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How to Make Culture your Competitive Advantage

Culture-building is vital and encompassing work. Cultivating a thriving professional culture requires focus and planning implemented through daily efforts. After all, it’s the people in your organization who bring your brand strategy to life and deliver results.

Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash

Culture-building is vital and encompassing work. Cultivating a thriving professional culture requires focus and planning implemented through daily efforts. After all, it’s the people in your organization who bring your brand strategy to life and deliver results.

The basis for building a successful culture is to make it clear to your team, your cultural champions, that they matter. They need to know that they are valued. Show them the impact of their contributions. This gives them the chance to feel truly enriched by the work they do.

Their work surpasses the transactional. What they build at your company has more meaning than market value. When you engage your team, you access their potential which stands to be a game changer for your brand. Position them to keep investing their precious talent in your company’s operations. Invite your team members to recognize that the company’s success is their success.

This approach stands to earn emotional buy-in, creating a vibrant culture-the collective talent of engaged team members. Fostering such a culture establishes your company’s reputation as an exciting place to work, which enables the recruitment of top talent. Plus, it stands to create a climate of retention.   

Creating evaluative mechanisms is vital when you’re taxed with the ongoing work of culture building. Marketing the success of the culture is also important, especially when it comes to recruitment and retention.  

Here is what you need to know to make your culture as your competitive advantage.

Enable emotional branding and connection

Culture building starts from the top down. CEOs, leaders and HR professionals develop the values and cultural theme that inform the professional vibes that infuse the culture. Give that work the care it deserves. It is your company’s internal emotional branding-how you want stakeholders to feel about their value to the company and the value they offer the community on the company’s behalf.

Engage and empower employees, while inspiring them to advocate for themselves. We need them to be active. They do more than just absorb our culture-building efforts. We want them to leverage the culture to enable growth.  

Encourage your leaders to dedicate their time, energy and skills to this vital pursuit. The ability to empower employees is an opportunity and a privilege. It is also a stretch assignment for leadership. This focus can enable an emotional connection with the work and build something truly valuable for people and company. This fuels employee excitement by focusing first and foremost on delivering an incredible experience for the team.

Energize your storytellers

One key way that we can see our culture-building efforts winning is when we recognize that we have empowered storytellers and brand champions sharing their own unique narratives. Invite input. Look at the business through the employee lens. Listen to what the employees say about the company.   

Storytelling is a way to bring others along the journey. Celebrate the employee experience. Establish a reputation as an exciting place to work, shaping the narrative through employee experience. Bring employees together so they can share their excitement with each other.  

Creating a vibrant culture means enabling your team to feel fulfilled and important in their work, first individually and then collectively. Show them they matter. Listen to them. Position them to do their best work, individually and collectively. Then watch their fireworks display.

Measure and market culture   

Culture is not random, it’s a sum, an outcome. Culture is the result of how we behave and work; it is guided by decisions and what is reinforced. Culture can be mindfully shaped, built and measured.

Take a regular pulse as a basis for your assessment. It’s not just the fact that you are taking this measurement that’s valuable. It’s the message it sends that management is listening and holding itself accountable; that matters too.  

Make it clear to your team that your culture is evolving. Create a listening system for employee ideas. Communicate it as a core part of your leadership values that engaged employees work with passion and feel a connection to their work and company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward. Get crisp with the communications strategy around decisions and changes so that employees can see what role they play and how they can shape the culture.   

Focus on engaging and empowering your employees, and do so in such a way that they are inspired to advocate the company and the brand. Make employee ideas a reality, creating an internal brand around the concept. Your cultural enthusiasts have the ideal perspective to help you shape your company’s story. There is no better endorsement than the impassioned recommendation of someone who works for the company and uses the product. Recruit those voices and make them a consistent thread in everything you do.

This effort gives your business a competitive edge-the hiring edge, the retention edge, the human edge. It makes your workplace feel good, and it fosters good work. Gauge it regularly by inviting your team’s participation and feedback. Use that to shape the employee experience.

Your employees make your culture unique, successful and special. Give them the opportunity to shape and share that culture. Invite your employees to help build, engage in problem-solving and to be a part of the solution.

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