When people think about where they want to work, they tend to think about all kinds of things – compensation, reputation, location and much more. But one thing that’s sometimes overlooked about top companies is their ability to establish a unique culture that unites employees in a common vision, and makes them want to be a part of something special.

Tech companies like Google and Facebook are dueling to offer the world’s best employee perks, but having the right culture at work is a perk in its own right (as employees here at Slingshot SEO can attest).

Slingshot SEO has become a melting pot of new ideas and different perspectives – a beehive of activity punctuated by occasional silliness (as evidenced by the tradition of playing the song “Friday” each Thursday morning to mark our last scheduled workday of the week).

Yes, Slingshot SEO has a quirky culture all its own that we’ve come to love. Here are some tips for creating a company culture that rocks.

But I’m a Musician, Not a Mathematician

Poll people around our office, and you’ll find that we come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from creative writing to business school. Yet we all have plenty in common.

In the interviewing process, we look at whether someone possesses Slingshotter qualities: methodical, reliable, curious, collaborative, driven and smart. If someone has those qualities, in tandem with the right mindset and experience, then they’re probably a good candidate to work here.

Those Slingshotter characteristics serve as an important aspect of the Slingshot SEO culture. So, don’t rule people out based solely on their degrees; take a closer look at their characteristics as you gauge their capabilities.

Defining Culture within Your Organization

So, how do you define “culture” within your company? If it’s something you don’t think about much, you’re missing opportunities to create a greater sense of shared ambition, of communicating the “why” of what you do.

Last year, Slingshot SEO established a Culture Team – a volunteer committee of employees who work together to make sure we maintain a culture with a full slate of fun, morale-boosting activities. And once a month, we convene for “Round Table,” a company meeting where we learn about the work going on in different departments, cheer about big wins and get a sense of what’s coming down the pike. And we participate in amusing activities that reinforce that we’re all in this together.

Best Places To Work In IndianaEmployee culture at Slingshot SEO has become a priority instead of an afterthought, and now we’re reaping the benefits. In fact, Slingshot SEO was recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana in 2012.

Creating the Cool Factor

So, nurture your company’s unique culture as you communicate a shared vision. For us, it’s the bold vision to “Fix Marketing.” That’s not an easy task, and we know it won’t happen overnight. But it’s a worthy task – something that inspires people to contribute, whether by becoming a new blogger, learning more about social signals or Conversion Rate Optimization, or simply rededicating yourself to do your best possible work.

Give people a vision and let them unleash their creativity. Then, stand back as they accomplish things you never imagined.