The 10 Commandments of Company Culture

Company culture. The words get thrown around a lot these days in management circles. But what do they really mean? A simple definition of culture is the customs, ideas, and behaviors of a people that define a country, a business, or a group. Culture serves as an invisible glue that binds people together.

If you’re trying to define your company culture, it’s important to find the invisible glue that represents your culture and then to create a list, some commandments if you will, that help to keep your company culture intact. If you’re in the process of creating your company’s culture, here are the ten commandments you should keep in mind as you move forward.


1. Know What Your Company’s Values Are


How can you strive to have a better company culture if you haven’t actually defined what that means? A company’s values should be one of the foundational components of your company’s culture, according to an article on the Forbes website. Before you can develop your office culture, you need to know what you value as a company and what steps you need to take to demonstrate what you value.

For example, if you’ve decided that one of your core values needs to be accountability, what tangible steps can you take or rules can you make to demonstrate that? Perhaps people in the office can dedicate themselves to be on time for work or to take responsibility for the mistakes they make on the job. Those types of subgoals fit within the larger goal of being accountable to each other.


2. Hire the Right People


The solidity of your company’s culture is predicated on hiring the right people, according to If you have an office environment filled with bad employees, no amount of employee perks, office playstations and company picnics will correct that.

Bad employees erode the trust that good employees feel toward their jobs, their bosses, and the company they work for. This is especially true if one of your workplace values is something like accountability. How can you build trust and accountability in your office culture if the people working for you are fundamentally dishonest? Starting with the right employees from the get-go helps you reinforce the work culture you want to foster.


3. Show Them What It Looks Like


The best bosses lead by example. You can’t expect the people you hire to support and live your company’s culture if you don’t. For instance, if one of your company values is physical, mental, and spiritual health, how can you enforce such a value if you yourself have a bad habit, like smoking? It will be impossible for you to convince your employees that they need to lead healthy lives if you don’t.


4. Help People Reach Their Potential


Many times, company bosses forget that their employees are their greatest resources. The Harvard Business Review reminds company bosses that money isn’t the only factor that motivates people to stay in a job. Your best employees want to be able to reach their potential. Allow them to do that.


5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.


It will be impossible for your employees to adhere to your company’s culture if they don’t know what it is. Granted, some aspects of a company’s culture develop organically and in an unspoken manner. This is no excuse, however, to not communicate what you do know about your company’s culture. Communicating your company’s culture to your employees gives them something to work towards. If they have no goal, they’ll just be lost regarding the company culture.


6. Avoid Gossip and Don’t Allow It To Thrive


Gossiping kills the goodwill in your company. It also affects how your customers and vendors see your company if the gossip gets out of control. It has a corrosive effect on a company and causes people to lose trust in you and your company. Create a policy of no gossip. Warn people if you catch them gossiping. If they continue to spread gossip, cut them loose.


7. Embrace the Humanity of Your People


Very often, companies seem like entities that exist for the sole purpose of hitting a bunch of numbers. While achieving your financial marks is important, it is the humanity of your company and what it does for humanity that will resonate with your employees, clients, and vendors.


8. Don’t Confuse Perks With Values


There’s nothing wrong with having perks, like free breakfast or a company lounge. However, too many company bosses confuse perks with culture. Admittedly, some values, like fun and spontaneity, blossom with such perks in the work environment. However, culture is more pervasive than ping pong tables in the break room. Any perk should arise partly out of the values you’ve established for your company and not the other way around.


9. Focus on the Positive


It’s human nature to focus on what needs to be fixed, especially if a company is in trouble. However, that feels demoralizing after a while. The best company cultures focus on what people are doing right more often than they focus on what people are doing wrong. Adhere to this principle and watch your culture blossom.


10. Recognize Your Employees


Everyone wants to feel like they’re contributing to their company. Public acknowledgment of people’s good work goes a long way toward fostering a positive company culture. If people feel like they have something to offer and that they’ll be rewarded for it, they’ll love to come to work. They’ll also become the best brand ambassadors that you’ll ever have.


Final Thoughts


Creating a company culture that fosters trust and innovation takes planning. It also takes time and the right people. Putting together your own list of company culture commandments can help you focus your efforts. A list such as this shows you where you’re falling short and where you’re hitting the mark. Although it takes a lot of work to build the right company culture, doing so nets your company more money, better employees, and the ability to make a more significant impact on the lives of your customers and the community around you.


Want help formulating and applying these principles in your team?


At McClure Professional Services, we conduct training, interactive events and retreats, and provide coaching - ALL of which is focused on healthy and growing teams and engaged leaders!

Contact us for more information or to go ahead and schedule a consultation!


Article References:

Forbes | Confused About Company Culture?

M8th Marketing Agency Services | Let’s Talk About Culture

The Marlo Company | 7 Ways to Help Employees Reach Their Full Potential


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