How to Build and Improve Work Culture

A positive company culture is extremely powerful. When a business works to improve work culture, it boosts productivity, builds trust, and improves communication—all while turning your business into a walking recruitment billboard. People talk about businesses that have an amazing company culture. They become sought-after workplaces that attract top talent and retain existing team members because no one wants to leave.

This post is all about workplace culture, including how to develop core values, how to improve company culture, and ideas to improve company culture based on real-world examples.

 


 

How to Develop Company Values

Choose Your Core Values

Core values are the fundamental beliefs an organization holds that serve as an unwavering set of morals for the company. They help guide decisions of all types, from hiring the ideal team to making smart product choices to how to grow the business.

An inspiring vision statement is part of your company's brand, but it only depicts what your business does and where it wants to go. Values run deeper, guiding every decision the business makes.

Take time to develop your core values by considering what your business values most. What brands do you admire? What businesses do you want to emulate?

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At Blue Summit Supplies, our CEO Owen says his process involved “a lot of learning through failure. I actually started ours on a plane—I copied someone else’s and tweaked them until I was happy.”

 


 

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Blue Summit’s Core Values:

  1. Learn, innovate, and think differently
  2. Embrace scale and think big
  3. Believe in what you do
  4. Create resourcefulness and innovation through frugality
  5. Embrace the power of profit

 


 

Live Your Core Values

Developing organizational culture takes time. The next step in developing core values is to begin living them. It’s not enough to choose them—you need to own these values, ensure everyone understands them, and make decisions based on these values.

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Reiterate them with your team during important meetings or retreats. You can also put these values on display in your workplace for everyone to see, such as creating a values wall or framing the list in important areas of the workplace.

Having a clear understanding of what your business values will help solidify and improve company culture across your organization.

 

How to Improve Work Culture

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Culture Hiring

Hiring for organizational fit is one of the top ways to improve company culture. This type of hiring ensures everyone on your team is aligned around the same values. This doesn’t mean everyone is the exact same—it means you share common morals and agree on the mission and vision of the business.

In the hiring process, ask questions that will help you understand the candidate beyond their ability to complete the job. What are they looking for from an employer? How do they behave as a member of a team? Do their values and goals align with your company’s values and goals?

Ensure the people you hire hold the same values as your brand. Secondly, make sure new hires complement your existing team. Consider how your current team works, communicates, and problem solves. What’s missing to establish balance across your team?

 

💡 Learn more in our article: Organizational Fit: The Importance of Culture Hiring

 

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Be Honest and Transparent

A positive work culture is built on trust, not secrets. Leaders, managers, and business owners need to be transparent with team members about the business, where it’s going, and what’s expected of everyone. Withholding information only leads to unpleasant surprises, and it signals to your team that you don’t trust them.

Transparency prevents rumors and disinformation from spreading, improves problem solving, and builds strong relationships across the organization, all of which contribute to a positive workplace culture. Encourage open communication, honest discord, and continuous feedback in all facets of the business for improved employee engagement and culture.

 

💡 The Importance of Transparent Communication in the Workplace

 

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Provide Flexibility

Flexibility is another aspect of showing your team that you trust them. Work culture is at its best when no one feels like they have someone looking over their shoulder at every moment.

Hire good people who work hard and believe in your company’s vision, and then trust them to do their work. Offer flexibility within the workplace, including flexible hours and work from home options. If you truly believe in your team, you shouldn’t need to babysit them.

The flexibility will help your team live healthy, balanced lives while preventing costly burnout in the workplace. Flexible options are desirable, so beyond improving your company culture, you’ll also attract talent and retain your current hires.

 

💡 The Benefits of Work-Life Balance and How to Maintain It

 

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Prioritize Team Building

One of the most simple and effective ways to improve your company culture is to invest in team building activities. It’s critical that your team has time to spend together outside of the daily grind of work tasks. Team building helps teams get to know each other better, builds rapport, improves communication skills, and boosts morale.

Team building activities come in all shapes and sizes, from retreats to pre-meeting ice breakers. If you have a remote team, it’s all the more important to prioritize virtual team building since these team members don’t have the same access to impromptu activities and conversations in the workplace.

Often, team building can be paired with a learning opportunity that may or may not have anything to do with business skills. Some ideas include escape rooms, wine tastings, crafting, yoga classes, lunch and learns, or personality assessments.

 

💡 Why Team Building is Important and How We Do It

 

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Celebrate Wins Together

Celebrating wins feels good, and it motivates the team to keep working toward common goals. Take the time to celebrate when good things happen, whether it’s a completed project, sales goal met, new client, promotion, or work anniversary.

Even small celebrations, such as a paid company lunch or celebratory cake, bring the team together in a positive way. Give credit where credit is due, and don’t be afraid to stop for a moment to bask in your success.

 

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Ensure Values Are Owned By Everyone

A company’s culture is company-wide. It shouldn’t matter if you’re the CEO or a new hire—you all must play by the same rules and respect the business’ values.

Company culture is built and maintained as a team—and that means everyone is a part of it. Ensure your business values are lived by everyone to gain the most benefits. Remind the team of what your business believes in by reiterating your values at large-scale meetings or hanging your team's values in a prominent spot in your workplace.

 

 


 

Positive Company Culture Examples to Emulate

Word of an exceptional company culture travels as fast as juicy gossip. When people truly love working somewhere, they talk about it. They tell their family and friends and become completely dedicated and loyal to the workplace they love.

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There are many business examples that prove the power of a good company culture.

Zappos, for example, has built a reputation for having a company culture based on happiness. The CEO, Tony Hsieh, prides himself on giving employees the freedom to be themselves and establishing a work environment that prioritizes the happiness of each and every employee.

Hsieh says, “Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.”

 

The Core Values that drive Zappos are:

  1. Deliver Wow Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More with Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble

 

Netflix built a workplace culture around having no rules. Instead of imposing rules and restrictions on team members, they focus on hiring great people. From their experience, rule-driven companies can’t keep up, and in the end, they lose because they aren’t able to adapt.

Google prides itself on breaking from the typical corporate culture to provide unique experiences that prioritize employee happiness. They provide countless perks to team members that make Google a desirable place to work and prevent people from wanting to seek employment elsewhere. Some of the workplace perks include free breakfast, lunch, and dinner, on-site physicians, swimming pools, and subsidized massages.

 


 

More Resources For Improving Workplace Culture

💡 7 Actionable Strategies for Better Communication in the Workplace

💡 Utilizing the Enneagram in Workplace Situations: A Guide for Managers

💡 How to Make Office Friends and Get Along with Coworkers

 

We’re always looking for new ways to improve workplace culture and wellbeing. Follow our office supplies blog for the latest trends, office strategies, product comparisons, and more.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jordan works remotely, from home or abroad, on projects that increase brand awareness, online engagement, and website traffic. She specializes in clear and concise writing that helps businesses conquer their online messaging. Through human-centered content, she aims to delight both human readers and Google bots. Spark an immediate and detailed conversation by mentioning Mad Men or Game of Thrones.

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