Defining culture is like defining a brand. It's who you are. It’s what makes you memorable. It’s what makes people want to do business with you.
In business, there are five key elements of culture:
- Vibe and Energy
- Norms and Processes
- History: The experiences that make you who you are today as a company
As companies grow, newer employees have no connection the company’s history. They don’t know about the early days, the struggles, the times when a handful of employees wore many hats.
It’s important to share those stories in order to grow what we at Mitchell like to call “authentic culture.” This is created one employee at a time. You must take the time to tell stories that bring the culture to life – that make it stick.
Here are three simple ways to be a culture champion:
- Be a storyteller. Tell employees the history of the company, but don’t make it part of onboarding. New employees are already overwhelmed with learning their job, learning who their co-workers are, and figuring out how and where they fit in. Tell the stories at informal gatherings with small groups of employees from different departments.
- Be a listener. Those same meetings are the perfect opportunity for you to learn. Open up the room for questions about anything. Give people a chance to share with you and each other. Look for cues that employees want to know more, have greater involvement or simply want to offer fresh thinking.
- Celebrate success. Don’t wait for an annual meeting or holiday dinner to talk about the business. Do it regularly, and not just when benchmarks are reached. Celebrate the climb. Showcase accomplishments, successes, client wins and help everybody learn what the company does. This will lead to further collaboration and cross-selling.