It's not a buzzword and it's not going away any time soon.
Business owners and managers are still working at unpacking what "workplace culture" even means. So here's a handy list of tips to get you started.
9 Things to Know About Company Culture
1. It's here to stay
It's not enough to just build a good product or service anymore. To be competitive, companies need to have the culture that help their employees thrive.
Your company can only be as successful as your employees are.
"Company culture" is no longer a buzzword, it's a real aspect of doing business.
2. The foosball table is dead
The foosball table is the iconic throw-back image of what might represent a blind stab at building "culture." Originally it was an attempt to provide employees with a way to let off steam and have a mental break during the day.
But like anything, it's not enough to just go out and buy something you think represents "good culture" and leave it at that. (See Tip #6.)
Company culture isn't about how many foosball tables are in the building. The magic of the foosball table isn't in the table itself, but in the way it's used to cultivate the culture you want.
3. Your bottom line depends on it
Happy workers are productive workers. And you can create happy employees through your efforts to build great culture.
When your workers feel valued and respected at work, and they have enough time outside of work to enjoy other parts of life, your company will become more productive.
4. It's not a secret anymore
We are all part of a newly public conversation about anything and everything we encounter. Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc -- all the social media platforms allow people to state their views on whatever they want. Including their workplace.
If you treat your employees poorly, the world will know about it.
Your current and past employees are talking about you as much as your customers are -- so you better hope they have good things to say.
5. It's a group effort
It's not just up to the management to build great culture. And it's not just up to the workers. It has to be a communal effort.
Shaping your company culture, like building a wellness program, has to be based on knowing what people want. Get input from employees, managers, the CEO, and everyone else in the company to know exactly what kind of company they want to be involved with.
6. You can't fake it
Like the foosball example in Tip #2, you can't just drop something in the break room and call it a day. No one is going to use that foosball table (or any other random thing), if they're constantly getting the side-eye while doing so.
You can't start having weekly happy hour meet-ups and expect anyone to show up if the work isn't done to connect with people. Building great workplace culture has to be authentic -- not just something to try out and then drop it when it doesn't work.
It takes time to develop workplace culture into something substantial.
7. It requires some vulnerability
Everyone needs to be able to take criticism and have conversations about what's working and what's not. This avoids the potential for bad feelings to stew.
Employees aren't stepping up their game when they need to? They need to be talked to person-to-person, rather than sent through some bureaucratic paper trail of "discipline."
Do mangers need to be more clear in their directives? Employees should be able to bring it up without fear of getting reprimanded.
8. Your hiring pool expects it
To be a contender in any industry, you want to hire the best candidates for the job. A huge part of recruiting top talent is being able to provide an enjoyable workplace.
The average work week for full-time workers is more than 40 hours a week. (source). People want that time spent in a pleasant, supportive atmosphere.
So if you're not paying attention to building great culture, don't expect top talent recruits to pay attention to your company.
9. It's organic
No, not organic like local farmer's market GMO-free kale. Culture is organic in the sense that it is created naturally out of the values and work of the people in the company.
Every company has culture -- it might be good, it might be bad, it might be somewhere in between, but it exists.
So it makes sense to pay attention to shaping that culture into something that works for your whole company.