Do you think that company culture “just happens”?

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Let me set the stage.

An interviewee asks an interviewer a seemingly innocuous question during the interview process: “Can you describe the company culture at XYZ Corporation?”

It seems like a reasonable question. It is a question I have asked countless employers during my tenure in HR.
But when I hear the response, “Well, it’s really hard to describe our culture to people outside of the company….”
Uh-oh! That is a FAIL!

If you and your team members struggle to answer this question easily and consistently, then chances are high that your company’s culture is being formulated for you, rather than by you. Let that sink in for a minute. It might be a completely new concept for you.

There is one simple statement and call to action that I give to all my clients: Create your own company culture before IT creates YOU.

Think about it. You really have two choices:

  1. Do you want your culture to build itself from the ground up, and let it develop however it happens to develop? Do you want to give up control of how your culture is created, and instead watch it develop and morph into whatever it becomes?
  2. Or, would you prefer to mindfully craft and develop your company’s culture from the top down, and have a direct hand in shaping the culture and ethos?

Hopefully it is clear to you – #2 is how you grab the reins and put yourself firmly in control your company’s destiny!

Once you are in agreement that #2 is the better option, there are three foundational topics for you to consider as you mindfully plan how to “craft” your company’s culture:

  • Recruit: Look for people that “fit” where your company is headed – those folks that can get behind your vision of what is to come. This doesn’t mean hiring people that will “yes” you to death, however, as diversity of thought can make for healthy discussions. This does, however, mean hiring people that share your vision, are coachable, and are innovative.
  • Communicate: The more open the communication lines are among everyone in your company, the better. Transparency is critical as you look to gain trust. The more your team understands the inner-workings of the business, the better equipped they will be to respond as needed.
  • Measure: A golden rule: measure things that are important, and make things important that you measure. Your actions will drive the focus of your team, and will ensure that everyone is clear about the priorities at hand. Another tip: monetarily tie performance to metrics and desired outcomes.

Don’t be overwhelmed by these action items you need take. And while mindfully crafting company culture doesn’t need to be overly complicated or difficult, it does need to be a consideration. These outlined steps will hopefully help guide your thinking through the process to help your company develop the ideal culture that will work best for you and your team over the long run.

Karen Butz is a Human Resources Specialist at Empirical Consulting Solutions, and is your go-to resource for all things related to HR. She is ready to talk with you about your company’s proposed culture overhaul, or can chat further about any questions you have.

Connect with Karen or any other member of the ECS team at or (610) 994-1139.