How to Make and How to Break your Company Culture

Passion May 1, 2018

How to Make and How to Break your Company Culture

Jason Richmond
Jason is passionate about helping large companies embrace outstanding culture. He engages with clients by sharing his passion for learning and instilling a sense of leadership and confidence with everyone.

The company culture is top of mind for most CEO’s these days thanks to the understanding of how it directly impacts their bottom line. The math is simple: happy employees tend to equal happy customers—and happy customers signal a healthy season of growth. For Andrea Belmont, Associate Client Director at Nielsen, “Culture is in many ways the way a company treats their employees.”

To her point, there are very specific pillars that can help a company culture flourish, while other actions are certifiable “culture killers.” If you’re looking to improve the culture of your company, here’s a break down of what to do—and not to do—to accomplish your goal:

Culture Pillars

Embrace Flexibilitytips company culture

Belmont attributes a lot of the success in culture at Nielsen to their understanding and appreciation to be flexible with their employees. While this can look different from company to company, many are getting on board with flex hours and remote work—two things that help deserving employees successfully balance home and work life. “Nielsen is understanding about life circumstances and situations—they work to be flexible to make sure that everyone is getting what they need.”

Care About Their Health

Another common pillar of culture seen more recently from companies in the last five years is their dedication to helping their employees maintain their health. From in-office fitness centers to discounts or memberships to athletic clubs, companies are working hard to help their employees prioritize their health.

Be Supportive and Attainable

“I want my employees to feel comfortable enough to come to me so that we always have open communication. If leaders don’t make themselves attainable to their team members, employees will shy away from seeking guidance and that’s not what we want. At Nielsen, I know I can go to my direct reports and get the answers I need and I certainly work to be approachable in the same ways for those who need me,” Belmont explains.

Focus on the Future

Another way Belmont has been impressed with the culture at Nielsen is their ability to focus on the future without losing touch with their current clients and priorities, “We’re always thinking about what’s next and how we can get better. I’ve been at companies before that couldn’t think that far ahead and it was always an issue.  Even to the extent that they couldn’t foresee how their culture would look once they grew—which was obviously the goal. As soon as they got bigger as a company they stopped doing the ‘feel good’ things for employees because they couldn’t keep up and weren’t prepared. When you have a focus on the future you can plan for this amongst other necessary things.”

Culture Killers

Unwillingness to Change

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for companies is their inability to be agile—especially in a day and age that is continuously evolving. “When I see a company set in their ways and unwilling to change, I know it will end up hurting them in the long run,” explains Belmont who sees clients frequently resist the rise of technology and millennials in the workplace.

Avoiding Authenticity

“I love working in a place where I feel comfortable enough—and encouraged—to be myself. I feel like so often in business cultures, employees put on a very formal face because they feel that their company won’t embrace it. In turn, this doesn’t allow them to bring their personalities to the job—and it’s that authenticity and individual spirit that can be a catalyst for incredible ideas and collaborations.”