In the context of company culture – or any culture for that matter – “mutual constitution” refers to the unique relationship between individuals and the collective unit to which they belong. We internalize social cues and normative behavior so efficiently (oftentimes without even realizing it) that our own behavior gravitates toward established norms and reinforces existing culture. Any entrepreneurs out there starting businesses from the ground up: take heed! Laying the foundation for an inclusive and productive work environment should take precedent before setting anything else in motion. It’s much more difficult to counter destructive attitudes like complacency or hostility in the workplace once the dust settles. Human nature compels us to seek acceptance and validation from our piers, so be sure to establish clear standards and hold your team accountable from the get-go. Your future self will thank you for it.
Establishing healthy culture is one thing, but projecting that culture to potential employees/business partners may involve a more nuanced approach. These people won’t have first-hand experience to guide their perception, which begs the question: what do “outsiders” use to form an impression about your company? In our experience, businesses can market their reputation most effectively using three main avenues: extracurricular activities, the interview/onboarding process, and social media.
Extracurricular Activities – The most literal way to share company culture with the outside world is to get involved with the community. Volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House, go caroling during the holidays, or even participate in a weekly bowling league just for fun. Not only will you strengthen team bonds, but you remind the world that behind every business there are regular people making it work. Do everything you can to create/display that sense of genuine human connection, and you may discover that others will be drawn to your cause.
Interview/Onboarding Process – Remember that term “mutual constitution”? Not only does company culture influence employee behavior, but employees influence company culture as well. This reciprocal relationship highlights the importance of new hires that have not yet been acclimated to standard procedures/relationship dynamics because they are most likely to shake up perceived norms. Landing talent that will positively impact morale and productivity entails that you attract those individuals once you find them. Throughout the hiring process, remember that you are selling yourself just as much (if not more) than the other way around. Highlight benefits packages and exude positivity to communicate that your company takes care of its employees, especially when you think you’ve found the right ones.
Social Media – For better or for worse, social media has completely transformed interconnectivity in the world. We have all seen it contribute to the destruction of public figures and institutions, however, when used correctly, there has never been a more efficient way to communicate exactly what you want to your target audience. Choose what you say, choose when you say it, choose who you say it to, all without the pressure of real-time decision-making. Acknowledge current events, add commentary, share fun facts about the history of your company, share pictures from bowling night or advertise your services all on one platform! The only catch: make sure you review before hitting send! If you heed this warning there is nothing to keep you from successfully projecting your company values and culture