Written by Alyssa Walker

As people, we create culture wherever we go, and that includes work. Depending on the people involved, that culture can be positive and collaborative or it can go the other way. 

In fact, company culture is so important that in a recent survey from LinkedIn of more than 3,000 Americans, 70% said they would turn down a job offer at a top company if they knew the company culture was bad.  

A prevailing idea in the business world is that strong corporate leadership is directly related to strong work performance. How can companies harness that strong corporate leadership?

They start by establishing core values -- specific ideas that are memorable and ready to act upon. Ideas like 'excellence', while compelling, don't cut it. It's about identifying behaviors and attitudes companies want to encourage, like 'accept only the best' and 'go for it even when it's scary'.

These ideas -- actionable values -- lay the backbone for establishing a culture where people want to work and succeed.

It's not just establishing the ideas, though. There's more. Companies need to nurture them. They need to ensure that the desired behaviors they seek create communities of mutual respect and positive attitudes.

For example, 'accept only the best' is great as long as managers don't abuse employees and keep them at work after hours daily to perfect a single project. 'Go for it even when it's scary' is designed to encourage risk-taking, but how much is too much?

It's about setting positive norms, practicing them, ensuring equity and fairness, and looking for ways to improve.

Commenting on the survey, LinkedIn representative Nina McQueen outlined three steps firms should take to create a strong company culture: invest in employees, maintain values, and create a culture of belonging, 

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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