What I learned about company culture inside one room: five tips to keep your culture going strong.

  1. Capture your secret sauce. Don’t let what collectively makes you tick slip through your fingers. Gather your team at an awayday or offsite and have them co-create a manifesto that identifies and captures the habits, behaviours and rituals that makes your company special. Use that manifesto as a touchstone. Having a visible reminder acts as a compass to keep everyone accountable on a daily basis. Give it to new-starters as part of their induction. For example, imperatives such as “step away from your desk at lunchtime;” let people know what it’s OK to do, and what kind of behaviour is welcome.
  2. Protect the old rituals. Okay, when your team is more than thirty you might struggle to fit everyone into the boardroom but you can still preserve the rituals. Keep the all-hands meeting but move to a bigger space and have people who work remotely dial in to take part.
  3. Develop new rituals. Make sure an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture doesn’t develop, with a divide between people that have been there since the start and the newbies. Develop opportunities where you can throw everyone together so they get to know the person behind the job title. A breakfast to welcome new starters. A lunch & learn with a guest speaker. Inclusivity is key — social events that involve booze and late nights might be off-putting for some.
  4. Tell some stories. Lift the lid on your organisation, unearth and tell stories around the people and the rituals that make it special, note down the things that wouldn’t happen anywhere else. Make them the stuff of legends that everyone talks about. Create a storybook to be shared internally and externally.
  5. Hire on attitude… of course! Keep the founders involved in the hiring process. And when that becomes impractical, make sure that you consider personality and attitude. You want an accountant who can do the sums, but perhaps you also want someone who smiles at new starters and is passionate about your company mission. An old mentor of mine once said he’d only hire someone he could have dinner with. How’s that for making sure they’re a good fit?



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Sparking change through story. Energising people at work. Author of 365 Ways to Have a Good Day (out Nov 2021). Fuelled by coffee, curiosity, walking.