How Communications Grows a Symbiotic Company Culture

Cultural fit is so important to Zappos, the company pays employees $4,000 to quit during primary training. Likewise, Amazon employees are offered $2,000-$5,000 to quit each year. ‘Cultural fit’ and ‘employee engagement’ might seem like overused phrases, but these businesses understand the cost to their organizations and how central fit and engagement are to their success.

At Zappos, the company believes cultural fit leads to happy employees who inspire happy customers. At Amazon, leaders believe it’s unhealthy for employees to stay somewhere they don’t want to be. Here are three other benefits of a unified company culture.

  • Identity. Corporate culture demonstrates shared values, beliefs and expectations.
  • Retention. Clear values and culture attract and retain loyal employees driven by the same purpose.
  • BrandCulture-brand alignment is a competitive advantage that accelerates company growth.

If you want to shape company culture, here are four internal communications strategies you can use.

  1. Establish a shared vocabulary. Internal communicators have the power to create a shared vocabulary among employees. For instance, if one company value is ‘Fun,’ define what that means for your organization. Do you prank coworkers, use emojis in internal emails or celebrate birthdays? Likewise, if the company defines itself as ‘value-add’, what does that mean? If you want employees to move in a unified direction, they need a shared language and understanding of company values.
  2. Ask for employee feedback. As communications professionals, you have access to the most valuable asset in your company: employees and their experience. Use internal communications tools like email, intranet pages and town halls to survey employees. Routinely asking for employee feedback and tracking responses over time is one of the best ways to gauge corporate culture and involve changemakers at every level.
  3. Celebrate lived values and beliefs. Tell employee stories in company news, as videos or on signage, and celebrate employees who exemplify company values and beliefs. People love stories about people, and such stories help establish a sense of community. By recognizing individuals or teams for demonstrating core values, whether in success or failure, you illustrate how the company practices its values. For example, if philanthropy is central to your mission, each month profile an employee who serves the community.
  4. Invite employees to company events. In order to develop a great company culture, Neil Patel suggests you need to realize you’re a team and not a bunch of individuals. Although you may not engage in activities like trust falls frequently, you can regularly invite employees to company sponsored events like family picnics, sporting or gaming competitions, volunteer projects, happy hours, or roundtable discussions. Establishing group cohesiveness outside of work often leads to increased productivity on the job.

While modern workforces are diverse and often geographically dispersed, Internal employee communications teams can grow a symbiotic company culture by defining, demonstrating and celebrating the values and practices that sustain the organization and strengthen the company culture.

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