Identifying the importance of company culture in the current age of mindful workers is similar to arguing the importance of water amongst plants. It’s common knowledge. After the soul-crushing downfall of the recent pandemic, workers have begun to rethink their value. The Great Resignation reigned supreme, causing disheveled employees to assess their working values. No longer are employees going to work for companies that do not appreciate them or share similar ideals. The establishment of company culture is crucial to creating a motivated and long-lasting workforce.
Furthermore, company culture directly affects the consumer. With small and accessible businesses popping up across the globe, potential customers are no longer forced to buy products from companies that have distasteful business or cultural practices. Consumers have the right to choose who they support, and they are doing so.
As a business, you have created and established a culture (hopefully). How do you demonstrate it to customers and potential employees? How do you show the world what you stand for and what your purpose is without seemingly flaunting disingenuous ideals?
Let’s get into it.
The Importance of Company Culture
Before we begin spewing off various tips and tricks, we need to reiterate the importance we stated above. To do so, we are going to introduce some cold, hard facts.
Get your fact brain on!
A 2019 study by GlassDoor found that 77% of workers consider a company’s culture before applying. A 2018 study by Jobvite found that 46% of candidates believe culture is very important when applying to a new job. 88% of those polled believed that culture was at least of relative importance.
It is important to remember that these statistics were established before the COVID-19 pandemic. The life-changing nature of the global pandemic caused employees to put even more importance on choosing the right company. For example, in 2022, Teamstage found that 86% of job seekers avoid companies with a bad reputation.
They taught us in grade school to back up our facts with a point. So, I shall.
If the statistics didn’t speak for themselves, then I will explain. Company culture has become a critical aspect of both creating a successful workforce and maintaining it. If you do not have an established and positive culture, you will have a plethora of problems finding and keeping great workers. And a business without great workers is a business with a short shelf-life, especially if customer service is involved in your specific sector.
What Exactly Is Company Culture?
Ultimately, it’s fairly difficult to define what the makeup of a team is. While picking the common goal is an easy way to specify a team, it’s both the purpose and group attitude that fully define it.
A company’s culture is the beliefs both owners and employees operate by. It is their moral orientation, the idea of business practices, and work ethics. The easiest way to put it is “It’s the way they do things.”
Furthermore, it’s why they do things. What’s the purpose of the business other than garnering profit and paychecks?
We defined it in our article Starting a Business? Here Are 5 Must-Haves for Success. To quote:
While everyone starts a business to make a profit (duh), there has to be more to it than that. Ultimately, your chances of success and determination are much higher when there is reasoning behind what you do. What is your reasoning?
Are you opening a pet store to provide no-nonsense food for an industry stuffed with fake ingredients? Are you starting an art-related store because you strongly believe in the benefits of artistic expression in human culture?
Regardless of how poetic or abstract your intentions are, you must have a reason for starting a business. At the end of the day, having a goal unrelated to profit will help you get through the tough times (which are surely going to occur). Even if profit is low, you still have a mission to hang on to.
So, You’ve Established a Culture
At the end of the day, the purpose of this article is not to try and create a plan for the establishment of company culture. Though it’s entirely possible we break down this process at a later date.
The point here is to show both customers and future employees that you have a positive culture in place. If blending with a job’s culture is so important to employees, then demonstrating the specific culture set in place is just as important for employers. You need to get the attention of applicants, after all.
If you are a small business starting out, attempting to establish a brand and cultural presence can be tough. Here are our tips:
It All Starts With Your Digital (and Real) Storefront
We’re a digital design and marketing company. Of course we were going to get into websites!
A company’s website is the first, and arguably most important, part of a business’s presence in the current golden internet age. Not only does it act as a hub for online sales, but it gives a quick and accessible glimpse into the mission and style behind the company. Ultimately, there is a fair bit of subconscious psychology that goes into web design. If a customer feels intrigued, comfortable, or impressed with your site, they are more liable to stick around.
Implementing the ideas of your culture and mission on your website is the first way to demonstrate your culture to the audience.
The simplest way to demonstrate company culture is to create an ‘About Us‘ page (or something within the same vein. I.e. Why Us, Our Mission, or Our Purpose). At the end of the day, there’s no better way to show your culture than to outright explain it.
If you decide that you do not want to outright describe your culture, use a combination of positive syntax and upbeat colors in your design. You can also implement things to show that you value your current workforce. For example, you could have a page praising a worker for an achievement or describing a star employee once a month.
There are a plethora of subtle and obvious ways to demonstrate company culture and purpose directly on the website.
Real Stores Matter, Too
These sentiments also stretch into your actual place of business (if you have one).
Firstly, a welcoming and inclusive business front is drastic in establishing a culture for both customers and incoming employees. Design matters. Colors matter. Music, overall energy, and lighting matter. Every little bit of your storefront’s design plays a subconscious factor in demonstrating both purpose and invitation.
Secondly, the attitude of your existing employees not only boosts sales but shows that a positive culture is already set in place. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as telling your employees to be better with customer service. Happy and motivated employees come naturally with a well-established culture. But, if it does exist, they will express it through their work ethic and actions.
A potential employee or customer can be easily deterred by upset workers. It quickly indicates that a bad culture may be existing throughout the workforce.
Finally, advertisements and displays you put up throughout the store can easily express your community-based culture. Maybe you allow local events or organizations to put posters in the window. Maybe you let your artistic employees display their art or store design. A community-driven vibe can easily be demonstrated by allowing the community to shine through your store.
Social Media Is Key
Much like your website, your social media presence is critical in establishing your culture and brand. You garner the most attention and outside clientele through your social media (especially in 2022). It’s a quick and harmless way to spark the eye of customers. Furthermore, when an applicant sees your job posting, they are liable to check your online presence.
How do you want to come across? Is your culture quirky and fun or serious and charitable? Allow your social media to show your true colors (especially if they are well-intended).
From colorful and funny memes to personal posts and employee spotlights, social media gives you a platform to demonstrate your company culture through a multitude of avenues.
For example, take a tweet by San Francisco BART:
Just a quick employee spotlight gives BART the cultural appearance of caring about their teammates.
Let it Shine Organically Through Employees
Though this tip takes a long amount of time to develop, it will forever stand true.
If you have a positive and effective work culture in place, it will eventually translate through your current and former employees organically. If your culture truly is great, employees will eventually spread the word around. Whether through word of mouth, reviews on job boards, or social media postings, employees will eventually spread the word about how great your company culture is.
This goes for customers, too. Customers love to share recommendations on places to shop. If you demonstrate great values, purpose, and products or services, word of mouth will eventually spread.
Stick to your guns and your company culture will spread like wildfire. Remaining true to your purpose is the most important tip.
Show Purpose Through Community Efforts
A genuine and effective way to demonstrate culture is to do so by helping the niche community you sell to.
For example, if you are a small pet store, allow a local shelter to hold an adoption day at your shop. Sponsor a local event for an animal organization. Set up a store booth at a local pet-related event.
While it may be seen as piggybacking off of the already-established culture of other organizations, it’s a great way to show what page you stand on. If your business openly supports another, it shows that you share the same values. It also shows that you care about the community around you.
Hold an Open House or In-Store Event
Unless you are an expert writer, it can be hard to come off as genuine over social media and websites. If you are having trouble establishing your culture in your community, you may need to vie for more in-person demonstrations. Sometimes it takes a person seeing your business or meeting your employees to truly feel your sense of positivity.
Social media has helped make our world exponentially smaller, but there is no better way of communication than in-person. Always.
If you want to demonstrate your culture to applicants, hold an open house for roles you have available. This in-person event will allow potential employees to actually feel out the workforce and company culture. They can shake hands and speak to actual employees in the workforce. If for some reason you cannot hold the event in-store, you can always do a video open house on an application like Zoom.
If you want to demonstrate your culture to customers and locals, hold an event for them in the store. As we said, allowing a local charity to hold a corresponding event can work (and be a win-win). If you are a local restaurant, you can always hold a small concert or poetry reading. Anything that will get new customers in the store to see your culture firsthand.