Creating a Culture That Sticks

by Jimmy Winskowski on Dec 30, 2013 4:38:44 PM

* Part 1 of our 2013 TINYpulse Employee Engagement Study breakdown.

Company culture is a topic that is now hotter than ever, and companies are openly competing with one another to make culture the anchor of their recruiting and retention initiatives. Unfortunately, as our recent survey on employee engagement indicated, 58% of employees do not even know the values of the company they work for. Is this an employee problem, or is the company to blame?

Some organizations candidly admit that they don’t have a formulated version of their vision, mission, and values. Others claim to have a concrete set of cultural values, but employees have been slow to adopt them. Like it or not, a culture is taking root at your company one way or another. Here are three steps every company should follow to create a culture that will stick.

Create a Clear Vision

Creating a company culture goes way beyond the bottom line. Your company culture is the heartbeat that pulses through your company's day to day activities. It's immediately evident when a visitor walks through your doors or lands on your website. And creating a clear vision is the first step to cultivating a strong, vibrant pulse.

“A great vision is inspiring. It gets you and everyone in the organization excited to come to work; it's the cathedral everyone is coming to work every day to construct.”

–Ari Weinzweig

Creating a clear vision requires stepping back from the day-to-day grind and asking questions like, "What do you want your company to be known for?" "Why will clients/customers love you instead of your competitors?" "How will a first time visitor to your office feel after leaving?" A strong vision paints a picture for the future of your company.

At the end of the day, employees are looking for a company whose future matches their own. If you plan on keeping employees around, create a clear vision of where your company is going and invite them to come along for the ride.

Define Your Mission

Defining your company's mission is the process of determining how you plan to achieve the vision you've created. Your company’s mission statement should be specific, easy to understand, and easy to implement. Your mission is not a business plan. Instead, it’s a roadmap for reaching your company vision.

A perfect example of a company with a strong, clear, specific mission statement is Zappos. As a business, Zappos could be considered an online marketplace, a clothing retailer, or a tech company. But their mission is simply, “To provide the best customer service possible.” This mission transcends industry and revenue structure. It provides a clear definition of a goal and a clear direction for all the actions the company will take.

Once you've created your company's mission statement, take every step possible to ensure your employees know that mission by heart. Share it during interviews, throughout the onboarding process, and during performance reviews. Display it prominently and offer frequent reminders that your company is not simply devoted to making sales or providing a service, but carrying out a mission.

Choose Values That Shape Your Actions

If your company’s mission is a roadmap leading to your vision, your core values are the vehicle that helps you stay on track. What does this mean?

At TINYpulse our core values are spelled out in a single word: DELIGHT. Each letter stands for one important value (e.g. "D" stands for "Delight customers," and "L" stands for "Lead with solutions and embrace change.") When a problem arises and we are forced to make a decision as a company, we refer immediately to our values. We then ask, “what do our values dictate we do in this circumstance?” By taking actions based on these key values, we remain true to our vision and mission statement.


Creating a strong culture begins with having a clear vision, mission, and defining values. Remember, your company culture will begin to develop whether you have consciously created one or not. Take the time to build a positive, healthy culture by taking the steps above and you won't have to fear a negative culture creeping up in its place.

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This post was written by Jimmy Winskowski