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5 Must-Haves for a Kick-ass Company Culture

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Company culture is the cornerstone on which a is built. Regardless of company size and stature, culture drives employee engagement, and aligns the , which enhances overall operations -- and it must be a consideration with every strategic growth decision.

To build a great company, leaders should define the culture as carefully as an organization defines its products. Ultimately it comes down to hiring and attracting the right talent to execute. Organizations that have a strong inclusive company culture will attract better candidates.

So how is a strong company culture developed?

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1. Know your mission

Every business should be able to clearly articulate its mission to each employee. When everyone has the same goal in mind, it's easier to work together as a team to deliver superior products and services.

2. Hire right

When growing your business, it can be tempting to hire the first candidate who appears to have the right credentials.

But keep in mind that the outcome of the company culture isn't just about an individual's résumé. The overall success of a company largely depends on the employees' behaviors and actions within the organization. At SocialWhirled, we have "the airport test." Hiring managers ask themselves if they would enjoy spending an extended period of with the candidate if they were "stranded at an airport."

If the answer is no, the candidate isn't hired.

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3. Get to know the workers

It can be hard for executives to find time to interact with their employees. However, it's important to engage regularly with staff to hear their insights about the business. Not only do employees' insights make the company stronger; people feel more valued when they have supervisors who will listen. At SocialWhirled we hold biweekly staff meetings. We start with executive highlights, and then all staff has the opportunity to report out. Additionally, throughout the year we hold social outings so we have time to decompress as a team.

4. Acknowledge employee successes

This is a key step in maintaining company culture. A combination of public acknowledgment and additional compensation based on performance is very powerful. At SocialWhirled we have incorporated the banging of the Chinese bungu. Whenever we close a key sale or launch a new product, team members bang on the "gu" loudly throughout the office.

5. Incorporate fun

Company culture is vital, especially during phases of rapid growth. SocialWhirled's slogan reflects our ability to run while chewing gum at the same time. Employees are given shirts that showcase our slogan and orange and purple running sneakers that are replaced when they become worn. Additionally we pride ourselves on giving back to the community. Many of our members participate in charity runs and act as mentors and educators in the entrepreneurship community. Tremendous traction is gained when organizations make culture a priority and offer a "work hard, play hard" atmosphere.

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