Why should your company culture match your brand? In the age of social media, secret-sharing apps, and sites like Glassdoor, it's easier than ever for current and potential employees, clients, and customers to see and discuss what it's like beyond your company's front door.
With instant access to every move your company makes, you need to do more than just espouse certain values. Branding needs to reflect a strong, healthy, and unique company culture. This is vitally important when it comes to attracting and retaining quality talent.
Why Match Your Company Culture To Your Brand?
Before we look at why your company culture should match your brand, let's define those terms. Where business is concerned, culture is the set of internal values, goals, attitudes, and behaviors that define an organization, its employees, and the work environment.
Branding, by contrast, is how an organization presents itself to the outside world. Company culture informs brand and vice versa, but they don't always align on their own.
Building and maintaining a strong, unique company culture and ensuring that it is reflected accurately in your branding will benefit your organization in some potentially surprising ways:
Authenticity. When potential employees, clients, and customers see that your company practices the values it displays to the public, you create a consistent, authentic, and trustworthy reputation.
Good Word-Of-Mouth. With the internet, individual experiences have an exponentially greater reach than they once did. With a healthy company culture, you will find your employees are more likely to speak positively about their work.
Better Employee Fit. When you have a strong company culture that is matched by your branding, filling spots as they open becomes a whole lot easier. You’re more likely to attract high-quality talent well-suited to the role you post and to your company’s work environment as well.
Increased Engagement And Productivity. Surveys done by Denison Consulting show that a strong, healthy culture begets engaged, invested employees. Cultures that embrace positive core values from leadership on down make employees feel supported. This encourages better teamwork, greater productivity and communication, and makes for overall happier employees.
Retention. Happier, more engaged employees are loyal employees, and in turn, a low turnover rate means higher morale for the entire team and lower onboarding costs.
How To Create A Sustainable, Healthy Organizational Culture
Whether it's being actively cultivated or not, your company is bound to start developing its own culture. Why not take the steps to make sure what grows is something positive? Let's take a look at how to build a good company culture:
1. Define your company’s core values, and don’t just settle on the obvious. Integrity, respect, and teamwork are all bars that every company should be meeting. Instead, put a name to what makes your company unique. Check out the nine types of company brands outlined by Denise Lee Yohn at Harvard Business Review.
If you’re honest about what’s important to your company up front – innovation or tradition, value or luxury, competition or social consciousness – making decisions about how to build out or making changes later will be far easier. A truly unique set of values will also give potential talent a better idea of how well they might fit into your organization.
2. Survey your employees to identify what they believe is the current company culture. Ask your employees for the good and the bad, be open to receiving both and ready to make realistic changes. In doing this, you’re fostering a work environment that encourages communication, and when you follow through, you’re showing your people that they are heard and supported.
3. Cement a healthy company culture by living those values. You’ve defined your company’s core values and identified strengths and weaknesses. It’s time to start practicing what you preach. Implement necessary changes and ensure the words are aligning with your employee’s actions, starting at the leadership level.
4. Focus on your employees’ wellness when building culture out. You can’t have a company, a brand, or a culture without people, so front them, their health, and happiness when you make decisions about company culture.
Consider expanding the benefits you offer – improved compensation, increased flexibility, better health benefits, and even employee assistance programs like telebehavioral health plans, childcare services, and grocery deliveries are little ways you can support your employees in our increasingly busy, hectic world. If your employees have a good work-life balance, it can only mean good things for the company, too.
5. Hire the right people. A well-defined culture makes it easier to hire successfully. Years of experience, an amazing list of skills, and an impressive work history don’t mean much if a new employee isn’t meshing well with your people and practices.
Remember that a candidate is a whole person, not just a resume. Listen to a candidate’s attitude and values during the hiring process, see how they interact with others on your team. If you hire people that fit in well both as workers and teammates, you’re fostering a positive culture that will reinforce itself.
Maintain Company Culture
So you’ve built a company culture, but how do you keep that company culture alive? If you continue to follow the advice listed above, you’re already on the right track, but let’s look at a couple of other ways to maintain company culture:
Keep listening, keep communicating. Don’t close those lines of communication after you’ve opened them, and don’t just wait for annual review time. Keep seeking out, accepting, and responding to employee feedback. Culture is a living thing that will need to change to keep up with the times, and listening to your employees is a great way to both support your people and organically keep your culture up to date.
Be flexible. We are in a time of incredible change. Be open to adapting to new ways to work and you’ll create a culture of resilience. Make sure employees know what resources are available to them, encourage PTO use, and allow employees to work remotely.
Slightly more than half of the US workforce is working remotely right now, and that shift from the traditional on-site 9-to-5 hasn’t been a bad thing. Remote employees also report having greater work-life balance and being more productive, while employers see an average increase of $2,000 in profits per remote worker.
Recognize good work and good people. Celebrate employees who are engaged, productive, and who exemplify company culture. Public or private commendations, tangible rewards, and even high grades on evaluations are ways to let employees know that you see when they’re doing things right.
Take command of your company’s culture and build it into something you and your employees are proud to be a part of. The benefits to your business will unfurl naturally from there – increased productivity and profits, better press, happier people.