Good workplace culture is important.
From uniting everyone under a common mission to leading by example, building a strong workplace culture has to be intentional. — fizkes/Getty Images

Think of the companies that people most want to work for — Zoom, Boston Consulting Group, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google. One of the top reasons people are drawn to these companies is their world-class workplace culture.

According to Deloitte, the majority of managers (94%) and employees (88%) believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. That's why employers should focus on cultivating a great culture to keep employees motivated and striving for their best.

If you've never built a company culture from the ground up, you may not know where to begin. This guide will help you craft one that inspires both your internal team and your customers.

What makes a great workplace culture?

While your individual corporate values may vary, there are a few common cultural elements among the best workplaces:

  • Transparency. According to Kara Goldin, CEO and founder of Hint, Inc., transparency is integral to her brand: "Our customers know exactly what's in our product, our business partners know exactly what they're getting when they work with us, and our employees know exactly what's going on at any given moment," she said.
  • Inclusion. Silva Gentchev, co-founder of Reset, noted that a great company culture means creating "an inclusive environment where everyone can bring their full selves to work and feel empowered to lend opinions, ideas and critiques."
  • Kindness. Encouraging acts of kindness in the workplace brings employees closer together and creates a kind, warm, caring work environment, said Sergey Young, founder of The Longevity Vision Fund.
  • Playfulness and a sense of humor. Gentchev says these two factors are key parts of building a good workplace culture. "We're all human before we are employees/experts … so bringing some lightheartedness into our everyday can be powerful," she told CO—.

[Read: The Best Employee Benefits for Keeping Workers Happy]

How to create and enforce your workplace culture

Unite everyone under a common mission

Young says his company is driven by a desire to make longevity affordable and accessible to all. This common mission unites and motivates everyone on the team to work toward this cause.

"[We invest] in companies with potential for disruption and scalability," said Young. "My personal mission, which is to bring to longevity to 1 billion people, also unites and excites everyone around me – even spreading beyond my employees to business partners, investors, the media and many other people we work with together."

Cultivating a great culture helps to keep employees motivated and striving for their best.

Spend time together outside the office

When you're busy with the day-to-day tasks of leading a company, it can be a challenge to build relationships with your employees. That's why Goldin sets up events and meetings that get everyone out of the office.

"Once a month, I host 20 employees for breakfast and an 'ask me anything' session," said Goldin. "We have company bowling outings once a quarter, and we did an Alcatraz Island night tour right before Halloween."

For employees who work remotely, it pays to go the extra mile and make an effort to spend some face time with them.

"I always make an effort to see remote employees when I travel," said Young. "This takes some time and effort, but a little personal touch goes a long way in making your team feel valued and involved."

Empower people through connections and communication

Great ideas often go unspoken when people feel isolated from their teammates. Gentchev believes in making everyone feel connected, respected and empowered to share ideas — whether they work in the office or remotely.

"Many companies drop the ball by seeing remote workforce as an afterthought that needs to conform to the broader work culture," said Gentchev. "[Changing this] starts with clearly-defined communication guidelines, meeting infrastructures and accessibility tools to make sure remote employees feel connected, engaged and empowered on a daily basis."

To this end, she recommends that companies invest in remote-forward communication tools like chat programs and video conferencing tools.

Lead by example

Every great company culture starts with a caring, committed leadership team. Goldin says it's important for leaders to understand (and even perform) the jobs each of their employees do.

"I love getting to know everyone at my company and understand the challenges they face to develop great new products and keep our customers happy," she said. "I try to lead by example with authentic behavior that inspires my team: staying positive despite setbacks, and working with a sense of purpose and passion."

Ultimately, this type of leadership creates a winning culture that will trickle down to the rest of your employees and back to your customers.

[Read: Inclusive Leadership: Being the Boss of Belonging]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published December 02, 2019