It is a known truth that all companies have unique cultures. It depends on the nature of the business, the type of clients, the location and, more importantly, the culture that employees already bring with them. We believe, however, that culture is not something completely imposed on the company or by the company, but rather something we can shape, until we reach the type of culture we want to live by. Nobody wants a company where staff work for money and money alone. We need a culture that engages people and makes them want to stay and grow with us.
In Virtualmind’s case, for instance, that was a key part of the unbelievable growth we experienced over the last two years. We evolved from a 10-person company located in Argentina to having over 150 Virtualminders all over Latin America working in a remote environment helping boost our North American clients’ projects. When we put it like that it tends to be a bit hard to believe but the truth is we could not have achieved it if our culture was not aligned and built for and alongside our collaborators.
So, we wanted to share a few insights on how we believe culture can be shaped:
- Have a clear mission
You need to know where you are heading and why. A company is not a wild horse running in the fields, but rather an arrow aiming to a target. Having a clear mission statement and applying it to all your policies to make sure you are following it is a great way to start.
- Hire accordingly
You want to surround yourself with people aligned to your work style, so the recruitment process here is key. Once you know what type of culture you want to create, make sure you attract, hire and work hard to keep with you those employees that will help you succeed with it. Some work personalities, skill sets and temperaments will adapt better to the culture you are trying to create: go for them.
- Share your values
If your mission and values are only known by the HR department and the high management, something is not right. Each and every one of your staff are your cover letters to the business world, so they should be fully aware of your beliefs, your goals and your the type of company you want to be.
- Kindness is free
We should never forget that our team members are, first and foremost, people. They are siblings, friends, mothers, fathers, partners. They may have a family emergency, or simply wish to attend a special event at their children’s school. Make sure your staff feels free to organize their day, knowing that they have room for their personal life with no retaliation later.
- Keep learning
A great culture has continuous learning at its core. Not only with formal training or seminars, but also with a work environment that sees mistakes as an opportunity to learn and to grow. Learning can be present in all activities. It can even be mentioned in daily team meetings: “is there anything you have learned today that you want to share?”.
As you can see, company culture is not something static. It moves, evolves, changes and can be shaped to help you reach the best potential at company level. In many ways, a company is its culture, so investing in it is worth the effort.