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18 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Maintain Company Culture

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Company culture matters in any company regardless of its size. Not only does it build an amazing team, but it also determines the growth of any company in a big way. It ensures an environment where every employee feels motivated and valued for the contribution they make to the company. We asked entrepreneurs and business owners how they maintain their company’s culture.

#1-Giving our employees the power to choose the activities that best fit with their own interests

Photo Credit: Adam
Binder

Working in a creative field, being able to incorporate work-life balance into our company culture has been paramount in terms of providing our staff with a boost of productivity. Just last year we moved into a lakefront office directly next to a community garden, so it is not uncommon to see our staff holding meetings in our kayaks or tending to the crops in the garden. Yoga has also an integral part of our company culture — we even have a yoga instructor teach classes every few weeks to help our team start the day with a clear mind and a burst of energy. Giving our employees the power to choose the activities that best fit with their own interests has been incredibly successful in keeping stress levels down, morale up, and productivity at an all-time high.

Thanks to Adam Binder, Creative Click Media!

#2- Being dogmatic about your vision

Photo Credit: Chance Gurr

First and foremost, intention. We consider our culture a huge asset, and we invest time and resources accordingly. Protecting and maintaining our culture,especially as we grow, is a priority. We’ve taken steps to define our culture, so it’s something that we can talk about, rally around, and measure as a team. As a remote company, it’s critical for us to communicate, share, identify, and recognize our culture across the entire organization. We’ve come to believe that hiring the right people, from a culture perspective, to be the lynchpin. Our culture guides the hiring process (and it is long and arduous!) and staffing decisions in a deliberate way—focused at every step on sussing out culture fit. Every hire will impact your culture—one way or another. The best way to make sure that you maintain and grow a culture of your design is to be dogmatic about your vision and consider all the time and resources to hire an investment—a top priority. Every hire, is a key hire, when it comes to culture.

Thanks to Chance Gurr, You Need A Budget!

#3- Hosting monthly meetings

Photo Credit:
John Pope

Over the past several years we’ve found that the best way to maintain and build our company culture is through hosting monthly “town hall” meetings. To have a great workplace culture you need high employee engagement, and these monthly meetings mean food, prizes, goal updates, and a Q and A with all of the executives. The whole company looks forward to our town halls because it gives everyone a greater sense of involvement and ownership in the company. We show how far Jive has come from our start-of-year goals and where we hope to be next month or next year. Employees can also use this time to ask executives any burning questions that are on their minds. Most importantly though, Town Halls are a space where we can celebrate our successes, generate excitement, and create transparency. (Did I mention there is always food?)

Thanks to John Pope, Jive Communications!

#4- Defining values and hiring the right team

Photo Credit: Suzanne Morris

A great company culture can be cultivated only when you clearly define your business’s values and hire employees who naturally embody those values. We’ve further refined our culture by defining our core values, bringing positivity into the workplace, recognizing employees for their achievements and creating an uplifting environment that encourages professional development and personal growth. These practices help maintain a healthy culture no matter what industry you’re in, which is key to recruiting and keeping top talent. For business leaders looking to solidify an authentic company culture, start by looking inward at the characteristics that already make your company a great place to work. It’s likely that some of your most powerful core values already exist within your culture but just haven’t been clearly defined or communicated. Once you develop this list of values that supports the unique ways you do what you do (for example, at Sagefrog one of our core values is to do the right thing), then you can focus on placing the right people, both existing and new, in the right seats.

Thanks to Suzanne Morris, Sagefrog Marketing Group!

#5- Pay attention to ideals

Photo Credit: Crystal Huang

My best advice would be to remember why you started your company in the first place and the ideals that came along with it. Describe those ideals in a list. Try using one to three words for each ideal. Those ideals will come to form your company identity and with that help mold your culture. People will ultimately define your company culture. As you look for recruits to fill positions, look for qualities that resemble the list of ideals. At times, I was tempted to hire a candidate solely base of their high skill-sets, even though their qualities did not resemble my list. What often happens is disastrous!  Culture becomes worse because of differences in how your employees believe the company should be. When that happens, it will often take a while to rid the problems and reset company culture. So, choose wisely and always go back to the foundation of the ideals that made you build your company in the first place; and with that, find people who resemble those ideals so you can successfully build your company together.

Thanks to Crystal Huang, ProSky!

#6- Connecting to employees at a human level

Photo Credit: Igor Kholkin

A lot of companies these days think that providing a snack-filled kitchen is a great way to build culture. But it’s superficial and doesn’t actually work past the honeymoon phase, which lasts about a month. The key to a really strong culture is to be genuine in your intentions to invest in the team’s happiness & growth. The best opportunities to build and uphold culture present themselves every day as micro-opportunities. Look for those to connect on a human level with your team and it will come back tenfold. Act as a true leader and take on the most challenging tasks. Be personable when it matters and help your team members with personal advice if they seek it. Make sure your internal processes include a consistent feedback system that lets you know where you are failing your team. These types of activities will turn regular employees into committed team members and lead them to stay longer than free snacks ever will.

Thanks to Igor Kholkin, Online Marketing Consultant!

#7- Making conversations with employees

Photo Credit: Jesse Lakes

I maintain company culture by making it a point of conversation. I like to ask the team about their values and beliefs, aggregate them and then continue to survey the team on a monthly basis to see if they felt that they measured up to them the way that they had hoped, and then we keep measuring from there. Company culture is extremely important. Without it and without maintaining it, Geniuslink would not be Geniuslink.

Thanks to Jesse Lakes, Geniuslink!

#8- Three ways

Photo Credit: Ashley Cox

Company culture is something you must intentionally and continuoulsy cultivate in your business. A great culture doesn’t just happen overnight. And culture isn’t just for the purposes of hiring and leading a team. Clients and vendors also want to connect with businesses that hold similar beliefs and values that they do. If you’re just getting started, here are three ways you can begin developing the kind of culture you want for your business. 1) Get clear on the vision you have for your business. What does your business look like in the future when you’re successful? What are you striving to achieve? Write this down as a vision statement that’s both inspiring and challenging. Communicate your vision often to connect with and bring people along on the journey with you. 2) Share how your business will achieve the vision through a mission statement. Why does your company exist? How will you achieve the company vision together? Think of your mission statement as the how to for achieving your overall vision. Make sure that it’s both actionable and achievable. 3) Establish a set of core values that define what your company believes in and how it will behave. Core values help you maintain your culture by providing guiding principles that all team members can refer back to time and time again. You can (and should) start developing your company culture from day one, even if you’re flying solo. If you put these practices into place, you will be ready to cultivate and maintain an intentional culture that connects you with your ideal clients, vendors, and team members!

Thanks to Ashley Cox, sproutHR!

#9- Six attitudes

Photo Credit: Vaclav Muchna

“Key to our culture is our six values, or what we call attitudes. If we hire people with the right attitudes, our desired culture has a greater chance of success so it is part of our interviewing process. However, it doesn’t stop at hiring. It is so important to us that in addition to quarterly reviews on performance, each individual is also reviewed on how he/she performed against our six attitudes. You can have a great performer but if that person is toxic, then everyone suffers which impacts the culture. In this regard, the attitude performance is not reviewed by just the manager (who may want to keep a high performer) but by a wider team. As with performance, the individual is given guidance to improve but after a point, if it doesn’t work then some kind of adjustment is made, even if it means parting ways.”

Thanks to Vaclav Muchna, Y Soft Corporation!

#10-Two ways

Photo Credit: Cristian Rennella

In order to keep the culture of our organization in excellent condition, we
made two key points:
1) We have one-on-one meetings between manager and employees scheduled once a month in a mandatory manner for 30 minutes. This makes us all communicate efficiently and up to date.
2) Once every 4 months, we all traveled for 3 days to the mountain to be able to work without distractions as a team and define current problems and
future objectives.

Thanks to Cristian Rennella,  elMejorTrato!

#11- Public recognition, open and honest communication

The bedrock of our company culture is open and honest communication. In addition, we place a ton of emphasis on public recognition. We make sure to note our employees’ accomplishments at our monthly all company meetings, and hold team events 3 to 5 times a year: baseball games, river rafting, bowling, and a mega holiday party at the end of the year for us to really connect and reflect on our accomplishments. We really are a big family, and work together to support one another. Our goal is make sure that everyone always remembers that.

Thanks to Darrin Gilmore, Gilmore Heating & Air!

#12- Acting in an honest and caring fashion

Photo Credit: Adham Sbeih

Company culture should be a product culture, and a life culture. A culture of positive thinking and attitude. It is defined by how you honor your commitments, and help and respect your team when they need you most. By acting in an honest and caring fashion, you will organically craft a company culture that will elevate and transcend the very product or service you provide.

Thanks to Adham Sbeih, Socotra Capital!

#13- Making the staff know we appreciate their hardwork

Photo Credit: Matt Edstrom

As a startup, maintaining an enjoyable company culture is essential to our success, as it helps us retain and further groom our top talent. Retaining our employees allows us to promote from within and further develop a positive company culture. To help maintain an enjoyable company culture, we make it a point to make sure our entire staff knows we appreciate them and all their hard work. One way we do this is by sending out an email at the end of each week, recognizing those who have gone above and beyond. This email gets sent out to the entire office, allowing others to join in on thanking or congratulating their colleagues on a job well done. This encourages the entire office to communicate and gives our employees the opportunity to form healthy work relationships. The sense of community that is built by this simple gesture results in an increase in communication, productivity, sense of purpose, and most importantly, a desirable company culture.

Thanks to Ryan Phillips, BioClarity!

#14- Creativity and innovative spirit

 

Photo Credit: Chris Young

The reason companies and associations hire T3 Expo is because they have a no holds approach to creativity and ideas type of culture. Everything T3 Expo does is different. There is not one show like the other. This type of creativity and innovative spirit flows in the culture because one event is so much different from the other. The energy is infection when a design is being rendered or a show is being put together.

Thanks to Chris Young, T3 Expo!

#15- Identifying new ambassadors

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

Our company works hard to maintain company culture by bringing in new guard.. Sometimes those who focus on company culture can continue to do the same thing – and it gets less exciting over time. To maintain our company culture and avoid burn-out for company culture ambassadors, we identify new ambassadors. This is a great way to integrate fresh, new ideas and to get more people in the company involved. We believe this is a great way to involve more team members and get their ideas heard and activated.

Thanks  to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation!

#16- Being who we are and demonstrating the results of our work

Photo Credit: Richelieu Dennis

Our company culture centers around our purpose-driven business model
called Community Commerce, which equips underserved people and
communities with access to the opportunities and resources that enable
them to create lasting value for themselves and others. Our goal is breaking the cycle of poverty in the USA and in our ingredient supply chains around the world. Operating with a purpose-driven business model has had an extremely positive impact on our organization overall, including our recruitment and retention. Thankfully, many senior and high-potential talent today are looking for something more than a paycheck, or title, or big brand to put on their resumes. They are looking for substantive ways that what they are doing every day is having a positive impact on the world around them and at large. So, simply being who we are and being able to demonstrate the results of our work have boosted morale within our company and motivated many more to want to join in what we are doing and the impact we are making.

Thanks to Richelieu Dennis, Sundial Brands!

#17- Three things

Photo Credit: Joyce Wilson-Sanford

The healthy culture needs to be maintained by:
—example. The top leaders must model the stated principles and values of the culture being specific The principle and values need to be articulated and taught
—good hiring The hiring process should include fit with culture and applicant
—good policy Company policy should represent the culture in all aspects–syle, content and compliance

Thanks to Joyce Wilson-Sanford 

#18- Transparency

Photo Credit: David Bourgeois

You must not be scared to talk about culture and you need to immerse your company in that culture. Be transparent about your company’s culture and your vision so the right people will embrace it and grow with it. When you’re changing your culture or finally defining it, you must be prepared that some employees that aren’t on board will leave and you must be okay with that because they will slow you down otherwise. Emitting your culture also attracts employees that naturally fit and clients that get it.

Thanks to David Bourgeois, My IT!

How do maintain your company’s culture? Tell us in the comments below

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