Company culture can make or break a business. Here, we outline some culture-building hacks that have worked for us and will, hopefully, provide some inspiration for you too…
We’re hearing about company culture a lot these days. It’s the buzzword of the workplace, and for good reason. A company’s culture can shape the attitudes and behaviours of employees… defining what is encouraged, accepted, or rejected within a team. We’ve seen how culture can make or break a company, and as we emerge from the pandemic, employees are examining culture more closely – by choosing employers that promote a positive, productive, and uplifting environment.
And culture and leadership are inextricably linked.
Leaders are influential on what will trickle down to the larger team and, therefore, need to decide how and what environment they want to create. A good company culture is one that benefits both business needs and employee needs – providing a conducive environment for growth, camaraderie, and well-being.
Here, we outline some culture-building hacks that have worked for us at Creative Niche (we’re proud of our average eight-year employee tenure) that will hopefully provide some inspiration for you too.
1. Digital Culture Committee
Remote and hybrid work is not going anywhere soon. Consider implementing a Digital Culture Committee to better support your mostly and/or fully remote employees and attract prospective talent. The committee will serve as your ‘virtual’ culture arm, responsible for creating an effective and engaging digital work environment. Whether that be finding better ways to communicate online, organizing virtual events to connect with one another, or streamlining work processes using smart apps and platforms, the Digital Culture Committee will help your team stay connected in a virtual workplace.
2. Slack the Right Way
The messaging platform, designed specifically for the office, is a cool way to collaborate with team members in real time. It also helps free up your inbox. The ability to organize conversations into channels allows everyone to come together in one place to share ideas, make decisions, and move work forward more effectively. With app integrations like Google Calendar, Dropbox, Zoom (or whichever is relevant to your business), it’s easier for everyone to stay on track.
It can be an outlet for fun, too – giving team members the ability to react with emojis and GIFs – creating a casual environment for better collaboration and communication, while also giving employees a sense of agency by allowing them to update their status to show when they’re available (and why, with personalized status updates).
By setting up channels, you can add relevant team members to each – which is not only useful for those concerned but will also help tune out the noise for the rest of your team who don’t need to be involved with certain aspects of the business. You might also create non-work-related channels on Slack to encourage more connection and enjoyment between individuals with shared interests. For example, Creative Niche has “Self-Care”, “Cool-Stuff”, and “Foodies-Unite” channels that allow our Nichers to share relevant information that piques other interests, and further encourages authenticity in our workplace.
3. Unique In-Person Events
Culture and connection go hand-in-hand. Organizing unique in-person events that encourage team building, collaboration, and socializing is a great way to build culture at work. It also provides an opportunity to be more inclusive by appealing to different interests. At Creative Niche, we host a variety of events from ski days to themed happy hours to wellness activities and charitable causes for all the Nichers to get involved in.
4. Fun Growth Calendar
Introducing a balanced calendar of fun and growth events is a great way to motivate your employees and give them something to look forward to regularly. Similar to hosting unique events, the calendar should be unique to your business, too. One idea is to break this up into quarters, whereby your employees know that each quarter will provide different opportunities for learning and rewards, that reflect your company goals and core values.
These don’t need to be a financial burden, but they will serve as incentives to keep your employees engaged and excited about the work that they’re doing. For example, at Creative Niche, we have a “Number One Number” initiative where, each quarter, we work towards a numbered goal – whether that is business- or personal-focused – and once we reach that target at the end of the quarter, our team is rewarded with a small gift.
Our calendar includes both social and growth events that reflect our core values. We like to have fun, we are inclusive, and we believe in giving back. Each quarter, we have guaranteed social events (including holiday parties and our annual work trip), DEI learning, monthly company meetings and business development strategy days, outreach initiatives, and skills development workshops.
5. Incorporate Rockefeller’s Habits
Developed more than 100 years ago by John D. Rockefeller, the world-renowned Rockefeller Habits are considered essential for executing a company’s long-term business strategy. The framework essentially focuses on three main pillars (priorities, data, and rhythm) – providing businesses with a strong foundation for scaling up.
1. The executive team is healthy and aligned.
2. Everyone is aligned with the #1 thing that needs to be accomplished this quarter to move the company forward.
3. Communication rhythm is established, and information moves through the organization quickly.
4. Every facet of the organization has a person assigned with accountability for ensuring goals are met.
5. Ongoing employee input is collected to identify obstacles and opportunities.
6. Reporting and analysis of customer feedback data is as frequent and accurate as financial data.
7. Core values and purpose are “alive” in the organization.
8. Employees can articulate the key components of the company’s strategy accurately.
9. All employees can answer quantitatively whether they had a good day or week.
10. The company’s plans and performance are visible to everyone.
Creative Niche introduced this method over 10 years ago and has witnessed, firsthand, that incorporating these habits will not only ensure the success of your business but will also align the team, give their work purpose and meaning – and understand what is expected of them – making for a better workplace environment.
6. Facilitators and Thought Leaders
Depending on your business and your business’s core values, bringing in external voices to speak to your team is a smart way to build culture. Facilitators and thought leaders in your space can inspire your team by hearing other success stories and insights while providing a platform for idea generation.
It provides an opportunity for your employees to challenge their way of thinking and reinforces a culture of learning and development which is important for growth.
In the past, Creative Niche has brought in thought leaders in radical candor, DEI, and LGBTQ2S, for example.
Ultimately, people want to work at companies that acknowledge the whole person. Culture, connection, and authenticity work together in synchronization, and it is up to you, the leaders, to develop and implement relevant strategies that promote a positive employee experience which will, in turn, influence your company’s culture.