Culture Is Not Just What You Do
Culture is not just what you do - it's also what you don't do.
At its core, company culture is all about the shared values, beliefs, and behaviors that define an organization. It's about the way people interact with each other, how decisions are made, and how things get done. But what many people don't realize is that culture is as much about what you don't do as it is about what you do.
Here are 2 examples to better break down what this means in practice.
Example 1: Work-Life Balance
First, let's consider a company that claims to value work-life balance. They might offer flexible schedules, encourage employees to take time off when they need it, and promote a healthy work-life balance. But if they also expect their employees to be available 24/7, respond to emails at all hours of the day and night, and work weekends and holidays, then their culture is not truly aligned with their stated values. In this case, it's not just about what they do, but also about what they don't do - they don't respect their employees' boundaries and personal time.
Example 2: Diversity & Inclusion
Another example might be a company that claims to prioritize diversity and inclusion. They might have a diversity and inclusion committee, host events to celebrate different cultures, and offer training on unconscious bias. But if they don't actively address instances of discrimination or harassment when they occur, or if they don't make a concerted effort to recruit and promote underrepresented groups, then their culture is not truly aligned with their stated values. In this case, it's not just about what they do, but also about what they don't do - they don't actively work to eliminate biases and create a truly inclusive environment.
So, why is it so important to consider what you don't do when it comes to company culture? For one thing, it can undermine the effectiveness of the things you do. If you claim to value work-life balance but expect employees to be constantly available, for example, you're sending a mixed message that can erode trust and make it harder for employees to take your stated values seriously. But more than that, what you don't do can reveal a lot about your true priorities and values. If you say you value something but don't act on it, then it's really just lip service - and people will see right through it.
Tips To Stay Aligned with Your Values
Be clear and consistent about your values. Make sure everyone in the organization understands what you stand for and what you expect from them.
Hold yourself accountable. Don't just talk the talk - make sure you're actually living your values every day, and be willing to acknowledge when you fall short.
Listen to feedback. If people are telling you that your culture is not aligned with your stated values, listen to them and take their feedback seriously.
Be proactive. Don't wait for problems to arise before you start addressing them. Actively work to create a culture that reflects your values, and be willing to make changes when necessary.
In the end, creating a strong, healthy company culture is about more than just offering perks or hosting events. It's about creating an environment where people feel valued, respected, and supported - both in what you do and what you don't do. By being intentional about your culture and making sure it aligns with your values, you can create a workplace that people are proud to be a part of.