Define your culture in 5 steps

January 21, 2015

Define your culture in 5 steps

Most business owners understand the value of branding for products and marketing, but do you know that your office culture needs to represent your brand too? Candidates will join your company based on the brand you present, so you should do your best to ensure it is consistent in both your marketing and the way you work.

A company culture is made up of a lot of factors: Vision, Values, Practices, People, and Work Environment. Let’s go through these one at a time.

Step 1: Company vision

This determines what everyone in the organization is working towards, whether it’s feeding children in Africa or being the top computer chip supplier in North America. This shapes what your employees are shooting for.

Step 2: Values

Of these five steps, this is one of the core factors. Values act as guidelines for the behaviours and mindsets that your employees need to have as they work towards your vision. This affects how you treat your customers and how your employees treat each other. As the boss, you have to demonstrate those values every day.

Step 3: Practices

This is where you—and your company—walk the walk. You can’t say, “people are your greatest asset” in your values and then use unfair employment practices. It’s hypocritical. Employees are smart, they’ll see that you don’t practice what you preach and will walk away.

Step 4: People

It sounds obvious, but you can’t build a coherent culture without people. The important thing in defining a great office culture is to hire people whose attitudes and mindsets match the first three steps. If you don’t, employees may either end up leaving the company, or change the culture in ways you don’t want.

Step 5: Work environment

The way the office looks. Where it’s located. What the workspace feels like. It sounds minor, but these elements have a big impact on how productive people are and how they behave at work. This is why so many creative companies like advertising and marketing agencies have colourful and flamboyant workspaces, while banks have a clean-cut appearance.

It’s really hard to create an office culture you want, even if you’ve got these five steps mapping the way. But if you can manage it properly, then you’ll have an office culture you can brag about.

I want you to ask yourself: “Do we practice what we preach?” Don’t settle for anything less than an automatic “yes”. Both your customers and your employees will thank you for it.

Image credit: by Bakoko,


Aline Ayoub

Aline has made a lifetime career in HR and is the founder of Aline Ayoub HR Consulting; a bilingual company that is helping small businesses recruit and hire the right people through a unique hiring process she has developed. She is an award winning coach and is an active member of Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA). Visit Aline’s website or follow her on twitter and LinkedIn.