It’s got to be aligned with your purpose and values
Your workplace culture should stem from your purpose and values – or it won’t be authentic, just a jumble of behaviours and perks. Your purpose is the direction you’re going in and your values are the way you’ll achieve that. Your culture should be made up of behaviours and habits that reflect your values and purpose.
Good foundations for a strong culture
Communication and collaboration
Be open, communicate often and make sure everyone knows what your purpose and values are and why they are important. When your whole team is invested in the direction you’re going in and are invited to play a role in getting you there they will be more engaged. Treating people like collaborators in the business rather than employees empowers them to do their best work and creates a culture where people feel connected to your purpose.
Anyone can offer an office perk, a beer fridge, a fruit bowl, gym membership, and while benefits like these are still important, they don’t on their own develop culture – and with a geographically fragmented team have less relevance. Meaningful rituals, however, can connect your team to your values and purpose through shared experience. There isn't a one size fits all answer to what makes a good ritual – it could be based around shared learning, eating together, getting outdoor exercise together, marking birthdays with a collective cake drop, or just all downing tools at 3pm on a Friday. Think about what rituals could align with your values and will stick.
Growth and development
A team that grows together stays together. Put in place a clear and democratic development programme and give your team space to grow. Development is about more than promotions or sending people on courses, think about buddying up new hires with established team members, encouraging cross-department collaboration and lunch and learn sessions.
Be consistent and authentic
Office – and remote working – trends will come and go. Remember when everyone had a ping-pong table and little patches of fake grass? When Friday Zoom quizzes were all the rage? Don’t focus on what everyone else is doing and try to replicate the latest trends, what’s right for the culture of one business will jar with the culture of another. Put in place authentic habits and rituals, and while change is good, don’t feel like you need to introduce new things all the time.