There are a lot of different ways to create a company culture. One of them is getting employees involved in the process. This not only builds buy-in, it also improves engagement. The people influencing decisions are naturally going to choose activities or goals that interest them. So how can you creatively encourage employees to build their own company culture?
1. Lead by example.
Start your next meeting by announcing a new team event or activity. Explain that you’d like to do events or activities on a monthly basis and that you’d appreciate everyone’s involvement. Get each individual to contribute ideas for fun activities to do as a company. This is an easy way to get the entire team to build a company culture and be involved in these types of decisions. - Russell Kommer, eSoftware Associates Inc
2. Put them in charge of events or activities.
Have employees create an activity or event schedule around certain types of cultural norms they want to integrate into the main culture. This empowers them and helps them feel more involved in the process. Plus, it helps you know exactly what they want to do. - Drew Hendricks, Buttercup
3. Ask team members to share stories.
Each week during our team meeting, I ask a question that lets people share something about their life. One of my favorites is, “If you could save one non-essential good from your home and had to leave everything else behind, what would you save?” I feel it’s a practice that fosters a culture in which everyone on the team feels very connected. - Mark Krassner, Expectful
4. Create a Facebook group.
My company is spread out over two locations, and as we grow, one of my favorite ways to keep in regular contact with all of the employees is via our Facebook group (for employees only). They share videos, pictures of their families and post events that they are hosting, like performances. This creates a fun company culture that is created and run by the employees. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg
5. Get out of the office.
Deep personal connections among team members require time away from the computer and out in the real world. Whether it’s food or drinks after work, a monthly outing or a quarterly retreat, having a chance to leave work at work and have real conversations with each other is key. Add a unique activity or environment, and you’re likely to see a big boost in relationships. - Ross Beyeler, Growth Spark
6. Hire the right people from the get-go.
Culture is built by the team organically over time and can’t be forced. As a leader, you set the loose guidelines, but your team is what brings it to life. The key to encouraging your ideal culture is hiring the right people for your company from the start. Employees that fit and agree with your vision are crucial. One bad egg can ruin culture, so keep it in mind whenever interviewing candidates. - Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck
7. Treat everyone to lunch.
Every Friday, we bring a catered lunch into the office. Because it’s only once a week, it’s something that most people are able to join. It’s an informal break where employees can chat, talk shop and in general forge stronger relationships with each other. Plus, everyone loves a free lunch! - Stan Garber, Scout RFP
8. Designate time for non-work-related conversation.
As a remote company, we have to be creative when it comes to facilitating company culture. We have special Slack channels designated for topics that aren’t work-related and encourage our team to take part in the conversation. This gives our team the chance to get to know one another on a personal level and take initiative with creating and building their own culture within the organization. - Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent
9. Let them brainstorm alone.
I recently had my team meet without me to discuss their goals and ideas for the company. They’re compiling what they came up with on a vision board to review with me. I’ve found this gives them a forum to be creative, share ideas and feel invested in the direction of the company. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
10. Trust them with an assignment.
The only way your employees will truly buy into your company culture is if they take pride and ownership in what they do. They might be intimidated, but they’ll rise to the challenge knowing that you are trusting them with your business. Employees seldom want to disappoint their boss, so you can expect to see good results! - Duran Inci, Optimum7
11. Encourage individual freedom.
I like to give my individual teams the power to create their own schedules, internal dynamics and personal workflow. For example, our production team organically initiated daily walks around the block, which has now become a key opportunity for them to clear their minds while bonding on a personal level outside of the office. I’ve found this has even boosted overall productivity. - Justin Lefkovitch, Mirrored Media
These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.