Why You Should Be Intentional About Your Culture

Jamie Nichol September 12, 2016 Culture

This is a guest post from our friends at CultureIQ

“My company doesn’t have a culture”

It’s a phrase we hear a lot. However, this is one of the biggest misconceptions about company culture. Culture is how things get done in an organization, so really all companies have a culture, whether it’s benefiting your business or not.

This is exactly why it’s so important to be intentional about your company culture. A positive, strategic culture is the difference between being “just another company” and being a high-performance powerhouse.

Here are a few ways you can guide your culture with intention, while maintaining authenticity.


1. Identify what a strategic culture means for your organization.

Business leaders are responsible for delivering their promise to customers, shareholders, and employees, and a truly strategic culture helps you do just that. Brandon Smith, adjunct professor at Goizueta Business School and founder of the Worksmiths, explains that a strategic culture is where leadership values, customer values, and employee values overlap. When you combine these elements, your culture strategy is aligned with your business strategy and outcomes.

Therefore, to apply this concept into your organization, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the values of your leadership, employees, and customers?
  • What does this mean for how you are making decisions and operating?
  • How does this compare to how you are currently operating?



2. Use the employee voice to guide your culture.

Did you know that executives tend to be overly optimistic about the state of engagement in their company? This makes it hard to advocate for action or investments in culture programs. By actively listening to your team and collecting ongoing employee feedback, you’ll be able to paint an accurate picture of your company culture and express that to stakeholders. Aggregating these insights will reveal strengths and opportunities, and empower you to make culture decisions backed by data.

Further, don’t be afraid to course correct! Guiding your culture with intention is all about iterating based on feedback or changing needs.


3. Root your programming in values.

With all the buzz culture in the news these days, it’s tempting to try out every cool program and perk you encounter. But, as you probably guessed, that isn’t the best use of resources. Instead, take what you learned from identifying your strategic culture (point 1), couple it with the insight from employee feedback (point 2), and use that to determine the programming that aligns with your culture. These are the initiatives that will address employee needs, while staying authentic to your culture and true to your business goals.

For example, in our last post we talked about values-based perks and provided Asana as an example. They offer the perk of daily on-site yoga to align with their value “embrace mindfulness and equanimity.” This perk also aligns with brand they use to attract customers to achieve their business success.

Being intentional about your company culture isn’t about having it all figured out. It’s about being proactive and looking for opportunities to improve, while working towards your business goals.