office could help build trust and may be the key to solving stubborn problems.

3. Identify outliers. If you notice an outlier on your team, try to figure out if there are problems with exclusivity within the organization. Determine if there are problems with discrimination, and if there are, invest in workshops and workplace training. Employees that are exposed to these trainings recognize them as signals from their company that they want to be intentional about diving into these problems, and that they understand the workplace experience can be extremely different for people from different backgrounds.

4. Recognize your employees. In this study about trust in the workplace, Globoforce determines that trust of the employer affects culture more than trust between coworkers. Take time to build trust with your employees. Start to recognize them for wins both big and small. Invest in their happiness and make an example of workers that are doing an exceptional job.

5. Invest in happiness. A study outlined in Forbes showed that happy employees have 31% higher productivity, 37% higher sales and 3x higher creativity. Research by Professor Andrew Oswald found a 37% increase in happiness from employees at one major tech company after a new investment in their employees’ happiness. The numbers really don’t lie. Create a culture of happiness, and you’ll reap the rewards!

The big takeaway: Culture at every organization is inevitable. So, be as intentional as you can with yours and your company will be better off for it! ✨