How to Build a Great Company Culture in 4 Steps

Kim Doig on September 16, 2020

You probably already know how integral a great company culture is to the success of your business efforts. Investing the time and energy to create a culture that is inclusive and allows both the business and employees to flourish will set you up for future success.

Back in 2016, SPLICE dug in and began investigating how we could utilize our greatest asset – our team of “A-Players.” Fast forward to 2020, SPLICE continues to invest and focus on building and supporting that team. According to a recent LinkedIn survey, the #1 thing the millennial workforce is looking for in a company is culture and values.

That means, more than video game breaks and nap rooms, our best and brightest employees want to work somewhere that aligns with their personal values. They want to show up and be part of something that feels good. So how do you create a culture that people want to be part of?

Create clear values that align with who you are as a company

The key to creating foundational values is to stay true to who you are as a leader and a company. It is easy to translate values into culture when they are truly representative of who you are as people. Do you believe structure and protocol keeps the ship sailing smoothly? Then make sure your values reflect your expectations. Is ‘Work hard, play hard’ your personal motto? Then make sure flexibility is included in how you run your business.

“One thing my mother told me when I was a child that has stuck with me ever since is that, while people might forget what you say or do, they’ll never forget how you make them feel. I’ve applied that principle as a leader throughout my career and, in fact, SPLICE is built on that principle” says Tara Kelly, President and CEO of SPLICE. People buy-in when they can feel an authentic and honest connection between the company’s values and the culture they live every day.

Increase employee engagement

This one is key. Having employees that are emotionally and psychologically engaged in their work and their teams is a huge factor in creating a company culture that checks all the boxes. There are lots of ways to keep employees engaged. At SPLICE, we use TINYpulse, a tool that combines anonymous employee-surveying with actionable data. TINYpulse gives us the ability to ask our employees what they need, think, and want, rather than approaching decision making with a top-down approach. Our team feels heard and that their opinions matter. Culture is a group responsibility and providing a platform to have a voice helps to keep everyone involved.

Don't just ask act

Data is great – and we get a lot of it from our TINYpulse surveys. But now what? There is nothing more disengaging than being asked for your opinion about something and then getting nothing but radio silence. If you are going to engage your team and ask their opinion, you need to be ready to either act on it (quickly!) or communicate on why you aren’t (or aren’t right now.) Being open, honest and transparent builds trust on a team and positive company culture are much easier to build on a foundation of trust.

Recognize and appreciate

I can’t stress this enough – catch your team doing things right! There are many ways to do this. Gift cards, verbal praise, emails, and surprises can all be utilized to recognize and appreciate your team. The key is to ensure you are recognizing more than just hitting KPIs and goals. If you focus your recognition program on catching your team living your company values (and you have created authentic values) the goal hitting will follow naturally. Recognized employees are happy employees and happy employees breed positive company culture. There is research that backs this up. According Bersin & Associates, recognition and praise from managers and teammates help to fulfill the love/belonging and esteem parts of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Fulfilling these needs can help a person move to the pinnacle of the triangle – self-actualization. A self-actualized employee is motivated, engaged, and happy.


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Source: The Bersin & Associates Employee Recognition Framework, 2012


As far as I know, there is no magic formula for creating a perfect company culture. It requires work, buy-in, honestly, and flexibility and it is ever-changing.

What I can tell you is that the time and investment will be worth it. Teams with strong company cultures are resilient and with everything 2020 has thrown at us, resiliency is more important than ever. How does your team foster a strong company culture? Let us know in the comments below!