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Finding Your Cultural Compass

March 4, 2019

Internal culture can be an indicator of not just employee satisfaction, but also company success. Just look at Silicon Valley giant Google, which embeds innovation into company culture. Or consider shoe retailer Zappos, which has woven culture into its mission, embracing creativity, change, and determination. 

The key for these positive work environments, which often lead to happier employees and stronger performance, is found in a company’s shared vision, values, and artifacts, or practices. 

Focus on these points when evaluating or establishing company culture:

> Clearly communicate the company vision or mission. How and where are you growing, and what is the purpose of the business? These questions will guide decisions internally and show customers or clients what stands at the heart of the company.

> Choose values that guide and support your business. Values should be meaningful and realistic, not just pretty on paper. Each employee should be able to relate to and use these values as guiding principles for decision-making and to ensure a quality product or experience.

> Establish practices that support the vision and values. What artifacts support the shared values and ideas? Consider physical environment, company policies, rewards systems, and other visible characteristics of your company that align with the vision. For example, Sterling National Bank created an internal culture team to champion best practices related to culture. Embed practices that bring your values to life in the workplace.