Published on 03/04/2022
The corporate culture is the foundation of identity that brings employees together. It is essential to unite your teams, stand out from your competitors, improve your recruitment, etc.
So what would you say about yours? Is it solid? Do you still need to beef up your game? In this article we explain how to create a strong corporate culture. Something tells us that internal communication will be of great help to you! 🚀
#1 – Why and how to define your corporate culture?
The importance of corporate culture
Before we discover how to create a strong corporate culture, let’s start with a definition:
« Corporate culture is a set of shared references in the organisation, built throughout its history in response to problems encountered within the company.According to Maurice Thevenet, Professor at the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers
So why is corporate culture so important? For 4 reasons:
- Corporate culture helps you to stand out from your competitors
It wouldn’t occur to you to confuse Liverpool fans with Manchester United fans! Well, it’s the same for Vinci and Colas. If you tell their employees that you don’t know the difference, you may get into trouble.
- Corporate culture brings employees together
Corporate culture helps to create a sense of belonging. It develops the bond between employees. It acts as a glue to bring cohesion within the teams. Shared values also contribute to employee motivation and retention.
- A strong corporate culture is an asset in terms of recruitment
Companies rely on this culture to promote their employer brand. Candidates are more likely to join a company that shares the same values as them.
- Corporate culture strengthens customer acquisition and loyalty
Customers do not always see big differences between the products or services of two competing companies. In this case, they will make their choice based on the values they associate with a brand.
How do you define your corporate culture?
A strong corporate culture is a competitive advantage. However, some companies do not carry out specific actions to shape their culture. They simply note the existence of a certain number of references that are shared more or less consciously.
However, we believe that corporate culture is built voluntarily. In this case, how can it be defined? Often, corporate culture is based on founding myths or on the personality and vision of leaders. For example, we spontaneously associate Apple with Steve Jobs and E.Leclerc with Michel-Edouard Leclerc.
However, the leader is the driving force in defining the corporate culture, especially when they embody collective intelligence. It is therefore necessary to bring out the shared values.
For this, it is useful to find out what your employees think. For example, you can launch surveys on the internal communication tool to ask employees what they think makes the company strong or what makes them proud:
- Answer A: the focus on customer experience
- Answer B: the company’s commitment to integrating disabled workers
- Answer C: the investment in staff training
- Answer D: the veal sauté in the canteen
Once the value base has been defined, corporate culture is not just a sentence on a website or an official document. On a day-to-day basis, it is reflected in many aspects of company life:
- rituals: integration of a new employee, birthday, retirement drinks, etc.
- colours: premises, clothing, visual identity, etc.
- customer relations
- the language used: yes, « Chips, Coke » is part of the McDonald’s corporate culture!
#2 – How to convey the corporate culture to employees?
The internal communication tool
Every company communicates internally with its employees. Some do it by email, others via the corkboard in the break room. The way you do it reflects your corporate culture. Internal communication that is not very visible or that discriminates against certain categories of employees is evidence of a deficient corporate culture.
By using an internal communication tool, you can involve all employees and make internal communication accessible to everyone. Our tips:
- "Dress" your communication tool in the company’s colours (for example, in red and black like Stendhal, Jeanne Mas or Old Trafford)
- Choose a tool that includes all employees, even the least tech-savvy
- Involve employees by including categories that interest them (company life, sports predictions, etc.)
- Co-create the tool with them through surveys or by encouraging them to share their posts
The place of work
Well-being at work is an important part of corporate culture. Indeed, you are more likely to create a strong corporate culture if your employees feel respected, heard and valued.
The workplace also contributes to the quality of life at work. From the choice of colours to the layout of the offices and the break room, your premises are representative of your corporate culture. Some tips:
- Repaint your spaces in the company’s colours.
- Design your break room with an emphasis on comfort and conviviality.
Building a team spirit helps to strengthen the corporate culture. This includes joint activities, both professional and recreational.
- Plan a company seminar at the beginning of the school year in September to reflect collectively on the company’s challenges… but also to get the teams to meet each other if you work on several sites!
- Regularly organise a shared aperitif (in moderation), a bowling evening, a morning of knitting, a quidditch match (don’t forget to ask employees what activities they are interested in).
Human resources management is representative of the corporate culture. Developing a strong employer brand increases the chances of attracting the best candidate profiles to your company. The recruitment process itself should also allow for differentiation.
So what should we do?
- Share moments of your business life on social media.
- Organise Open Days to show your company in a different light.
- Adopt a tone and voice specific to your company when formulating your job offers.
- Make the recruitment interview a time to promote your corporate culture (not just a selection process)
Beyond recruitment, the integration of employees as well as the skills development programme are a condition for adherence to the corporate culture. An employee who can take advantage of training opportunities to develop internally will be more inclined to promote the company’s values.
The management plays a key role in internal communication and corporate culture. The management style influences staff loyalty. Directive or authoritarian management can lead to a negative experience and rejection. In contrast, virtuous management contributes to a positive corporate culture.
- Encourage managers to regularly spend a day in the field to keep them firmly rooted in the real world.
- Use interviews as a time for exchange where the employee can express themselves freely.
- Encourage feedback from employees by practising active listening or using an internal communication tool.
Communicate, explain the strategy, evangelise internally by favouring transparency and discussions.
You cannot create a strong corporate culture without employees or against employees. Corporate culture only exists if it is supported collectively. It cannot be decreed or imposed from above.
For the corporate culture to develop, employees must be involved and given a leading role. From this point of view, internal communication tools are essential, as they offer everyone the opportunity to speak out and say what they think. They promote consultation and participatory innovation.
- Involve employees: invite them to express their opinion on aspects of company life that concern them directly (changes to working hours, layout of the break room, canteen menus, short or long sleeves for corporate polo shirts, etc.)
- Include everyone: ask employees who are not spontaneously leaders. Their opinion counts too.
#3 – Bring the company’s culture to the outside world
To paraphrase a famous advertising slogan, corporate culture is about « being active on the inside, but it shows on the outside ».
Actions carried out internally to bring employees together around values can also feed into the company’s external communication and the employer brand. Like employees, customers are looking for meaning.
They care about the culture of the company, for example its social responsibility or its environmental commitments. A company with strong values will be better equipped to acquire and retain customers.
- Share the company’s values on the company’s website and social networks.
- Encourage employees to share special offers, job opportunities and important company information with their contacts.
- Fly your colours and smiles at trade shows.
Creating a strong corporate culture helps to unite employees around common values. It will be better understood and shared if employees are involved in its definition. Adopting an internal communication tool contributes to the emergence of a corporate culture by developing a culture of listening and caring. The tool is also useful for conveying corporate culture on a daily basis.
About the author
Read all the articles from the Steeple team, the experts in internal communication and employee experience