Shawnee Love • March 10, 2021
One simple way to build culture is to connect people with your purpose, your “WHY”. Implied in this action are the following circumstances:
- You know your organization’s purpose,
- You have hired people who connect with your purpose in the first place, and
- You will take opportunities to discuss your purpose in theory and how it manifests in practice with your people.
First, the knowing: If you have not fully defined your mission, vision and values, there is no time like the present to get clear on it. This clarity helps you make decisions on what to do and not do and will thus guide your culture. This is particularly important in small and medium sized organizations where the leader’s goals, values, beliefs and philosophies cascade to their people through the leader’s behaviours and what the leader pays attention to, recognizes, and rewards. As long as the leader has a bigger purpose than lining pockets, chances are the organization will be able to find others who are interested in the same outcomes.
Second the hiring: With the exception of those who are purely “in it for the money”, almost every interested employee I have ever met cares about what their employer does and wants to work in a place with a culture that is great (for them).
It does not surprise anyone that golf courses hire golfers, running shoe manufacturers hire people who like to run, and dentists hire people who have good teeth. Beyond being a good representative for your brand, hiring people who believe in what you do encourages community and a sense of belonging for all those cut from the same cloth.
Third, the sharing: Sharing your culture happens in two ways, doing it and talking about it. Bring your culture alive by communicating about real examples of your culture in practice. You also can discuss culture (and an employee’s alignment with the culture) in performance reviews and check ins, announcements of promotions, creation of annual goals, and every single action and decision where culture is relevant to remind your people why they belong. As a leader, you must also walk your talk including addressing instances where the organization fails to live up to the espoused culture. In correcting culture fails, take the opportunity to fill in knowledge gaps regarding your culture and why that correction is necessary.
Knowing your culture, hiring for it, and sharing it in practice and conversations are the ways to nurture and perpetuate the culture you want to a remote workforce.