Best Practices


5 Random Truths

Defining the vision, values and cultural foundations of the company is something that’s easier done from the outside looking in. It also requires getting input from people throughout the organization, across geography, function and seniority.

Members of the executive team may feel they have a handle on the culture, but they sometimes have an insular experience without a lot of contact outside corporate HQ. Employees in various regions or business units, not to mention job levels, might have a slightly, or even dramatically, different experience of what the culture is like.

That’s why it’s so important to hold focus groups and interviews with a wide range of employees to identify themes, and sometimes to quantify those results with a survey.

Here are five random truths that can explain why it’s helpful to look a little deeper when exploring cultural issues:

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You have a company culture — whether you mean to or not

The company culture is sometimes difficult to define for those who’ve been working there for a long while, because it’s what they’re used to. But every workplace has a culture that reflects the beliefs, values, norms and habits of the organization. Sometimes that culture is driven by the vision and values of the leadership, and other times, it’s left to chance.

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Job candidates will be attracted to your culture — or the reverse

Job candidates will pick up on your company’s culture the minute they walk through the door. It’s visible in employees’ energy levels, facial expressions, interactions with each other and with people from outside the company. It may be difficult to articulate, but you can feel it in the way people move through their days. That tangible vibe is unique to your company.

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Your culture’s true values may be different from the ones on the poster

Sometimes the values that a company proclaims don’t really tell the whole story. Often, they’re a generic set of standard-issue values that include words like integrity, teamwork and honesty. Possibly those words truly are emblematic of your culture, but there are probably more interesting values that employees use day to day. Try to identify those values that other companies may not share.

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Culture starts at the top — but it may be different at the bottom

It’s true that executive leadership sets the tone for the culture of the company, but their interactions are primarily with one another and a layer or two below. They may put a high priority on having a culture of respect, for instance. But employees on the front line of the manufacturing plants could be having a different experience. That gap is important to identify.

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Each employee will express the culture in their own unique way

One of the interesting aspects of culture is that every employee will reflect that culture through their own personality and job role. For instance, collaboration to one person might mean taking the lead, while to another it’s more about following up on details. The way an employee in the call center expresses a value of customer focus will be very different from that of salesperson.

Culture is a driving force for engagement, recruiting, retention and, according to many, the bottom line. Whether you’re trying to articulate your existing culture or shift the culture in a meaningful way, one of the first steps is to hear from the people who are living and breathing that culture every day.

How can we help?

Tribe does internal communications – and that’s all we do. We’re a full-service shop, from audits and strategy to creative and production.

Steve Baskin
President and Chief Strategy Officer
Office: (404) 256-5858
Mobile: (404) 663-7910
[email protected]