The culture of a company encompasses the values, attitudes, and behaviors that are practiced within an organization. The culture of a company is mostly influenced by its vision, mission, and policies. It is not necessarily developed by conscious efforts within an organization, but it exists, whether the people in the organization are aware of it or not.

However, organizations that are aware of their culture can utilize it to their advantage unlike those that don’t. The purpose of this checklist is to help shape your culture and align it with your organization’s values and goals.

What is company culture?

The norms and rules followed within an organization influence its culture. These form the accepted behaviors, values, and attitudes within the organization. The mission, vision, objectives, and long-term goals of a company are responsible for shaping the culture of your company.

Why should cultural initiatives be taken?

A set company culture is essential for a healthy working environment. Below are a few critical steps (pertaining to Company culture) that must be followed within an organization that can help contribute to its growth.

Culture checklist

The following steps can help an organization build its company culture or further improve it. These steps don’t necessarily need to be followed in sequence but an organization as per its needs must choose what they need to prioritize to strengthen its culture.

  • Establishing a strong foundation of values

The leaders of the company need to clarify what values they stand for. These values should be written down and further communicated throughout the organization. The relevance and accuracy of the “Vision statement” and “Mission statement” needs to be examined and validated.

  • Diverse inclusiveness

When hiring for the organization, hire people from diverse backgrounds. Although skills and abilities are necessary components when it comes to hiring, their ability to adapt to the organizational culture and enrich it is also important. For that purpose, people with different backgrounds must be hired to be a part of the organization.

  • Onboarding process

Starting a new job can be overwhelming for new hires. In order to let the new hires adapt to the company culture we need to do a few simple things right that can help them integrate faster. Sending a personal welcome message, or taking them on a lunch out are smart ways to make a great first impression. Giving them personalized gifts such as nutritious snacks and custom swag will get the message across that you are delighted to have them on your team.

  • Leading by example

The leaders of a company are walking examples of the company culture. They carry with them the energy or the vibe of the company. The exemplary dedication of leaders to the vision of the company will act as an inspiration for the rest of the employees.

Leading by example is a great way to imbibe company culture amongst newly hired personnel.

An exemplary leader has the following traits:

  1. Promotes free flow of communication: Leaders reach out to all employees including new hires at all levels in the organization.
  2. Embraces diversity: Leaders look out for everyone irrespective of ethnicity, beliefs, faith, and other differences.
  3. Encourages teamwork: Leaders are actively welcoming of new ideas and participative work. They promote a fair reward system that would encourage new hires to give their best.
  • Communicating the values of a company

There are numerous ways by which values can be imbibed within the company culture. Reinforcing values through communicating with personnel from time to time in different workspaces in the company is important.

For example: Putting up posters around the offices that clearly communicate the value system of the company, reminding the employees of the values that must always be followed at the end of meetings, justifying the goals of an organization by its values and thus developing a deep-rooted strong value system which guides everyone in making the right decisions.

  • Giving the right type of rewards and recognition

A company should have a reward system that is representative of its value system. Leaders should reach out to subordinates, recognizing them for their extraordinary performance or motivating them to do better. Sometimes the most effective means of recognition cost nothing more than a timely and personalized word of appreciation and acknowledgment.

  • Adapting the company culture to meet expectations

New hires enter the company with a different set of expectations. Companies must be ready to adapt to these without compromising on their long-term vision and mission statement. However, the culture of the company must not be based on principles that are no longer relevant. Such principles must be replaced with norms that are beneficial to the new working environment.

  • Giving the right kind of perks

In the Robert Half survey which was conducted on more than 1000 individuals in the US, 76% of individuals ranked health insurance as an essential benefit. Another valuable perk as per this survey is flexible working hours. Employees greatly value the opportunity to choose their own schedule of work.

Organizations are also permitting their employees to distribute their work into non-consecutive windows where they are free to choose their blocks of working hours through the day as per their schedule. Other perks that can be considered are educational allowance, sponsoring tuition fees, discounted pricing, paid leaves and remote work options. The perks of a company should align with the value system that it intends to inculcate within its culture.

  • Smooth feedback mechanism

A smooth feedback mechanism is an important part of the performance system of the company. The employees as well as the organization augur well if the feedback system of the company is unhindered and seamless. Relying on the annual measurement of performance is no longer beneficial. Organizations need to switch to Performance Measurement Systems that are precise, concise, and timely.

These are easier to use and provide feedback at the stipulated time. Performing surveys within the organization where employees can anonymously provide feedback would help the organization to understand the employees’ perspective on things and to rectify the blind spots that might not be visible from the company’s viewpoint.

  • Evaluate key metrics

The culture of the organization is based primarily on certain standards or metrics. These metrics must be calculated from time to time to determine the strength and weaknesses that might lie within the company culture and repair what’s broken. Timely evaluation of these metrics helps the leaders of the organization gauge whether the company culture is flawed or not. The metrics to be considered are communication, innovation, performance focus, environment, and teamwork among others.

  • Rectifying the weaknesses

Once these metrics are evaluated, despite its best efforts, a company will find weaknesses within the system. There are many possible reasons why parts of the company culture can become flawed such as outdated ideas, stagnation, employee attitude issues, inadequate training, lack of proper communication, etc.

Instead of frowning upon those weaknesses, the management and leadership should take steps to confront them and initiate change. Replace loopholes within the company culture so that it aligns with your values, goals, and mission statement.

  • Continuous improvement of company culture

The path to cultural success is not linear but cyclic. It requires continuous effort from all stakeholders involved. Therefore, once the company has gone through all these steps, it cannot just sit back and relax. The organizational culture needs to be monitored continuously and all these steps need to be reinforced to sustain a strong organizational culture.