Winning with Culture: 3 Tips on Company Culture

It has been said that, "people come for the company and stay for the manager.” Therefore having a compelling company culture is key to recruiting. Even more importantly, it can enable the managers to be effective at building their teams.

Here are a few tips we have learned along our journey at Benefitfocus:

  1. Tell the Story. Cultures are built one story at a time. Families, organizations and societies are collections of stories that perpetuate their narrative. We find it particularly useful to gather those stories formally from time to time and tell them in print, through video and in person at meetings. Although often overlooked by management teams, the responsibility to routinely take time and capture the stories and retell them is vital to a healthy culture. The format for the storytelling is much less important than the act of taking the time to share.
  2. Hire Based on Culture. This is easier than it sounds. We do not ask people to adopt our culture during the interview process. Rather, we explain the culture and how it manifests itself in our everyday work environment and then ask people to decide if it sounds like an environment in which they would thrive. If you love our culture, you will do fantastic and have a great career. Be bold in explaining your company to prospective team members and be willing to pass on those who would not truly thrive in it. You will save yourself and others a lot of time in the process.
  3. Promote Based on Culture. Similar to #2 above, use culture as a promotional element. When you have a key member of the team who is both very technically and culturally aligned, promote them for it. The promotion can be a formal job and title promotion or it can be waiving your arms in the air and telling people how great someone is because of their passion for the culture, for a specific act they did that showcases the culture or how they display the company's values. Don't wait for an annual meeting to recognize people when they display your company culture well. Just stop everything and celebrate. In doing so, you strengthen the culture and make it easier for the next person to perpetuate it further.