Should Your Employees Define Your Company’s Culture?

The short answer is Yes!

Wouldn’t it be great if your employees created such an incredible work environment that they actually challenged each other to aim for bigger goals? Culture is the answer to make it happen.

Every organization has a culture. But only successful companies have an authentic culture whereby living their values helps them achieve their overall business strategies.

Companies that don’t invest in shaping their culture, among other things, oftentimes end up with a high employee turnover. 67% of the employees working in the U.S. software development industry are not engaged with their company. This is a statistic to worry about.

At Nearsoft, we developed our culture organically and we are still living by our core values. As we have grown this has been a challenge, but the effort is more than worthwhile when we see the results.

We want to share the lessons we have learned.

Happy Employees Means Higher Productivity

I am sure you’ve heard this before: Employees are more productive if they can be happy. And not just “W00t” happy, but meaningfully so.

Business owners, especially in the tech industry, try to motivate their teams with incentives like free food, gaming rooms, celebrations, and other perks. While all these are awesome things, none of these approaches will build an authentic, long-lasting culture.

Core values need to be the guiding principles that help shape and meaning to your culture and brand.

Successful Companies That Have Embraced Their Core Values

Google
“We believe that great, creative things are more likely to happen with the right company culture–and that doesn’t just mean lava lamps and rubber balls.” (See Ten things we know to be true)
Twitter
”Our Mission statement is our compass when we’re building the platform and developing new products and policies. We want to empower individuals and be a force for good in the world.” – (See Twitter mission statement)
Airbnb
“The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation. If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products.” – Brian Chesky Co-founder, CEO of Airbnb. (See Together at Airbnb)
Facebook
“As we grow as a company we have five strong values that guide the way we work and the decisions we make each day to help achieve our mission.” (See The 5 values Facebook looks for in every employee)
Netflix
“The actual company values, as opposed to the nice-sounding values, are shown by who gets rewarded, promoted or let go. Actual company values are the behaviors and skills that are valued in fellow employees” (See Netflix Culture: Freedom and Responsibility)
should-mere-employees-define-your-company-culture-side

How to Find Your Company Values

Values are going to look different for every team. So how do you figure out the values that will make your team happy and help your company grow?

Decide If You Are Ready to Commit to Your Values

Be aware that having an authentic culture means that every business decision made in your company will depend on your core values. It requires patience and commitment when letting your employees define a culture that will dictate the future of your company.
It’s difficult to take the leap, but it’s absolutely rewarding.

Let Your Employees Define Meaningful Values

Every staff member should be included in the design process, and we mean every single one. If managers choose your company values, employees will then look to processes, not people, to solve problems. This just doesn’t work.

What you want to discover is,

  • What working at your company is like.
  • What inspires your team to get up and go to work everyday.
  • What they value the most about their coworkers.
  • What they love and hate about their jobs.

This discovery process is best done with a Human Centered Design approach, where teams collaborate and openly share their ideas in brainstorming sessions.

Now You Have to LIVE by them

Now that you have found your values, here is the most challenging part. Living your values. This will impact every aspect of how you manage your business. From communication, process, recruitment, decision making and business strategies.

Communication

Whatever it is that you sell, we live in an era chock-full of convenience products. How you communicate with your customers, will depend on how they perceive your culture. And will make all of the difference for them. If customers receive one positive experience after another, they will embrace your brand.

Decision Making

You need to make your everyday decisions based on the company values. And encourage your employees to do so.
The values should be reflected everywhere – how they talk to team members, what they do to challenge others, and how they communicate with clients.

Recruitment process

You need to create a recruitment process that incorporates team interviews to test cultural fit.
Technical skills are something that can be easily taught or learned on the job, but changing a personality is quite difficult (aka impossible). It is highly recommended to include an onboarding process that familiarizes your new hires with the culture and allows them bond with people.

Business strategies

Whether your company is a large or small, you must remember that the human factor is the most important one. By shaping your company’s culture you will have a happier workforce.
As a result, every team member will be motivated to drive revenue and business growth as if they were the CEO themselves.

Finally …

At Nearsoft, we live by our values everyday, and you can see that on the faces of our people. They help us design our own future.

We defined our core values since our foundation through Innovation Games framework. It was such a positive impact, that we now have a team specialized on User Experience. We facilitate Human Centered Workshops internally to improve our processes, services and projects.

Have a story to tell? We would love to hear it. Or maybe we can help you write it. Send us a line at [email protected].

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