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HRDQ will be closed on Friday (5/24) and Monday (5/27) for Memorial Day
HRDQ will be closed on Friday (5/24) and Monday (5/27) for Memorial Day
The Ultimate Guide to Describing Your Company Culture

The Ultimate Guide to Describing Your Company Culture

Why do job ads grab our attention? Why do we get all excited when recruiters reach out? It all comes down to how a company speaks to us. This chit-chat can turn even the dullest meetings and simplest emails into something we want to read.

Are you thinking about switching jobs, leading your team better, or maybe you're in the HR game? Getting the hang of a company's culture is a big deal. It changes your day-to-day from just another day to something you're pumped about.

What's the heart of a company's culture? It's in what the company believes, its goals, and the kind of atmosphere it was built to have. Picture this: working somewhere that feels as snug as your favorite couch spot. Sounds far-fetched? It might be closer than you think.

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The Value of Your Organization

Staying ahead in business means keeping that idea machine running and being nimble enough to pivot when the plan hits a snag. Mistakes are just stepping stones to doing better.

If you're not quick on your feet, your business might start dragging its heels. Tuning into your customers and being ready to change your products or how you work is incredible for growth and boosting those profits.

An Organizational Team

Let's talk about the MVPs: the leaders. Their part? To light that spark of innovation within their teams. Maybe through brainstorming sessions, hackathons, or giving the green light for personal projects. It's in creating an environment where new ideas aren't just welcome; they're celebrated.

And when your team comes up with something fresh, even if it doesn't hit the mark, give them a shout-out. Recognizing their hard work and creativity keeps the innovative juices flowing.

At the end of the day, your goal is to be a trailblazer. Leading with innovation is keeping up; it's about setting the pace. Being at the forefront is essential for survival and prosperity.

Features of Your Culture

Building a great place to work all starts when people, from those who've seen it all to the newest team members, get real and talk openly. Make sure info isn't stuck but moves around freely through catch-ups or suggestion boxes. It cuts down the guesswork and builds a solid trust circle within the team.

Let your crew see how much you're rooting for their growth. Who doesn't want to level up in their careers and personal lives? Offer them chances to learn more, pair them up with someone who's been in their shoes, and lay out a clear map for their process ahead. That shows you're in their corner, boosting their spirits and making sure the stars of your team are in it for the long haul.

Teamwork is the magic word for a fantastic company culture. Throw people together in projects – different backgrounds, different skills – and watch the ideas spark. Celebrating what teams achieve together mixes it all up nicely and brings people closer.

A Team Working Together

Work shouldn't just be work. Help your team see how what they do daily adds up to something great. They should see the company's goals and how they're an important part of reaching them. This will make every day feel like they're on a mission.

Trust is everything. It comes down to leaders walking their talk and showing they care very much about their team's health. This authenticity builds a solid trust foundation, which is essential for a positive workplace tone.

Keep these practices going, and you will attract top talent, but you'll also keep them excited and driven. It's never settling; it's always looking at how to keep things real and impactful. That's how you create a culture that keeps your company on the fast track to success.

Core Values and Principles

At the heart of every company are its core values and principles. Think of them as the company's DNA – guiding everything from the day-to-day grind to how people in the team interact, both internally and with the world. Say a company puts a big emphasis on honesty; you'd expect people there to stick to the truth, right? That builds a place you can trust.

Why do these values matter? If we stick with honesty, it's in believing that trust beefs up relationships over time. It's the secret sauce that shows us why being honest has many uses beyond being nice; it's essential.

Trust and Honesty in the Workplace

Living up to these ideals sounds like a tall order – and it is! But it's also what separates the good from the great. This comes to life when we own up to our oops moments, solve problems for our customers, and make those big calls. You really get the measure of a company's culture when you see their actions lining up with their words.

Injecting these core values into a company's bloodstream starts with choosing the right people. It's about more than how someone does their job; it's recognizing and rewarding those who walk the talk.

And here's the kicker: how well a company sticks to its values isn't about the flashy office or cool freebies. It's in the daily choices, the strategies devised, and the little tasks that fill our days. Keeping your eyes on these values shows you're all in on what makes your company special. A business that lives by its values creates a strong community with a shared job. It stands out in the marketplace, too.

How Does Your Work Environment Reflect Your Culture?

Your workspace? It's the heart of what your company's in. When it clicks with your values, you'll see your team thriving as everyone is happier and more connected. Creating an environment that values openness can be as simple as choosing an open office layout; it naturally nudges people to chat more. And why not mix in spaces designed for brainstorming and team activities? It's a smart move to spark creativity and teamwork.

But let's not forget the quiet corners. Everyone's different. Some of us need a bit of peace to get those gears turning. Offering up spots for focused work respects those different styles and gracefully balances individual and collaborative work.

A Positive Work Environment

How about bringing some life into the office with plants, cool art, a chill-out spot, or a game area? It's a clear sign that you value health and encourage a solid work-life balance. These special touches allow people to recharge and dive back into work with fresh eyes.

Staying on top of tech also showcases a dedication to being ahead of the curve, ensuring the team has what they need to work smart, not hard.

So, the tone of your workspace can make or break how people feel about working at your company. It influences our culture and plays a big part in drawing in and keeping the right crowd.

Grab Insights from Your Team

Reading what your team thinks about your company's tone is a must. It's like ensuring people are rowing in the same direction – towards the company's big goals. Kick things off by calling a meeting about it, and let people know straight up: We're here to chat about our culture. Make it clear from the get-go that you're looking for honest input from people.

Before you meet, think up some questions that get people talking. Try asking, "How would you paint a picture of our company culture?" or "What could we do to dial up the awesome in our culture?" It's in getting people to reflect on where we're at and where we could be heading.

Listening is essential here. Listen without butting in or passing judgment. Doing so proves you're not just going through the motions; you genuinely care about what they think. Once you've heard what they have to say, share a picture of what you believe your culture could look like. It shows you've taken what they've said to heart, and you're ready to make moves together.

Grabbing Insights from a Team

Now for the fun part: making those ideas happen. Time to get down to business and roll out policies or start initiatives that sprout from that feedback. Let the team know what you're cooking up and get them involved. Keep an eye on how these changes are picking up steam.

Don't stop there, though. Keep the lines open through surveys or casual chats to see if these adjustments are hitting the mark. Making sure our work culture fits like a glove with what our team wants and our business goals is not a one-and-done deal. It's about staying on our toes and adjusting as we go.

How to Make a Culture Statement

Kickstarting your company's culture begins with a crystal-clear picture of what your business stands for and the important values you hold dear – honesty, respect, shooting for the stars, welcoming fresh ideas, and inclusivity. These aren't just nice words; they're the building blocks of your company's soul. But remember, it's not enough to just talk the talk. People, especially those at the helm, need to walk the walk in their day-to-day actions and choices.

Taking a page from the playbook of other businesses can be eye-opening. It helps pin down what's buzzing in the industry and creates a unique cultural tone that makes your company pop.

Hearing what your team has to say about the culture hits differently. Their take on things will ensure your culture both exists in a fancy document and is lived by the team, guiding them towards shared ambitions. When you sit down and chat about the values that resonate with them, it's incredible.

Making a Culture Statement

With those values in your pocket, sketch a strong vision and mission. This has many uses beyond corporate fluff; it's your company's north star. Sharing stories about your company's process and changing culture makes it all real. It's like inviting your employees to be part of this epic adventure.

This whole culture thing is not abstract. It plays into how your team behaves, how they deal with customers, and the decisions they make daily. Bring those values to life with real-world examples. It's like showing instead of telling.

And please, keep the culture manual simple. No one needs a puzzle. As your company grows and morphs into its next chapter, this culture of inclusivity and constant betterment should be your beacon. It draws fantastic minds to your doorstep and improves your company's game.

Live Your Culture Every Day

Make your company culture part of your daily grind. It's a must! Imagine people at work living and breathing your company's core values. I'm talking about rules; it's about creating an environment where people are in sync, helping individual and team performance soar.

So, how do we ensure culture has many uses beyond being a word we throw around but something we live by daily? It's in the little things – how we run meetings, chat openly, cheer for each other's wins, and always stay open to fresh ideas. It's about feeling like you're part of a big, ambitious family pushing in the same direction. That sense of belonging? It's super useful. It turns a group of people into a powerhouse team.

A Team Living Their Culture

But this is following a set of guidelines; it's about building a community at work where people don't just show up; they care. They care a lot about what we're all creating together. And it's on the leaders to lead by example, showing what those cultural atmospheres look like in action every day.

Plus, showing off our culture has many uses beyond for us. It makes us stand out to people who might want to join the team and customers. It's a peek into the heart of what makes us different and why that difference is worth paying attention to in a crowded market.

Keeping your culture bright and buzzing? It comes down to living out those values with every decision, conversation, and high-five. It's about the actions, attitudes, and day-to-day behaviors that reflect what we stand for.

Companies to Look Up To

Every great company knows a solid culture has many uses beyond a nice-to-have; it keeps the engine running smoothly.

Take Zappos as an example. They bet big on culture, valuing team spirit and communication skills way over how much you know about the job on day one. It's a clear signal that who you are matters as much as what you know.

Then there's Warby Parker, turning the dial up on creativity and keeping their team in the loop with cool events. Feeling part of something bigger keeps motivation high.

Southwest Airlines believes that if their employees are happy, their passengers will be, too. They go out of their way to make work fun, proving a happy workplace is productive.

Remember when Twitter was the favorite example of a friendly, open workplace? That was before the leadership change, but their initial technique of embracing different opinions allowed the company to shine.

A Friendly and Diverse Company

Microsoft has long been on the radar for treating their employees right, offering fair pay, valuing work-life harmony, and opening doors for people to grow professionally.

HubSpot doubles down on transparency and top-tier customer service, always looking out for people who share these values.

And, of course, Google's diverse team is impressive because of the strength found in different perspectives, which makes it clear that a number of voices make for a stronger company.

What these giants show us is simple: putting culture at the heart of what we do makes for happier employees, paints us in a good light with customers, and pumps up our business successes. So, talking about what makes these companies tick, how can we spruce up our own culture? Building a culture in tune with our core values is an excellent ticket to surviving and thriving in the long run.

Improve Your Team Dynamics

Let's take a moment to think about how we chat and work together every day. It has to reflect what we stand for. If it doesn't, then it's time for a bit of a shake-up.

Look at how your team's doing their thing together – where can we do better? To give you an example, if we're big on being open and trusting each other, why not set up a few workshops to beef these skills up? It's a solid move for cranking up our game and helping our company grow.

Improving Team Dynamics

I have a hot tip for you. Check out the Organizational Trust course at HRDQ. This isn't your average training – it helps you build trust within the team, and let's face it, that's super useful for a happy organization. Signing up shows you're all in on making your company even better.

The endgame here is to lock in those good atmospheres for the long haul. We're after a place where people feel supported and valued.

Kicking off this course could be the spark you need for a smoother-running, more upbeat workplace. It's a sign you're hooked on what your company is about. It might seem like a significant leap initially, but the payoff in team happiness and getting things done faster is massive. And at the end of the day, keeping your work environment buzzing and productive will make you stand out. Trust is important!

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.