Part I: How to build a company culture attracts employees in swarms

I’m fascinated by changes in the workforce across generations. I’m particularly interested in how these changes affect company culture. I’ve already written about how different generations of employees like to workhow to attract Millennials, and meeting style preferences across generations.

company culture example

While looking at differences, I’ve found some interesting similarities. Just as there are dynamics that bring people together in any generation, there are also values that will always build a magnetic company culture–a company culture that works for you by attracting people to your business.

My list isn’t long. It seems to me that there are four values that pack a powerful punch when it comes to building a magnetic company culture. Right now I’d like to talk about two of them.

1. Transparency at the top

Granted, compared to most people, I have a pretty frank relationship with my current boss. But this hasn’t been the case in all the companies I’ve worked for. Whether it’s been a big corporate environment or a small business, for me, transparency consistently trumps almost any other feature of a company’s culture.

Transparency is a powerful company value. It is the foundation of trust, respect, and safety. In smaller businesses, transparency provides employees a clear view into the requirements of their role, and it’s impact on the rest of the business. With transparency, the boss is clear about expectations, and the consequences of meeting or not meeting them.company culture examples

PLUS, in a culture that values transparency, everyone owns up to their mistakes! (Face it, we all make ’em). When we see the boss own up to his mistakes–WOW. We realize the boss is actually human.

It also makes it that much easier to own up to our own mistakes–and then we find solutions faster! Do you see the benefit of a culture where no one is so concerned about covering their butt that they can’t (or won’t) address a real problem? Transparency like this isn’t impossible in a larger company; but it’s certainly easier in a small business, where one on one time with the company owner is more likely to happen.

2. A sense of purpose

“Work” is a dirty word. It basically captures the idea that you’re doing something you have to do–as opposed to something you want to do–in order to make money. By itself, for many of us, work equals drudgery. But I’ll tell you a secret: it doesn’t have to be! Sooooo many bosses don’t get this.

Lots of companies tackle this issue of “drudgery” or “the grind” by getting a ping pong table for the office. Sure, office “toys” are useful for breaks and bonding; but I’m talking about more than just adding levity to the workplace. I’m talking about filling your work with meaning and purpose.

To paraphrase Simon Sinek, everyone on your team should know your company’s “why”.

company culture exampleWhy do you do what you do? Every employee in your business should know the answer to this question. If you have a consulting firm, your work isn’t just looking at numbers or analyzing financials. That’s part of what you do, but not part of why. You started your company for a reason; making money was part of that reason, but it wasn’t all of it.

What is your company’s unique offering, your real reason for existence? You’ve got to figure that out and express it so that everyone in your company knows that their role is bigger than the tasks they perform. Everyone in your company needs to know and understand the deeper why of your business, and how they are connected to it.

When you identify and incorporate the value of purpose in your company culture, the effects are huge. Employees that work with purpose have a stronger camaraderie, a better work ethic, and typically are happier than those whose only focus is a pay check.

There are two more values I want to talk about, but I’d rather pause here and ask: where do these values fit in your company culture, if at all? What’s in the way of making transparency one of your company values? Do you know what your company’s real purpose is?

Start talking about these things–with us or anyone else! Conversations about company values are not only worth while–they’re essential to building a magnetic company culture! Read part II »

core values list

Photo credit: una cierta mirada

Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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