10 Steps to Build a Successful Company Culture

A key question for today’s business leaders is, how to build a company culture? If the goal is building a great company culture, the first step is defining what you mean by work culture. From there, you can make adjustments to create a positive work environment. This guide includes several helpful strategies and tips to implement immediately. 

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What is Company Culture?

What do we mean when we talk about building company culture? Workplace culture is the company’s shared goals and values. The culture includes how employees work together, policies, procedures, and decision-making within the company. The company culture encompasses these elements:

The Company Mission Statement

The company’s mission statement is crucial when building a healthy company culture. The mission statement sets out the core purpose and what its values are. It expresses how the company intends to reach its goals.

The Employer’s Expectations

Most employees want to do their work well and meet their employer’s expectations. The company owner and managers must ensure that employees are aware of the scope of their job duties. Employees must also understand the consequences of failing to meet the employer’s expectations.

Did You Know?
The relationship between employees and their immediate supervisor is of prime importance in the workplace. This factor ranked highest in an employee job satisfaction survey conducted by McKinsey. The majority of the survey respondents (75%) said that their boss was “the most stressful” part of their job. Employees with a bad relationship with their boss described having low job satisfaction

Organizational culture includes the principles and values determining how managers and employees perform their work for the company. It influences whether employees feel engaged and satisfied in their work or not. Benefits of a strong organizational culture include:

  • Managers and employees share similar goals and agree on a plan to achieve them.
  • Employees feel comfortable about asking questions and expressing concerns to managers.
  • Businesses that know how to build a strong company culture attract top-notch candidates.

10 tips for building a successful company culture

1. Decide What your Ideal Company Culture Looks Like

There are many ways to build a company culture. The first step in building a healthy company culture is to define what that looks like for your company. Be prepared to spend a significant amount of time on this planning phase.

Your team wants to know why the company exists and what makes it different from others in its class. They want to understand the company’s values. People will have a hard time working for an employer if its stated values aren’t compatible with their own. For example, a candidate who cares very deeply about corporate responsibility around environmental issues may have a difficult time being happy working for a company that does not make sustainability a priority.

This candidate would have a better employee experience working for a company that matches their values.

It is better to take more time at the outset to determine what type of company culture will work best for your organization than to try to correct the workplace culture later. If you are going to build culture in a company, take the time to do it effectively.

2. Compare Ideal Company Culture to the Existing One

Company culture starts to develop as soon as a business begins to scale. Team member interaction increases and more decisions require collaboration. When a business is in startup mode, the owner has a lot of influence over company culture. They rely on the vision for the company.

As more people join the company, the corporate culture continues to develop. Each employee brings their own set of experiences and values. These are integrated into the company culture.

When considering how to build a positive company culture, take an honest look at workplace culture that you admire or have experience with. Take elements from these work cultures and tweaks so match the company vision.

3. Ask Employees for Input

It’s unreasonable for any employer to walk in on a Monday morning and make an announcement to all employees that its company policies are changing, effective immediately. Those types of decisions do not improve employee morale, and likely lead to turnover.

Employees have opinions about corporate culture. Ask them what they think, through anonymous surveys. Workers are more likely to be honest about what they like about their current work environment if they feel they can express themselves freely.

When analyzing the survey results, look for recurring patterns in the responses. If several employees point out the same problem, that indicates a legitimate area of concern. Send out another survey to gather more information about specific “pain points.” Make it clear that you want your employees to have the digital tools and digital workplace they need to do their work well. This statement makes a positive impact on your team. They realize you care about more than just the bottom line.

Read more: Top 30 Questions To Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey

4. Encourage Work-Life Balance to Reduce Stress

We know it’s impossible to live in the modern world without some level of stress. When stress becomes too much to handle, it harms an employee’s everyday life, including their job satisfaction level.

Employees who take good care of their physical, mental, and spiritual health will be more effective and productive. Employees should not have to work 80-100 hours per week and give up a personal life to achieve career success.

  • Encourage all employees to take all of their allotted vacation days.
  • Offer access to mental health care through the benefits plan. Make sure employees are aware of this option and know how to access resources when needed.
  • Have an open-door policy with supervisors and managers. Let employees know that they can approach anyone on the management team (not just their manager) for a confidential discussion.
  • Schedule breaks during the workday. Encourage employees to step away from their workspace. They can interact with colleagues over coffee, walk for a few minutes, or even meditate during this time.

5. Make Sure Employees Know Your Expectations

If you’re working through how to build culture in a company, make sure existing employees understand the company expectations for job performance. For example, if the company culture is team-oriented and transparent, team members might be expected to post regular updates of their work progress on the company intranet.

Some team members may be used to working more independently from previous work situations. If someone is used to only submitting finished work, communicating regularly with several other team members may feel awkward at first. A sensitive employee may even feel as though they are being micro-managed in this scenario.

Employees must understand what the company expects from them. This means that the company has to take time to educate employees about its expectations. Employees may have questions or concerns about the company’s expectations. They should always feel as though they have been heard and that their concerns are taken seriously. Company policy will not change based on each and every employee concern but management must make the effort to listen to employee concerns and consider them.

6. Hire Candidates for Culture First

When the time comes to add new employees, assess candidates carefully. It’s tempting to move quickly and offer available positions to those with the required education and experience. These candidates will likely ramp up quickly and require limited training. That does not necessarily mean they will be a good cultural fit.

You don’t necessarily want to hire several people from the same background, either. A diverse workforce made up of employees from different age groups and backgrounds, means each person brings their point of view to the table. This provides an advantage when discussing how to tackle a project or deal with a problem, thought diversity is one of the distinct advantages that hiring for culture brings.

You can always train a candidate who has most of the qualifications you are looking for if they are a good fit for your company culture. It’s more difficult for someone to change their personality to fit in a work environment that doesn’t feel comfortable for them.

7. Use Digital Tools and Digital Workplace to Connect with Employees

Your company may hire employees to work in your home office, on the road, or remotely. There are digital tools to help all workers stay in touch with each other and feel as though they are part of the same corporate team.

An intranet platform is an excellent tool for onboarding new employees. The HR department can upload the required documents for new hires. The company intranet becomes an interactive source for the company manual, outlining expectations for employees. It includes sections on work hours, company policy for sick time, etc. This online tool makes it easy to automate certain functions, such as scheduling meetings or requesting annual leave. All employees can post updates on projects, ask for help when needed, and read company updates.


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8. Recognize Employee Achievements

A key component of employee engagement is ensuring that employees feel as though they matter to their employer. Employees who feel their contributions are not appreciated will start doing only the minimum. They won’t be enthusiastic about their job or their employer.

This scenario is common among employees who are not engaged in their work. It is also completely avoidable. As an employer, it is within your power and control to create a workplace culture where employees feel safe enough to share their ideas. Employees will know their ideas have been considered even if the company does not adopt all of them.

The company can give employee engagement a boost by recognizing when employees reach a milestone.

  • The names of new employees can be shared on the company intranet.
  • Birthdays and other important events should be announced to fellow workers.
  • Give the sales team a shout-out when they reach their target for the quarter.
  • Congratulate the marketing team on their successful handling of a new product launch.
  • Recognize the contribution of employees leaving for other employment opportunities, retirement, education, or family reasons.

9. Remind Employees that their Work Matters

Today’s employees want to do something meaningful in connection with their work. They want to feel as though they have made a difference in their community. They don’t go to work so that they can collect their pay and go home. Employees who don’t feel they are making a difference may become disenchanted and dissatisfied with their work.

Managers and executives must demonstrate to employees how the company’s mission statement and values translate to a role that the employee can feel good about. For modern employees, this is a role where they can see that their contributions are doing something positive.

The desire to do good for the community does not end with simply performing their jobs well. Employees want to give back to their community. However, not all employees want to be at the forefront of community projects on behalf of your company, which is understandable. Some employees prefer to help others in quieter ways. Support and acknowledge employees who participate in fundraising activities throughout the year to raise money for charitable causes.

10. Create Opportunities for Employees to Build Relationships

Successful companies understand the value of building positive relationships between employees. These businesses know that when workers see each other as colleagues, they can accomplish great things together. Employees from different teams can share their expertise to get tasks done quickly and efficiently. The key to developing these effective working relationships lies in giving employees opportunities to get to know each other in less formal circumstances.

Some companies set up a softball team and invite employees to play on weekends. This type of activity may not appeal to all employees. There are other ways to encourage employees to build relationships.

  • Work teams can get together for lunch or dinner.
  • The company can put aside funds for employees to attend happy hour at a local bar.
  • The management can organize a group outing to a sporting event.
  • Work teams can compete against each other in fun trivia contests posted on the company intranet. The winning team gets bragging rights and a prize.

As employees get to know each other in these casual circumstances, they will feel more comfortable with each other during business hours. Ideally, workers will feel they are safe, appreciated, and supported when they go to work. This is the type of environment where people are free to put forth their best effort and perform well on the job. The employer and the employee will reap the benefits of this type of supportive atmosphere.


Milton Herman
Content Writer


Corporate Culture Digital Workplace Employee Engagement Employee Experience

Published on

September 16, 2021