There are lots of articles on the interwebs about company culture: the importance of it, the need to sometimes change it, and how to create a memorable one. There are also plenty of articles about HR or senior management being the creators and keepers of company culture.
It was very refreshing to hear JetBlue talk about company culture at the last WorkHuman Conference, powered by Globoforce. They tell employees during onboarding that they (the employees) are the keepers of company culture. In addition, they tell employees how to be a good culture keeper. It involves these four key principles (you could also think of them as values):
- Own it. Employees are expected to support and embrace the mission of the company.
- Protect it. Employees will hold themselves and others accountable for doing the same.
- Share it. Employees recognize, reward, and share stories about he company culture.
- Grow it. Employees understand that if they do the first three, then this one will happen.
On the surface these might seem quite simple, but that’s the point. They’re easy to convey, easy to understand, and easy to do. These principles can be incorporated into interviews, onboarding, training, and performance management.
Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and copy JetBlue’s culture statements. It’s their culture and you shouldn’t duplicate it. But it does raise the question, in your organization, who owns culture? And do the people who own culture know it? Furthermore, do the culture keepers of your organization get the resources they need to properly do their job?
Whether it’s senior management, human resources, or all employees, it’s important to communicate who will be responsible for keeping the company culture alive and thriving. If they don’t know, how can they do their part? It does make me wonder if companies struggling with their culture are really struggling because they haven’t defined who owns it and communicated that message.
P.S. Just a reminder that registration is open for WorkHuman 2019! The event will be held March 18 – 21, 2019 in Nashville, TN at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. Several speakers have already been announced including award-winning actress Viola Davis, so check out their website for details. And if you use the registration code WH19INF-MFA, you’ll get a $100 discount. It’s always a fantastic event. Hope to see you there!
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the SHRM Annual Conference in Washington, DC