Building Company Culture Isn’t Just About Throwing Parties — Focus on These Steps Instead

Establishing a positive culture comes with a host of benefits for your business and employees. Here’s how to build a great work environment.


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Building Company Culture Isn't Just About Throwing Parties — Focus on These Steps Instead

Positive company culture is at the root of a successful business. However, there are many ways you can build company culture depending on how you define it.

Some may believe it means how a business looks on the outside: bean bag chairs, casual dress code, a snazzy mission statement. Others consider that to build great company culture, you need to throw the best parties, always have beer on tap, or encourage group happy hours. Yet, are these ideas what will motivate your employees to work hard for your business?

Establishing a positive company culture can come with a host of benefits. Let’s explore what positive company culture is and define some steps to build it.

Defining company culture and creating a positive environment

Company culture means setting up customs, values, norms, and beliefs that align with the business you want to build. Culture is everything that happens within and outside office walls. It’s defined by the people you hire, how you interact, and the mindsets each individual has that push the day-to-day forward.

Building a positive environment for your employees means providing a space where they can be creative, and feel safe to explore new ideas. By defining your business values, you can reap the benefits of a motivated, collaborative, and productive team.

Company culture is more than throwing parties because the intention behind it doesn’t speak to the goals of the business and the environment you want to build. For example, getting drinks with coworkers can loosen some of the tension of working in an office.

Company culture means setting up customs, values, norms, and beliefs that align with the business you want to build.

But, 1 drink too many hurt a delicate work relationship. You also isolate employees who do not drink or have other obligations outside of work they must attend to.

Instead, create a work environment that demonstrates your values. This can support your product, attract qualified candidates, improve retention, and maintain a positive workspace. Take a moment to consider what is most important to you and your employees to develop a successful company culture.

How to define your company culture: key elements

As you sit down and evaluate what your company culture will look like, there are several key elements to consider as you draw up the details.

Mission statements

Your mission describes what your company is built on, and why you continue to come to work every day. It could be a short, single sentence or a full paragraph. The statement should describe your goals as a business in a way that candidates and established team members can get excited about.

Values and ethics

Your values and ethics will define every aspect of your business. Do you lead with integrity and empathy? When it comes to customer feedback, do your employees come first? What if an employee’s daycare closes for the day and they have to leave for the rest of the day. How do you approach that situation?

Every business wants to see its bottom line improve. But that’s only possible when your values and ethics align with the happiness and appreciation of your employees.

Office space atmosphere

Your work environment includes how comfortable your workspaces are. You may consider including a breakout room for a quiet space and creativity. Or, opt for an open-concept office to encourage more collaboration among teams. The cubicle office space style with fluorescent tube lighting can hurt more than help.

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Steps toward developing an excellent company culture

The best part about building a positive work culture is that it can happen on any budget and within any company size. As long as you want to invest in your employees, their happiness, and well-being, then a positive work environment will follow.

For a clearer step-by-step process on how to build a positive corporate culture, here are some ideas you can implement:

Get to know your employees

Your employees will be the people who benefit from positive company culture. The best way to build a positive environment for them is by getting to know what type of space they want to work in.

Including their favorite coffee in the break room, celebrating every success, or offering a flexible work schedule could be some small but impactful ways you can build a company culture. Listen to their needs and learn about ways to implement them.

Draft your company culture standards

Sit down with stakeholders of your business and define what the basis of your company culture may look like. Some common words you may use to describe culture include autonomous, nurturing, engaging, collaborative, or challenging.

These words will describe the types of people you want to help build and maintain your culture with you. Getting your goals on paper can help you better communicate with your teams.

Ensure leadership lives by and instills these standards

The best way to ensure your company culture lasts is to ensure your managers and all upper suite employees are on board. They should set an example for cultural standards in the office.

A 2019 Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) survey found that only 15% of businesses were successful in establishing company culture. The same survey found that 78% believe the CEO should carry out any change in company culture.

Focus on employee wellness

Getting to know your employees is a great 1st step toward building culture. But, no organization can expect to develop a positive work environment without considering employees’ health first.

Employees who feel good physically, psychologically, and emotionally can offer not only a peaceful space to work but a productive and motivated one as well. For example, offer employees mental health tools and resources. Tools like on-site healthcare opportunities or a robust employee benefits package can also support wellness.

Listen to employee needs

This may come in the form of a monthly or yearly survey on employee satisfaction, or a 1-on-1 conversation during annual reviews. Regardless of the method, taking time to listen to your employees is vital to success.

Employees are more than bodies checking off everyday to-do lists. Listening to their needs, concerns, wins, and losses can ensure they feel valued.

Do not compromise company culture

Attracting and hiring talented candidates is an exceptional benefit to implementing a positive work environment. However, you must ensure everyone is on board.

Resistance or reluctance to cultivate a great workplace should not be acceptable. Your employees’ happiness comes first, and anyone who challenges that value should be reconsidered as part of the team.

Zenefits can help you get started

From the well-being of your employees to a seamless payroll system, Zenefits has your HR needs covered. To learn more about how to cultivate a positive work environment, read on in our resources section. But, if you’re ready to get started, contact a Zenefits representative today.


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