How I Created Our Company Culture Document

Recently, I’ve been taking on the HR side of things here at Inbound and one task I was keen to complete was to truly define our company culture. “Company Culture” is a bit of a buzzword used by businesses small and large, but by undertaking a bit of research I quickly found that few companies truly have a solid grasp on their culture.

In periods of recruitment, I fully believe that nailing your definition of the company culture first is an absolute necessity; after all, if you are hiring people based partially on their ability to fit in well, then you have to know exactly what they are expected to fit in to.

With this in mind and recruitment fast approaching, I created a document of statements that I felt whole-heartedly defined the culture here at Inbound. Each statement is backed up with a supporting paragraph to explain simply and effectively what we mean by each. You can see our culture document here if you fancy a peek.

This process meant that when it came to starting the process of recruitment, I had a very set idea of who I was looking for (from a cultural fit point of view).

I found the process to be an incredibly cathartic experience as it helped to cement in my mind the aspects we truly place value on within our company. In an exciting period of growth, culture can sometimes slip if you don’t outline and revisit it so I believe it was also very helpful to assess and define it at this point in time.

With this in mind, I would like to share the process of how I put together our company culture document to assist other businesses large and small when defining theirs.

I Began With Our People

Looking around our office, we have an amazing and diverse bunch of people who are all excelling in different areas of expertise. I took each person individually and thought about where they began and where they are now at Inbound. From this, my first point on favouring passion and enthusiasm over lots of experience became an obvious one. Whilst some of us came on board with previous experience, others didn’t but their attitude and determination shone through at interview stage and continues in their everyday work life.

I Thought About My Biggest Work Fear

So many have stories to tell of past or current employment where the office culture was less than desirable. Nearly all of the stories involve problems with internal communication and sly remarks being made about other team members. My biggest fear is a work environment like this, it would just break my heart to have a work environment like this and so I knew that our honesty and our open approach to internal communication were vital to a healthy, positive culture.

I Remembered My Failures

There have been times when admittedly, I have made a mistake at work that has had a knock-on effect. I thought about how nervous I was to pipe up about it and how I was treated by others afterwards. That treatment was a pro-active “how can we all group together to help you fix this and what have you learnt from it” response which I was immensely grateful for. This led to me thinking about the importance of owning our mistakes as we do our successes, so that became a statement in the culture document.

I Recalled the Cheesy Phrase “There is no I in Team”

I’d wrapped up the culture document and felt pretty pleased with it. But the very epitome of company culture is that it has to be understood, agreed and adhered to by all. With this in mind I shot it over to another member of the team where she added in a couple of statements she felt were reflective of our culture. I then put this to the board at a quarterly meeting, where I welcomed feedback. The result was a document that we had collaborated on and that I felt immensely proud of.

If you have yet to pin down your company culture I strongly recommend you do so ahead of your next recruitment effort. Not only is it a worthwhile task to do in order to assess potential candidates effectively, it’s also a fantastic resource for the whole company to refer back to and a useful tool to use should a team member ever stray from your cultural values.

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