How to build a strong corporate culture that can grow your business

by Heat Recruitment

By Ross Bennett

When a new company is launched, its corporate culture is what makes it stand out before any indicators of performance are available. The culture is usually set by the company’s founder or senior leadership and, as the business grows, it becomes ever more entwined with the company’s business practices.

But if the company culture is wrong at the start, each product launch or new hire will only set the business more off course. As it is so embedded in the way the business operates, company culture can be very difficult to change, so it’s worth spending time to make sure you get it right at the start.

Here are some key ways to build a strong corporate culture:

Have a clear mission statement

All too often, organisations focus almost exclusively on what they do, and forget to consider why and how they do it. Having a clear company vision or mission statement that connects the business to the wider community can really help to inspire and engage your employees.

The best mission statements are inspirational but authentic… as these famous examples demonstrate:

  • IKEA – “Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people.”
  • Facebook – “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
  • Virgin Atlantic – “To embrace the human spirit and let it fly.”
  • Innocent – “To make drinks that make it easy to do yourself some good.”

Define your company values

All too often, companies come up with a series of inspirational-sounding values, stick them up on their wall and then forget about them. Organisations with a strong culture are those where the company values are really embedded in all of their working practices; the values should act as a code of behaviour for your employees.

You need to make sure your values actually represent the reality of working at your company (and its aspirations) and that you have ways to measure whether those principles are being upheld. Recognising and rewarding employees who display the behaviours the company values is key to embedding them firmly within the corporate culture. For example, many companies claim to value flexibility, but if they only promote employees who work long hours, this message will clearly be undermined.

Lead by example

A company’s senior leadership are those who most demonstrate what behaviours, ethics and practices the company really values, both internally to its employees and externally to the wider public. It’s crucial that they really embrace the corporate culture and help to inspire others.

There will also be other members of staff throughout the organisation who really embody your organisation’s values, whether that’s through supplying excellent customer service on the sales floor or going the extra mile to make sure their co-workers are supported. Recognising these people as ambassadors for your culture and thanking them for their work helps to inspire other employees to do the same and proves that your culture is authentic.

Recruit to fit your culture

As you expand and bring on new employees, it is vital that you hire people who fit in with your corporate culture, as they will be the most loyal and productive members of staff. Discovering a candidate’s core values and beliefs can be much trickier than simply looking at their skills and experience.

Behavioural interview questions based on hypothetical situations, personality tests and taking detailed references are all good ways of getting a clearer picture of someone’s personality. Don’t just rely on your personal instincts to tell you if someone is likely to be a good fit and always get a neutral third party involved, if possible, to give you a second opinion.

If you decide to use a recruiter, make sure they will take the time to really get to know your organisation and assess its culture. The best recruiters prefer to do on-site visits and chat to employees to get a clear picture of what working for your company will be like. They will then use that information to shortlist suitable candidates and to get them enthusiastic about working for you.

If you’re looking to hire the right person to fit with your culture, Heat Recruitment has a growing team of specialists on hand to act as expert consultants – guiding the process from start to finish. Get in touch today – you’ll be thrilled you did.

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