The 9 Elements of Company Culture

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The 9 Elements of Company Culture

Many people assume that company culture are the social activities that happen within an organisation, or the work perks. But the fact is, company culture is essentially made from nine elements that separate your company from others.

These elements gives your business its character, and your employees an understanding of how things are done, but most importantly, why they are done that way.

If you want to refresh your culture or start implementing a unique company culture, these core elements are the guiding areas that should help you build a culture that can withstand change, and ultimately enable your business to have engaged people.

1) Vision & Values

Before you can begin changing and analysing everything in your organisation, get to grips with the ultimate goal of your organisation. This will be defined in your company vision and purpose. If you know what this is, the rest will often fall into place quite naturally.

Identify the following.

Mission – What goal or outcome is your organisation committed to?

Purpose – Why is that goal important to your organisation? Who benefits?

Values – How will your company act or behave to make that goal happen?

2) Operations

Operations are the way things get done. They’re the boring processes you’ve spent ages formatting so that anyone can pick up the manual and do the job, but are they aligned with your mission?

Operations range from how you recruit people, how you train people, to how your employees process an order or talk to a customer. Yes, it can be rather dull and boring to think about operations, but aligning your operations with your purpose is essential to ensure your organisation is ‘living’ its mission and values.

3) Communication

Communication doesn’t just extend to how you discuss things in your organisation, it’s how you share information and ideas as an entire team.

Think about it. Without trust in your organisation, it’s difficult to have a truly engaged company culture where people will put the company, and its mission and purpose first.

4) Leadership

Managers and leaders should be the role models of the company culture.

Ultimately, the way senior leadership act will lead the way for the rest of the team. Therefore, it’s imperative that when you’re constructing or refreshing a company culture, you ensure that your leadership are fully on board.

5) Recognition

When it comes to recognition most organisations believe this is how competitive the bonuses or benefits are for their employees. However, the truth is that recognition is far more than a little extra money.

To be effective in the area of recognition, your recognition strategy must be continuous, timely, fair, relevant and personal.

Too many organisations throw money at a problem without remembering the basic principle that it’s the thought that counts every time.

6) Learning & Development

While many organisations take a blanket approach to learning and development, the way you train should be ignited from your values and purpose.

Without the freedom and responsibility for employees to manage their learning, you can expect them to be disengaged with their own development.

When you establish a culture of learning, you have higher levels of productivity and innovation, your retention rate is higher, which means you spend less on recruitment, and ultimately you have engaged employees who are passionate about the company they work for.

7) Environment

Despite our work being more varied than ever before, we continue to sit in the same position at the same desk to carry out much of our work, and even have our lunch there!

Expand your mindset on what environment means.  It shouldn’t just incorporate the physical space but the atmosphere and energy that is created in these spaces.

When you imagine the word ‘workspace’ you should consider it in a broader sense rather than it just being a physical ‘workplace.’

8) Pay & Benefits

Money cannot buy happiness, so don’t be under the illusion that it will buy you engaged employees.

Pay is about fairness, yet many organisations struggle to implement a fair and honest pay structure.

You either have to be ignorant or naive to believe that pay is private. All too many employees will admit to discussing pay with their co-workers, and even with friends and family. It’s no longer seen as such a taboo to discuss money.

Getting it right is crucial to your culture, otherwise you can spend a lot of time and money improving all other elements, only for pay to let everything come crumbling down. You have to admit that when it comes to pay, this is the Achilles heel of most organisations.  

9) Wellbeing

Work has the capacity to make employees suffer from poor health, and thus it is now a legal responsibility for employers to not only ensure the health and safety of employees. but also their wellbeing. You must realise that employee wellbeing is no longer a ‘nice to do’, it’s a ‘have to do’.

Create a strong wellbeing strategy for your organisation and you’ll see absenteeism significantly reduce, productivity increased, and engagement skyrocket.


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    About The Author

    Lizzie Benton is a people and culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a unique company culture and building engaged teams. Lizzie has been recognised as a millennial changing the world of work, and has been featured in the Metro, HuffingtonPost and has spoken across the UK on employee engagement. When not consulting or running a workshop, Lizzie can be found in rural Lincolnshire enjoying afternoon tea and fresh air.