Every company, no matter what industry or business type they participate in, has a culture that helps create and support their identity. This culture impacts everything that happens day-to-day. It is its own living, growing thing. Company culture will evolve as business grows and changes. It’s the responsibility of your company’s management team to establish and protect it, and test the alignment with organizational goals. The management team has to play offense and defense constantly to make sure company culture is protected and aligns with your core values. Taking an active role developing culture is a good way to create a company that not only produces top-quality products, but is also a good, quality place to work.
How Mainstay Creates Culture
When Mainstay first started, we created four core values to help us guide our culture. These values are what we believe define the work we do, and we want to instill them in every aspect of our daily work.
Work with the character and behavior aligned with the expectations of our relationships.
Be honest and have strong moral principles.
Respect everyone you’re working with.
Work in a cooperative and coordinated effort toward the agreed upon goals.
We keep banners on the walls and t-shirts on our backs with these four words so that they’re always in our minds as we work. Our four core values exist in everyone working for Mainstay, and we do what we can to help people use those values to guide their own individual actions. The values serve as a reminder of the type of company we try to be and help us do business the right way. This is a way of guiding company culture, and those four core values are important to our success.
Define Your Culture
It is important to define company values because those values create an identity. Your culture is exactly what people think of when they think of your business—it’s the interactions they’ve had with your employees. Do they embody your values? You need people not only to know exactly what you can offer them, but how you’re going to offer it to them. For example: prospective clients will appreciate how we’ve treated customers in the past. They will come to appreciate that we treat everyone with respect, that we work with our clients as a team, that we won’t be dishonest with anyone, and that our employees will work hard to exceed our client’s expectations. That identity has come directly out of our four core values. In a way, those core values that guide our company culture have become our identity, and we wouldn’t do business any other way.
In order to create the company culture you want, you have to define it. What are your company’s values?
Creating Your Culture
Once you know what your company’s values are, you can go about creating the culture you want. Have a meeting with your employees, and talk with them about how the values you’ve identified pertain to the things you’re doing every day. Then identify ways to help everyone internalize these values.
Company culture should provoke challenging thoughts internally and externally. The principles should be a reminder to your employees, and make your customers and vendors proud to be working with you. It’s not something that you create and then leave alone. Culture, like the people who create it, is a living and growing thing, and it needs guidance to align with your values. The company management team should monitor and, when necessary, make adjustments to ensure you’re being the company you truly want to be.