A culture within a company is made up of the people, the traditions, the mission and vision (not the written one per se, the one that’s actually there), the environment and the way all of this fits together.
A great company culture results in an awesome place to work. A toxic, bad environment results in a place your best people will leave.
It is important to remember that anyone in the company has more influence in the culture than they probably think. As a leader, it is not only an opportunity, I believe it is also one of the most important things you should think about and spend your time on.
This all starts with the way you work. People will look at how you do that and copy this. If you’re interested in others, honest and approaching things from the positive end, that will have impact on others.
Couple of ideas:
- Write down what you think is important. Regardless of your position, it’s good to know what you value.
- Make sure new employees fit the culture. Skills can be learned, but whether a new person agrees with how the company works can have an enormous impact on the effectiveness of the employee. This should be a big part of the hiring process.
- Make culture a part of onboarding. It does not matter if you sit down with new employees, they read something about the company culture or they receive an email about this, the company culture should be part of this process.
- If you can’t change the company, change your team. Small changes inside different areas of the company can have big effects on both the team and with that with everyone else. Don’t wait for the company to change if you’re not happy with the culture.
- Keep returning to the company culture. When people join and leave the company, the culture changes. This shouldn’t be a one time thing, but a topic to keep reiterating.
- If your values and the values of the company don’t align, leave. Sounds rough, but if you stay, it might very well be that you change in a way that does not resonate with how you want to be. You should not stick around in a toxic environment, that’s dangerous.