It is often said that building a company is all about building a team – however, that’s not all about hiring the right people. My experience with founding Saleduck has taught me that building a company is also about building a culture because a great culture always builds a great team, while a team of newly hired highly skilled individuals doesn’t necessarily build a great culture.

Defining culture
It can be a bit difficult to define culture, even though it’s a word you hear and use on a daily basis. We can define it as a discretionary behavior that picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. However, it’s a lot more than that.

In today’s world, when you think about a certain company you already have a perspective on its culture. So for example, Facebook is known for a exceptional culture, while other companies have a “nice” or “okay” company culture.

By asking people how culture can be created and what it means, you’ll get different answers such as environment, mission, company values or even perks like ping-pong or free food. But when you ask them about their company’s culture, the answer will be a simple “good” or “bad”.

It starts with personality

In my opinion, your personality becomes your culture when you start a company. Your first employees are probably people you already know, and as you are busy with building a product that sells, you completely forget about the culture. When the company starts growing and you think about hiring new employees, you soon realize that you need to define a culture which your new employees will follow.

After creating a “culture guide or a code of conduct” comes a tricky part – asking employees to follow it. But what you are asking them to do? Are you expecting them to change their personality? They can read your guide or even learn it, but do they really buy into it?

Look at non-profits
To find the answer to these questions, you could look at non-profit organizations where people join and volunteer to help without asking for a paycheck. I needed to learn the foundation of great cultures, and in order to do that I decided to look at a spiritual organization. People who volunteer there are not only unpaid, but they also donate their own funds because they believe in the mission.

While I first thought they are driven by personal happiness and deep belief, I soon realize that it is all about the leaders and not necessary about the mission itself. What all spiritual organizations have in common is the fact that they all love their leaders who give them hope, strengths, inspiration and a deeper connection.

That’s when I realized that an environment where the leader leads by example is what builds an exceptional culture. This is not only the CEO but every manager with a leaders role in your organisation. It’s a place where people are inspired by the leader’s action and not only words; where employees look up to their colleague and learn by observing and not just reading.

The Importance of the Culture
Your workplace can’t be something that employees dread every day. They should be looking forward to going to work instead of hating it. They should even have a hard time leaving their workplace because they enjoy the atmosphere, co-workers and challenges.

It is utmost important to remember that while the job may be difficult, it shouldn’t cause any stress. And this is why culture matters – it sustains employee enthusiasm, which provides better results in every aspect of the business and leads to better productivity. Therefore, it is worth investing the time to build a good working culture where all of your employees feel free to express their own thoughts and contribute to the overall success of your company.