The Growth Series

How to build the company culture you want

Your company culture should pervade every aspect of how your business functions, from the processes you have in place, to the welfare and treatment of employees and customers.

That means it can fundamentally affect and drive the wider performance of your business, and if done well, set it on a positive trajectory for the future.

So what does creating a company culture actually involve, and what practical steps can you take to foster the environment you wish to see?

Set clear values

The first step to take is to identify your core principles and beliefs. What drives you? What matters to you? What type of environment would you like to create and nurture around you?

Once you’ve identified the values you want to promote and encourage, you can create policies that embrace and reflect these principles.

For example, if you’re committed to minimising your environmental impact, make sure your company practices and policies reflect that - and that your team understands the importance of reducing their carbon footprint.

Alternatively, if equality, diversity and inclusion is a priority, then make sure your recruitment process doesn’t inadvertently disadvantage any particular demographic, and that each and every person feels free to be themselves at work without prejudice or unfair treatment.

Read more: 
Understanding and Improving Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Mortgage Sector

Why Embracing EDI Should be an Ongoing Process

Equality And Diversity Statement Template

Define your mission statement

Try to sum up your goals and guiding principles in a sentence, one that’s inspirational, inclusive and accurately conveys your ethos.

While you may introduce more detailed policies and measures to instill your values across the business, an effective mission statement should act as a simple summary of what you’re all about.

At the same time, it can be an easy check and measure of whether you’re living according to your principles, both for you and your wider team.

Set goals

Make sure your overall business strategy and objectives are compatible with your values, and that these are well-defined.

One way to ensure that your goals are clear is to check them against the SMART model. Each objective should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Following this model gives you a tangible idea of what you want to achieve, a way to track your progress and rate your success, and a set date you want to have reached your goal by.

This approach also helps to ensure that each and every employee knows the part they have to play in delivering on these objectives.

Set an example

A company’s culture is set at the top, so you and other senior figures need to embody it day after day, and demonstrate the values and behaviours you expect of others.

That, in turn, can encourage employee buy-in and lead to them adopting your ethos day to day.

Encourage openness and transparency

The best businesses are those where employees at all levels feel comfortable giving honest and constructive suggestions and feedback. 

This empowers employees from all backgrounds to speak up if there’s an issue. For instance, they may feel a certain action, policy or plan within your business doesn’t reflect your culture and guiding ethos.  A working environment in which they can freely raise the concern and you can address it can only be a good thing

It can help to identify issues you may have missed or overlooked, root out problems such as unconscious bias, and allow employees to feel valued and listened to.

At the same time, it encourages innovation across a business, as each and every person will have their own views on where improvements can be made and opportunities can be capitalised upon.

Read more: How can you support your team’s mental health - while protecting your own?

Creating and nurturing a company culture that reflects your views, beliefs and priorities can have countless benefits.

For example, it can transform your reputation as an employer, making you more attractive to top talent in your industry and an appealing option to people who share similar values to you.

Fostering a positive culture can also encourage staff retention and loyalty, as it can help your team feel happier, more productive and engaged.

In addition, it can give you the distinctive proposition you need to stand out to prospective clients. Many people will base their purchasing decisions on a brand’s values and the ethos they promote and practice, so creating the right culture could be the deciding factor that convinces them you’re the best company to do business with.

None of these steps need to be prohibitively expensive or time-consuming to put in place, but the returns you will enjoy - both financially and in terms of your brand reputation - could be transformative.

Find out more: Podcast #49 - Creating a healthy workplace culture

Read more: 5 Ways to Make Your Business More Resilient


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