A strong corporate culture can be a key driver to attracting and retaining new talent, which is important if you want to grow as a company. Conversely, the changes associated with rapid growth can lead to a counterproductive culture, one that is no longer aligned with your company’s mission and strategy. Our advice? If you want to grow sustainably as an entrepreneur, you should aim to steer your corporate culture both proactively and with purpose.
The Vlerick Entrepreneurship Academy’s ‘Culture’ Playbook offers a practical, step-by-step plan for developing and maintaining your corporate culture.
1/ DESCRIBE your desired culture
The initial core values behind your corporate culture are often coloured by your founding team and tend to be passed on informally to employees. To start actively fostering your desired culture, you first need to make it explicit. The five questions in the Vlerick Culture Canvas – which you will find in the ‘Culture’ Playbook – can help you with this.
2/ SPREAD the culture throughout your company
Once your corporate culture has been clearly defined, you need to ensure that its values and norms permeate throughout your organisation. This is achieved not only by communicating with your team, but also by setting a good example yourself. Repetition is key – you can never overcommunicate when it comes to values and culture.
3/ EMBED the culture in your processes
To really bring your corporate culture to life, everyone in the organisation needs to feel a joint responsibility for embodying its core values and defending them internally. Cultivating that sense of responsibility starts with you and your processes. You will find examples of this in the ‘Culture’ Playbook.
4/ EVALUATE and adjust where necessary
Decide how you plan to acknowledge those who fully embody your chosen core values. Also, think about what kinds of behaviour might lead to dismissal and act accordingly. Last but not least, remember that culture and values are never set in stone. Allow your corporate culture to evolve as your business develops or as new social trends emerge, such as hybrid working.