How to Build a Strong Company Culture

Like individuals, each corporation has its own personality. The culture becomes the organization’s foundation. and its strength or weakness leads to business success or failure. Therefore, executives need to first determine what type of culture they want to create and then devise a plan to transform their thoughts into action.

Corporate culture refers to beliefs, practices, and values associated with a particular organization. These ideals may be made tangible in a mission statement or other documents that outline how the company views itself. But it also germinates from how the firm conducts its business, both externally, in terms of collaborating with customers and partners, and internally in how it hires and promotes employees.


Know Thyself

Executives found a company with an implicit vision of its culture. To be effective, they need to make that perception explicit to themselves and their employees.

The first step is recognizing that a company culture is formed as soon as they open for business.  But they also can influence and shape the organization into a business that accurately reflects their best themselves and the enterprise.


A Quartet of Organizational Models

Businesses put processes in place to complete work, creating products, delivering services, or helping others.  How they go about the work varies dramatically. Four types of organizations are common.



The predominant legacy approach. Here, the business establishes well-defined, formal, structured workflows. Typically, the firm operates from the top down and depends on authority, hierarchy, and procedures to complete its work.

This approach was popular in areas, like manufacturing. In such cases, success or failure stemmed from a focus on efficiency, reliability, consistency, and execution. The idea was to break work down into predictable pieces and fine tune each one. Staff had set tasks to complete. If they did them accurately, efficiently, and correctly, they were rewarded. The organization expected employees to put in a hard, honest day’s work in exchange for a set wage and a steady job.



Entrepreneurial environments value innovation, risk-taking, experimentation, and creativity. Individual initiative and freedom of expression are encouraged. The atmosphere is dynamic and free-wheeling.

Structure is often in the process of being developed, roles are not always clearly defined, and change is constant. In essence, the business veers to whatever it sees as needed at the moment in order for it to take the next step. Long term planning is a low priority, and the enterprise usually does not emphasize and follow set policies and procedures.



This goal-oriented culture emphasizes delivering maximum results. Policies, procedures, and measures are aligned to respond to market demands.

A meritocracy is created, and the workplace is challenging and very competitive. Employees are expected to put the company first, before family, friends, and self, and do whatever is needed in order to help it succeed. Top performers are rewarded and highly regarded; low performers are often cast aside. This workplace is high stress, high risk, and high financial reward.



This approach emphasizes collaboration and support. Executives strive to create a friendly, welcoming environment.  There is a high level of personal involvement and teamwork.  Managers are relationship-oriented and express their feelings openly. Trust and morale are highly valued. At times, established policies may be disregarded to maintain positive personal relationships.


Build Your Core Values

Once a company determines which of the four models best suit its workstyle, it needs to examine its core values, which support the vision, shape the culture, and reflect the company’s beliefs.  They are described by a broad range of nouns that focus on both how the company operates (commitment, consistency, reliability, efficiency), and how it treats people (dependability, loyalty, honesty, equitably).

The key considerations dramatically changed since the pandemic. In the past, the separation between work life and personal life was clear.  Work was the means necessary to gain the money needed to pay the bills. When the pandemic struck, many employees (88%) took a closer look at what they wanted from their work and did not find it in their current positions In fact, 4.5 million people quit their jobs in November 2021.

Many employees wanted more from their jobs than just a paycheck. They desired a sense of satisfaction stemming from what their company does, such as serving others or protecting the planet. So, they began to dig deeper and evaluate a company’s mission statement and the public’s perception of it when seeking employment.

In response, the staffing process morphed. When wooing new and trying to keep current employees, many businesses now emphasize their purpose, such as support for diversity and inclusion, as well as the business fundamentals, like what type of product they create.


Conduct a Self-Evaluation

Next, a business needs to turn its thoughts into action. The process begins with understanding how employees perceive the company’s culture. Usually, this step revolves around a survey that asks them about items, like the openness of communication, support for diversity and inclusion, and if they feel valued.  Anonymous surveys create a positive work culture, one built on trust, communication, and collaboration.

The survey results illustrate what is going well and what needs to be better. Management must then devise a plan to improve the weak areas. Often, this step involves bringing in an outside specialist and conducting various training exercises. In addition, the company can create consistent messaging and share it with all department managers. In this way, business processes create more unification.

Timelines are set to show improvement. Later, another round of surveys is conducted. The results illustrate how well the business is performing against its benchmarks. The results are shared companywide, so everyone understands how much progress is being made and how much work still remains.

During the process, it is important for management to not only ask your employees for their feedback but also, and most importantly, implement ideas that have merit. Employees are often skeptical of management’s intentions. Only by seeing their input turn into action will they significantly invest in the process.

So why go through the self-evaluation? Toxic workplaces cost US employers $223 billion in turnover over a five year period, according to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).  As noted, competition for quality help is intense. To attract and keep top performers, a business needs to create an appealing corporate culture.

Planning a culture audit? Let the team at True Synergy facilitate your culture audit or assessment and dig into the data to see if there are any gaps in your people operations process and build a new culture change strategy.  Contact us today!

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True Synergy, Inc