What is company culture?

Photo of people in a hybrid meeting

Company culture is a system of shared values that define what is important and norms that define appropriate attitudes and behaviors for employees within an organization. You can think of company culture in relation to key points of the employee experience: attracting and selecting candidates, hiring and onboarding new employees and engaging and retaining existing employees. The stronger your company culture, the more it will play a role in determining who gets hired, who is rewarded or promoted and who ends up leaving your company.

How to improve your company culture

Because company culture depends on your values and norms, it’s important to take time to define these if you haven’t already. You can conduct surveys, focus groups and conversations with company leadership to achieve this. You might find it beneficial to go through a culture mapping exercise to get a sense of what your organization is like from the employee perspective, better understand all the moving parts of your culture and see where there’s room for improvement. Once you know which values and norms you’d like to promote, think about how you can weave them into every aspect of the candidate and employee experience. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Attracting and selecting candidates: Share your company culture through external channels like your job descriptions and career site. Incorporate your values into interview questions so you can assess candidates for values alignment.
  • Onboarding new hires: Use new hire onboarding sessions as an opportunity to reinforce your company culture. Encourage managers to dedicate some time with new hires to discuss company culture and share what it means on their team. Assign an onboarding buddy who can answer questions about company culture.
  • Employee recognition: Create time and space where employees can be recognized for their contributions to company culture. This can be as simple as a Slack channel where people publicly praise their peers or as elaborate as an awards ceremony with a red carpet and trophies.
  • Cross-team communication: It’s relatively easy to establish a culture on a single team, but true company culture is present across teams, departments and even offices. You can encourage cross-team communication through employee resource groups (ERGs), interest groups or clubs and social activities like virtual or in-person lunches or coffee breaks.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I): If your company is prioritizing DE&I, look for ways to infuse these values into your company culture. You could ask executives to sponsor ERGs to ensure they have resources and a direct line of communication with company leadership. You might create a DE&I committee or taskforce that identifies specific actions your company can take. And you can take steps to promote inclusion for candidates and employees, whether by encouraging people to share their pronouns, taking steps to reduce gender inequality or standardizing your approach to promotions and salary increases.

The award-winning company culture at Greenhouse

Here at Greenhouse, we’re proud, honored and humbled to be recognized with some of the best workplace culture awards around. And we’re always excited to see how many of our customers make these lists as well, speaking to their dedication to creating inclusive and positive environments. Here’s a quick overview of some of our recent accolades:

While there’s no single thing that makes the Greenhouse company culture great, there are definitely some points that we think are worth mentioning:

  • We put a lot of thought into hiring: Greenhouse is built on the belief that people-first companies have a competitive advantage and structured hiring is one of the keys to putting people first. Our hiring process is designed to let candidates showcase a wide range of their experiences and abilities and we aim for continuous improvement by acting on candidate feedback.
  • We smooth the transition from candidate to new hire with thoughtful onboarding: We welcome our employees with open arms even before their first day. Greenhouse Onboarding allows employees to create profiles to introduce themselves and knock out paperwork even before their start date. It also helps teams make sure each person knows their onboarding role through a set of automated tasks and reminders. This eliminates confusion and stress for new hires so that they can focus on absorbing information and building meaningful relationships.
  • We empower people to do the best work of their careers: We do everything we can to ensure that everyone is able to achieve their professional goals so they’re constantly striving to be valuable contributors. Through quarterly goal-setting and weekly 1:1 chats, employees are empowered to do the best work of their careers, even if that means switching roles. It’s not uncommon to see a Sales Development Representative become a QA Engineer, for example.
  • We invite people to bring their whole selves to work. Really: Our commitment to DE&I and building belonging is at the center of everything we do. It’s how we fulfill our mission to make every company great at hiring. It’s how we create an inclusive and equitable culture at our own company. And it’s how we contribute to the kind of world we want to live in.

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