Your Company Has a Culture, But Is It Really the One You Want?

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Jan 3, 2013

Some people think culture is some esoteric concept that translates into: keeping employees happy.

According to Hal Halladay, SVP of Corporate Development at Infusionsoft, culture isn’t about making employees happy, but rather. about strategy. He also warns that whether you know it or not, your company definitely has a culture.

The challenge then is to be intentional about what kind of culture you want in your company — and to be intentional about shaping it. Here are five tips for creating a culture development strategy:

  • Get clear on your “Vision.” Using the Jim Collins framework, the “Vision” includes your company purpose, core values and current mission. This framework is obviously not the only way to create clarity of purpose and values-alignment within your business. The point is to get clear and then let this clarity guide you through the highs and lows.
  • Hire, train, and fire for fit. Once the vision is set, you have to be uncompromising for your search for people who value the same things your company does. Striking the right balance between finding people with skills and like values can be tough. In the end, you must determine if the potential employee has the fundamental requirements and motivation to grow during her tenure with the company. “You can train for skills,” says Hal Halladay. “But you can’t teach someone integrity.”
  • Cultivate a TGIM environment. In a TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) environment, work is a daily grind and employees can’t wait until the weekend. It is often an environment where employees feel stagnant and complacent; resolved to doing mediocre work. On the contrary, a TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday) culture is one where employees are happy to get to work on Mondays. A TGIM culture encourages high performance and engagement through transparency, trust and accountability.
  • Discipline and alignment with purpose. Want to create sustained engagement among employees? If you’ve done the work in the first three tips, the foundation has already been laid. Now the challenge is having the discipline to ensure every person in the company understands how their work supports the Vision. Every employee at Infusionsoft has three metrics they report on weekly and when creating those metrics, we must ask ourselves, “how am I supporting the purpose of helping small businesses succeed?”
  • Take a holistic approach. While we are adamant that culture =/= perks, we are also advocates of the happiness equation. We also acknowledge that environment does have an effect on the happiness of an employee while at work. Providing unique perks or benefits in alignment with the culture at your company can go a long way in demonstrating to employees that they are trusted and respected as assets.

This originally appeared on the Infusionsoft Culture Corner blog.