Culture is something we talk about a lot here at PHOS, and for good reason. When culture is healthy and you’re feeling the results, it’s infectious. Your employees share their experiences with their friends and family, and suddenly you have a reputation of being a great place to work. Your company culture will impact not just your employees, but your clients as well.
What makes a company stand out in their industry is not just the work they do, it’s the way they do it. What we have and what we do gets noticed: by our customers, by our competitors, and by future employees.
So, let’s say you’ve followed the recipe for rich company culture: you have fostered a great workplace environment that attracts awesome people, your employees are productive and happy, and your company is thriving on impactful results.
That’s what we’ll be discussing here: how to share your company culture online and drive even more engagement from your potential customers and future employees.
Why Should I Share My Culture Online?
In today’s society, the most valuable asset you can attain is trust. In our ever-connected world, customers value transparency and authenticity in everything, including brands. This means that more than ever, brands need to lift the veil on their branding and services and show the more human side of who they are and what they do.
“The future of our businesses in the digital age hangs on understanding the mechanics of how trust is built, managed, lost, and repaired online.” – Brandon West
It stands to reason then that showing your company culture online would help to build the foundation of that trust. With so many businesses and brands competing for the attention of your customers, today’s digital audiences are more keen than ever on what’s truly authentic and what isn’t. Showing the real, human side of your brand will make you stand out.
How to Define Your Company Culture
At this point, you may be asking yourself: “What is our company culture?” For many companies, this is the hardest step. It requires an honest assessment of who you are as a company, a brand, and a team.
If this isn’t you, go ahead and skip down to the next section. But, if you’re still defining your culture, keep reading.
If you’re struggling to define your company’s culture, you’re not the first. There is a lot of mystery around the phrase “company culture”, and when it’s used, we assume everyone knows what we’re talking about. In reality, company culture is really self-defined by your organization.
When we talk about company culture here at PHOS, it is a combination of our core values, vision, and mission, and how those play out in our day-to-day activities. Every decision we make is directed by our core values, and our team is invested in seeing our mission become a reality.
While there are many ways to approach defining your company culture, we have a few tips on how to help.
Assess Your Organizational Behaviors
On his Leadership podcast, Andy Stanley, renowned speaker and church leader, stated that, “every organization has a set of behaviors that really shape the culture.” He recommends that when you sit down to try and define your company culture, you should take time to assess the good behaviors of your culture: the ones that you like, that you want to reinforce, and later pass on and teach to new members of the organization.
With these behaviors in mind, you can begin to craft your core values. Ask yourself:
- What behaviors do we like within our company?
- What behaviors do we want to change?
- What stands out about our employees to our customers or clients (i.e. “Your employees are always so ________”.)
- What am I doing to help us improve organizationally?
- What does your company value and how do you exemplify that internally and externally?
When it comes time to create your core values, it’s important to create and nurture personal investment in your values. You can do that by involving your team in the development of your core values – and centering the conversation on what’s the best direction for the company as a whole. It can start with a simple team meeting about what you want your company to be known for and what your strengths are, and grow from there.
Your mid-level management team are the most important proponents for your core values within your organization, and their enthusiasm for being involved in the process will trickle down to the rest of your company. This ensures that later down the line, when it comes time to institute your core values, they don’t just end up on a shirt or post-it note with no personal meaning. The core values will resonate with your team members on a personal level, and impact everything they do at your company.
Another way to create buy-in for your core values is to hire people who are aligned with your values from the start. This ensures that you are perpetuating a culture that is healthy, thriving, and committed to the organization’s overall success.
Honor the Process
While it would be great if defining your company culture was a task that we could do in an afternoon, the truth is, the process could take months. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a significant amount of time for your organization to unravel its behaviors and funnel them into your core values.
The important thing to remember is that this is a process that will define your company’s culture for years to come. This is one of the most important endeavors your organization will take on, so take your time and do it well.
How to Show Your Company Culture Online
Once you have your company culture and core values defined, showing your company culture online becomes a lot easier. Showcasing your culture online is an extension of how your culture is working within your organization, and will naturally be reflected in everything you do. The key to doing this well is to do so with strategy, intention, and heart.
On Your Website
Your website is an extension of your business, and it should feel like one. If you’re trying to show your company culture online, your website is the first place you should start.
Share Your Values
You have invested time in creating core values that resonate with your employees and company as a whole, so now you should showcase them on your website. More importantly, your core values should speak throughout the website in how you approach every aspect – from design to messaging (which we’ll talk about next).
Your website should illustrate what your company cares about as an organization – what your mission is, what your values are, and what breaks your heart. Potential customers and employees should be able to feel something about your company through how you portray these aspects on your website. If you do this well, you have the power to create an impactful connection with them in their first interaction with you.
Messaging & Tone
How does your company speak about itself online? How is your brand’s personality reflected in its messaging? These are both key aspects to showcasing your company culture online. If your company culture is fun, upbeat, and positive but your messaging and tone is stale, stiff, and stoic, then it’s harder to replicate your authentic company culture online.
A messaging strategy is a sub-point of an overall brand strategy, which involves a lot of steps including creating buyer personas, brand colors, and more. For the purposes of this article, though, we’ll break it down into a few helpful questions to get you started in creating your company’s messaging strategy:
- What is my company’s personality?
- If my company was a person, how would they talk?
- How does my company make my clients feel?
- What is my audience’s “language”?
The important thing to remember here is to focus on authentically representing your company through all your messaging online. People should be able to feel your brand personality through every word on your website.
Focus on People
If the “About” and “Team” page of your website doesn’t have photos of your actual team, that’s a good place to start! A picture of a smiling team member is always more engaging than a generic stock photo. It helps visitors get a sense of who you are, not just what you do. Your people are the lifeblood of your organization, and putting them on your website serves as vital extension of your company culture.
Video highlights on your website also help to bring your company culture to life. Video snippets of company outings, volunteer days, or team meetings will echo everything about your company’s values.
Another way to highlight your team on your website is to give them room to be creative and offer their expertise or insights on the website in the form of personal blogs. If there is a topic related to their industry that they are passionate about, have them write an article on it. Not only will it help to position your company as a thought-leader in the industry, it will give your website a more personal feel, which always contributes to showcasing your culture.
On Social Media
Social media has been the harbinger of brand authenticity and transparency online, and it now serves as a vital channel to show your company culture. If you aren’t already using social media to share the best moments from your company, then now is the time to join the conversation!
Video, Video, and More Video
If you want to say something impactful about your culture and brand online, video is the way to do it. In fact, when it comes to digital video, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it on video, compared to 10% when reading it in a text. Video is a great way to give behind-the-scenes sneak peeks into your company culture, your people, your services, and more. If you have a snack closet to share on video, even better!
Both Facebook and Instagram have “story” features that allow businesses to post events in real time. The appeal of this feature is that you’re inviting people to be a part of your day-to-day by sharing the moments rather than carefully crafted posts. These Story posts give viewers the chance to see things through your eyes, which gives them even more insight into your company culture.