Company culture is more than a system of beliefs, norms, and behaviors. It serves as the foundation of your organization and affects everything from brand image and consumer opinions to market share and talent acquisition.
Culture develops organically over time, so you can either sit idly by and let it happen or take the reins and intentionally establish one that positions you best for long-term success.
Each of the companies on Glassdoor’s list of the “Top 25 Companies for Culture & Values” chose the latter, which has played a major role in their sustained performance.
But success isn’t the only thing these companies have in common. There are distinct similarities among their noteworthy cultures.
For some of the companies, such as Apple, Twitter, Google, and Facebook, the attraction may be attributed to being hip, agile tech giants. But there seems to be a deeper sense of community and camaraderie among their employees. They all have a mission to build something meaningful, catapulting their own career paths and helping their companies become global leaders.
Others, like Wegmans and USAA, put a strong emphasis on employees and customers. Even Chick-fil-A has a high rating because of the strong core values that cascade throughout the organization.
Although these companies have wildly different missions, they’ve built clear and aligned cultures that have positioned them for success. The companies that topped Glassdoor’s list in 2014 all exercise six key behaviors you can implement into your organization to foster a more performance-based culture:
1. Challenge people to be the best versions of themselves. Of all the things you can do for culture, this one tops the list. Employees value the intelligence and caliber of their colleagues. Set clear expectations for performance and behaviors, and your staff will rise up to meet them.
2. Stand for something. Providing a superior product isn’t enough. A competitor will eventually build something better and knock you from the top spot. To build an irresistible brand, there must be meaning behind what you do. Working toward a shared goal helps align employee efforts and sets them up to achieve great things. Look at your company’s vision, purpose, and values, and make sure they all serve a greater purpose.
3. Never compromise hiring practices. Each person you bring into your organization has the ability to make things better or worse. Establish practices to identify and secure talent that will help drive the culture necessary to succeed in your industry.
4. Develop leaders. Just because you can manage the accounts payable department doesn’t mean you possess the skills to lead change in your workplace. Leaders serve as culture ambassadors. They also act as role models. But rarely will you hire someone who can immediately assume both mantles. Invest in training and developing leaders to be the force of change for your organization.
5. Crowdsource culture. Although leaders play a significant role in developing culture, they shouldn’t shoulder the responsibility alone. Remember that it’s the employees who must live it each day. Actively engage every stakeholder in face-to-face dialogue to learn what it will take to maintain performance over time.
6. Don’t carve many things in stone. Change is inevitable, especially when it comes to the business landscape. The same can be said for the people and strategies you need to succeed in an industry. Allow your organization to naturally evolve. Otherwise, you can’t expect it to weather the conditions when it gets stormy.
Organizations that can clearly articulate their purpose and galvanize employees around a shared identity or purpose will be positioned to drive sustainable growth. The best way to accomplish this is to build a magnetic company culture that attracts a dedicated following and passionate employees.
This article originally appeared on Forbes
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