How are good company cultures created?

By Steph Von der Heyde | The 1 Thing

Nov 09

Having a good company culture is no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’. Studies have shown again and again that organisations with healthy cultures typically outperform companies where culture is not something the company actively works on.

So how are good company cultures created? Below are 21 key resources to help you discover just that. 

First, what is company culture, really?

A company culture is like a company’s personality. It’s the ethos that permeates the entire company and everyone in it. Your employees might describe it as ‘the way things are done around here’, and it affects everything from the way decisions are made to the tone of the daily emails sent around the office.

It’s not to be confused with ‘perks’ (like a dog-friendly office and a foosball table). Sure, the types of perks you choose will be a product of your company culture (for example, do you have a juice bar, a wine bar or a shooters bar?), but company culture is much more about the company’s personality, values, outlook and (for want of a better word) ‘soul’.

Read this to deep dive into what constitutes a company culture.

What kind of culture do you have?

Every company has a culture – whether they mean to or not.

Some companies are conscious of the type of culture they have or want to create, while others’ cultures have formed accidentally.

All company cultures are shaped by the actions, decisions, interactions and communications that happen within the company on a daily (hourly and minutely) basis. It can be the big things (like how management chooses to review and reward employees’ performance) to the little things (like the way the agenda is structured in your morning meeting).

To find out more about, and learn to identify, the type of culture your company has created (consciously or not), this article by Culture IQ is helpful, and so is this set of culture assessment questions by Inc.  

Examples of good company cultures:

There are many companies worth learning from in the field of company culture. The key when looking at other companies’ cultures is not to confuse the way that the culture is expressed with the culture itself.

For example, Google’s famous 80:20 rule (80% of their time is spent on tasks that fit their job description, but 20% of their time is left free to pursue passion projects & creative ideas).

The ‘perk’ is getting 20% of your day/week/month to dedicate to a passion project, but the underlying ‘culture principle’ is that Google are encouraging creativity, collaboration & innovation. They’re telling employees that the company values their ideas and wants them to keep inventing.

If you work in a bank, giving your employees 20% ‘creative time’ may not be the right fit, but is there another small way you can encourage a culture of innovation and encourage them to think beyond just their day-to-day job description? We’ll bet there is.

The bottom line is, you may not have the budget or structure to replicate exactly what Google or Zappos or Netflix are doing for their employees, but you should be able to replicate the underlying principles in your own way.

Here are five great company cultures you can learn from.

How to choose the right culture for your company?

As you’ll have seen by the examples above, there are multiple types of cultures – from disruptive to conservative and everything in between. So how do you decide what’s right for your business?

Let’s say you own a web development agency. Do you want to foster a culture of aggressive (in a good way), progress-focused, fast-movers or a culture of meticulous, rigorous, perfectionists? Both could work – but how do you choose which is best?

Here’s a great article on how to consciously choose the best culture for your business.

How to start creating a good company culture?

Once you have a good idea of what you’d like your culture to be, it’s time to start creating it.

There are many ways you can start, but it can be helpful to have a framework to follow. This article by Forbes’ lays out the steps involved in building a good company culture from the ground up.

Tips on maintaining a good culture?

It’s easy to introduce the ideal culture to your business, it’s hard to maintain it and ensure it thrives.

The first step is obviously creating a culture that’s set up to thrive.  The next step is to ensure that you have the principles in place to ensure the culture is maintained, especially as your company grows.

Best ways to measure your company culture?

Gone are the days when people thought company culture couldn’t (or didn’t need to be) measured alongside all other important business metrics.

To maintain your culture it’s imperative that you learn how to start tracking and measuring the success of your efforts. If you’re not yet convinced that an ‘intangible’ concept like company culture can be measured, read this to find out how to start, and 5 key metrics to start tracking.

If you’ve already started measuring and you want to deep-dive, find out how to get better at conducting company culture surveys, and what other companies measure to ensure success.

The CleverClicks company culture:

And what about us, do we take our own culture seriously?

We’re pretty proud of the culture we’ve created and we continue to work hard on it. If you’d like a preview of the way we do things at CleverClicks, have a read.

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