Every company I talk to understands the importance of having a great culture and how company culture can be used as a competitive advantage to build a great brand, to recruit and retain talent, and to build strong relationships with your customers and vendors. However, there is a common misconception these days, especially in tech startups, that having perks like free snacks, food, beer, whiskey, game room, music room, nap room, and ping pong tables creates a strong company culture. While there is nothing wrong with having perks for your employees, it’s important to know that merely having perks does not create a strong, unified, and unique company culture.
Before we explore how you can actually create a strong company culture, let’s discuss the definition of company culture and the criteria for having a strong culture. Chris Argyris, one of the most famous business theorist defines company culture as the collective behavior of people in your organization. Since the way people behave are shaped by the things they value the most, i.e. their inner core values, a company has a strong and unified culture when the people in the organization value the same things. Therefore, your company has a strong culture only if your employees have personal values that are in alignment with your company core values.
In order to create a strong culture, you need to develop your company core values. If you haven’t done so already, here are 10 steps you can take to develop you company core values. Once you have developed your core values, you have to totally commit to them. This means hiring, recognizing, promoting, and terminating people based on alignment with your company core values. By committing fully to your core values, you will create a strong, unified, and unique culture; not by having a keg in your office. Now just like the online shoe company, Zappos, one of your core values may be creating fun and in that case having fun activities in your office and perks may contribute to building a strong culture; but keep in mind that Zappos has 9 other core values that are equally as important and Zappos invests heavily on all their core values.Tags: alignment of core values, Chris Argyris, company perks, Culture as competitive advantage, unique company culture, Zappos