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10 Tips for Creating Killer Company Culture

Posted by Early Growth

January 29, 2013    |     5-minute read (811 words)

Originally published in KillerStartups.

How important is a well developed company culture to you and how do you communicate your company culture to new team members?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Start a Culture Committee

“My founders and I think company culture is extremely important and should come from within the company and not just from the founders. We started a culture committee that prioritizes what they think would help their colleagues have the most fun, bond, and learn the most. They help plan activities, charity involvement, and more."

- Jesse Pujji, Ampush

2. Create a Strong Foundation

“Company culture is the key to a productive, positive, and long lasting company culture. I am not sure it is something you communicate, but rather something you architect by hiring the right people. If you think about it, your past hires will be your ambassadors and faces of the company to anyone new. “

- Eric Corl, Fundable LLC

3. Regular Events Reinforce Values

“We created a great culture; we made sure we didn’t lose it as we grew. We identified which parts of that culture the company valued most. On employees’ first day of work, orientation is focused on understanding the values. Each quarter, we have a new employee event, and we also have a culture coordinator whose job is to promote and reinforce values daily. We hire—and fire—based on values.”

- Brant Bukowsky, Veterans United Home Loans

4. Do You Have Culture Shock?

“Culture is the single most important factor in business. As for communicating it to new team members, take heed—you don’t. They should know, from the enthusiastic attitudes of your current team and the atmosphere of your office, exactly what your company is about from the moment they walk through the door. If it doesn’t hit them, then don’t bother explaining. You’ve already failed.”

- Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk

5. Mentorship Is Vital

“After being profitable, company culture is the next most important thing to the success of a company. Each of our employees has a mentor who is meant to make sure the new employee has the support to fit into the company culture and function at a high level. “

- John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

6. Don’t Communicate It—Live It!

“Early on, I saw company culture as something that I had to carefully create and plan for. Over time, however, a culture naturally emerged—of office dogs, beers on Fridays and, honestly, a lot of quiet hard work time. When new people start, we don’t have to communicate the culture. It comes off naturally and over time. “

- Lauren Friese, TalentEgg Inc.

7. Start Before You Hire

“For us, it starts during the hiring process. We encourage potential employees to consume as much of our online culture-oriented Web content as possible. Our Marketing department continues to stock our various social media entities with stories and videos that express our culture, and we make sure to ask potential hires to discuss what they find during the interview process.”

- Michael Seiman, CPX Interactive

8. The “Grauntlet”

“An amazing culture is among the most powerful tools a company can wield on its path to success– aiding in nearly every aspect of business and growth. At Greatist, every new member does a 1-on-1 health & fitness activity with every other person on the team. If they met with the whole team, they pass the “Grauntlet” and get a happy hour in their honor.”

- Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

9. Communicate Openly and Often

“A strong community that fosters passion and recognizes hard work motivates employees to strive for excellence. At Likeable, we have weekly meetings that serve to inform the entire team on departmental accountabilities, address questions and concerns, recognize outstanding work by employees, and engage team members with collaborative activities. I additionally offer every team member the chance to meet with me to discuss anything, encouraging open communication throughout every level of the company.”

- Dave Kerpen, Likeable Media

10. Create a Living Value Statement

“Company culture is crucial for startup success. Think it through at the beginning: what is your culture and how will you communicate it? While culture lives in everything your company does, it helps to publish a company value statement to formalize your culture. Keep this value statement alive by frequently referencing it—and make sure that executives walk all new employees through it.”

- David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

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