Company values. Shared ethics. A sense of pride. Employee appreciation. These are just a few things that define company culture.

When you have a system of shared beliefs and assumptions, not only can you govern how people behave in the company, but you also see how these values can have a strong influence on the people in the company, dictating how they perform and represent the company.

What surrounds you does shape you, but what you shape also becomes what is around you. And, in this article, that’s what we’re aiming to show you – the importance of company culture and how you can improve yours.

When an employee values the message of the company, they are more likely to put their heart into it. These values become relatable messages that inspire and engage employees, bringing to life the company’s core values.

When the message is strong, clear, and concise, you have a better chance of selling your mission to your employees, as much as it sells to your customers. For instance, Nike’s official mission statement is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”

Beyond the mission statement and the company’s core values comes the behavior of it. You can talk and put out statements all you want, but until you “walk the talk,” eventually, what you’re selling is not going to be bought.

Company culture goes deeper than customer appreciation and aiming to reach customer satisfaction; it’s also about keeping your employees happy. Doing right by your employees not only benefits them but also strengthens their trust and relationship with the organization, building a sense of pride along with the assurance that you have their back too.

Here are 10 tips on how to improve company culture:

  1. Employee appreciation of the week or month
  2. An occasional celebratory festivity for a job well done or to “catch up” with each other outside of work (take company culture beyond the office)
  3. Mentee-mentor relationships at work (which horizontalizes the hierarchy)
  4. Sharing employee stories via weekly or monthly newsletters or on bulletin boards (boosting interaction and connection between employees)
  5. Creating a break or playroom within the office space (studies have shown how these increase productivity and stimulate creativity)
  6. Embracing transparency and letting your employees in on the company’s true missions and values through chatting, collaboration on projects, and delegating projects
  7. Embracing and inspiring employee autonomy (trust your employees to manage their responsibilities effectively)
  8. Practicing flexibility as it can improve morale and reduce turnover
  9. Giving and soliciting regular feedback (not once a year, but regularly) and make changes accordingly
  10. Don’t expect the culture to improve in one day. It takes time and effort, but ultimately, it’s worth it when all of your employees are rooting for the same team

By recognizing and rewarding valuable contributions, promoting a team atmosphere that promotes productivity rather than competition and cultivating strong coworker relationships that level the hierarchy, you will enhance the overall environment of your company. Essentially, a healthy culture can help with employee retention, productivity, reputation, and product quality.

All in all, what company culture is really about is personality. If you think about it, it’s kind of like dating. The first impression matters but so do all of the other dates. And, it’s being aware of the “giving and getting” phenomenon that will further the relationship rather than leaving it to scraps after date five.