How to Build a Strong Company Culture?

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

- Peter Drucker, senior consultant

In other words, your corporate strategy is only as valuable as your company culture is strong. Those who think they can design an effective corporate and company strategy without involving employees in company life at all, are mistaken. 

In this case, employees are neither committed nor motivated, as culture doesn’t just depend on leadership, it also depends on their people. The road to shared achievements takes teamwork, where continuous feedback and inclusion are the foundation for effective company structure.

Second (or perhaps first?) home

We spend over 75,000 hours of our life at work. That means that often we see our colleagues more than our friends. That’s exactly why a good team, family atmosphere, and a supportive environment is a top priority. Our engagement surveys and internal employer branding project results clearly demonstrate, that according to 39% of employees, a good team and a supportive community offset negative company characteristics (like lower salary, or poor leadership). White collar employees with over 5 years of work experience, that is 78% of desk workers, are the most committed to a workplace when the team is good.

Why building strong workplace communities is a must

As we can see, workplace communities have massive retainment power. Not only do they help existing colleagues in strengthening their company identity, they also help new hires in orienting themselves as well. In addition to this, they provide motivation for strong informal workplace relationships. Motivated employees are more likely and more proactive in achieving company goals. 

In addition to advantages within the institution, strong communities can improve the company’s reputation in the job market — companies that place a strong emphasis on their people and teams quickly become well-known.

Top-down approaches don’t work

Though management and HR often tries to control everything from the top, it’s worthwhile to loosen the reins when it comes to community building, and to provide space for self-managing groups. 

To achieve this, it’s important to build a company culture, where anyone can freely express their ideas and opinions, and also maintain and communicate excitement around company life. This requires an openness from the company, and the right amount of time and material sources. For that, employers need to actively communicate and maintain the connection, for which a dedicated platform is useful.

Best practices for community building

Below, we list a few tried and tested ideas and strategies, which employers can effectively engineer into their communities. It’s important to note that every institution is different, so these ideas shouldn’t be viewed as a recipe to follow step by step, but rather as inspiration on the road to community building.

1. Storytelling: Get to know the human side of the company!

Storytelling supports us in getting to know our colleagues better, so that they can connect to each other better, and synergies and similarities can come to the surface.

  • Employee vlog/blog: Every week, a question is submitted that a respondent has to answer. After the video is finished and published, the respondent calls out the next person to answer a question.
  • This works in a simple blog format as well, or with the HR/leadership naming the respondents for a given month or week.

2. Direct relationships between leaders and employers

Don’t just create a direct channel between colleagues, but also create one between leadership and employees. A good example for this is a CEO forum or vlog.

  • Every employee can directly ask questions of the leadership, who will respond in a written or video post.
  • This provides the opportunity for leadership to directly share important information and announcements to their teams, who can immediately respond to it.

3. What we’re proud of

Strengthening a culture of recognition and positive feedback within the company. Recognition isn’t just positive for the person who receives it, but also for everyone that is part of it.

  • On the one hand, HR and management can highlight high-achieving teammates, company successes and milestones.
  • On the other hand, employees can directly share individual and group achievements, celebrate within communities, as well as get to know each other’s successes.

4. Knowledge base

Employees can share courses, books, articles, educational materials and professional events with each other that contribute to their professional development.

  • It’s worthwhile to create an individual knowledge base for each topic, work area, and team, so that course material can be uploaded in a well-structured way

5. CSR

Employees can notify each other about various national or social promotions, and they can also organize programs that build up the community, and support society and the environment.

  • Donations: seasonal, eg. at the start of school, a Christmas shoebox campaign, anytime during the year: collecting clothes for families in need and shelters
  • Environmental protection: announcing or joining a litter collecting campaign, plant a tree campaign, or greening the workplace together: planting and nurturing plants together, putting out recycling bins, and decreasing the company’s carbon footprint with various activities

6. Freetime

Teammates who enjoy the same outdoor activities can share their experiences, suggest programs for each other, or organize challenges and races together.

  • Gastronomy: recipe and cooking competition challenges for kitchen wizzes
  • Games: board and computer games and recommendations for young souls
  • Books: book recommendations for book lovers
  • Films and TV series: movie and TV series recommendations for home movie lovers
  • Travel: domestic and international tips and stories, programs and accommodation tips for world travelers

7. Sports

Connect those whose life revolves around sports in a community. These groups don’t just support community building, but are equally important for promoting health.

  • Create individual groups within the company for the most popular sports, so that fans and players can find each other
  • In these teams, employees can share tips with each other, and also organize shared programs, eg. soccer, yoga, etc.
  • Bonus tip: Sports betting team: teammates can bet on games together

Digital tools for community building

With Blue Colibri App’s latest function, community building is easier than ever. We can create any amount of groups based on interest, hobbies, and professional direction, where employees can freely share content - be it text posts, videos or photos. Teammates can react to each other’s posts, invite others into relevant groups, or organize and create groups themselves.