In the race for top talent, companies must set themselves apart to attract the best. And today, a large part of that equation is a killer “intentional culture.”
But nailing down exactly what constitutes a killer culture is a nebulous quest at best. And how do you design it with a strong intention?
Perhaps no other company has it figured out as well as Disney. Since 1923, the Happiest Place on Earth has been wowing audiences with its legendary magic. And a big part of their magic comes directly from Disney’s staff and the culture they’ve cultivated.
Dee Byrnes knows this all too well. A 20-year veteran of the Walt Disney Company, Dee cut her teeth as an entry-level employee before moving up to the top ranks of the company’s HR division. Along the way, Dee became intimately familiar with the ingredients that define Disney’s culture.
Now an organizational consultant with Onboard Oxygen, Dee shares insights from her Disney days to help other organizations develop thriving cultures for themselves. In fact, Dee believes that a strong culture is vital to any business hoping to scale.
I recently caught up with Dee to get some of her insights on building a strong culture. Here’s what she had to say.
Build an Intentional Culture
Like any goal in life, you need to know where you want to go to hit the target. Culture, Dee says, operates in very much the same manner. It must be built with intention.
So then, to achieve the culture you want, you need to start by clarifying your vision. Perhaps your culture will center around work-life-balance. Or maybe its goal will be to foster innovation and curiosity. Whatever it is, get down to the heart of what you want your workplace to be.
Hire for the Culture You Want
Culture, of course, is all about the people within it. So to realize the culture you want, you need employees that share the company’s values. And that begins with your hiring practices.
Say, for example, a large part of your culture is about collaboration. To support this intention, you’ll want team players with a proven ability to successfully collaborate. Similarly, you’ll want to steer clear of any aggressive or domineering types.
Like Attracts Like
“If you build it, they will come.” So said the mysterious voice to farmer Ray in the iconic film Field of Dreams. That voice was talking about baseball, but the same more or less holds true for company culture.
Specific corporate cultures tend to attract specific personalities.
If you build the culture you want, you’ll continue to attract the types of employees you need to keep that culture intact as you scale.
Culture Must Be Nourished
Culture is not is a one-off exercise that can be shelved after conceptualization. Rather, culture should be seen as a living, breathing entity. And like any living creature, culture must be nourished.
So, how is culture nourished exactly? Well, it’s not a written manual to be occasionally visited by staff during review season. And it’s certainly not a pingpong table.
The exact method of nourishing will be different for every company. Maybe it’s a mix of annual employee retreats and weekly brainstorming. Or maybe it’s internal competitions or makerspaces to foster creativity.
Whatever your method, figure out what works best for your culture and put it into action.
Hear more of Dee’s insights on building corporate cultures that foster growth on the podcast.