This week in #bufferchat, we discussed the concept of creating a company culture with our guest, Matthew Partovi, the founder of @culturevist! Throughout the conversation, we explored what a great company culture looks like, what an individual at a company can do to impact the culture in a positive way, and much more.

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

For our community in Asia and Australia (or anyone in other timezones that like this time the best!): 4 pm AEDT (Sydney time, UTC+11)

For our community in North/South America, Europe and Africa (or others!): 9 am PT (California time)

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Q1: What does a great company culture look like to you?

From Matt:

  • A great company culture means different things to different people. What some may think is great, others may not.
  • If the people with the power are honest about what they think ‘great’ looks like, we can decide whether we feel similar.
  • To me it includes an inspiring vision, transparency & honesty, and the courage to support words with actions.

From the community:

  • “A good company culture is where there is trust, openness, transparency and respect across all levels of business.” @KatLoughrey
  • “A culture that inspires personal growth, which is the only way there will be true growth for the whole.” @AnnaAnnamotion
  • “Synergy. Showcases how every dimension of the brand & its team is important. Good practices, values & goals in common.” @Typ0Queen
  • “To me, it looks like honesty, positivity, hard-working, humility, thankful, open, welcoming, & motivating!” @CMGRmelissa
  • “Great company culture is hard to define but easy to recognize. It’s more than a mission statement plaque on the wall.” @Thekneil

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: How have you been impacted by company culture?

From Matt:

  • Company culture has been the difference between me looking forward to work at the start of the week and not.
  • Company culture has been the difference between me doing things because I have to, and doing them because I want to.
  • Company culture was one of the things that affected whether we could keep up with our customers & the market.

From the community:

  • “Company culture can mean the difference of seizing a task and creating awesome outcomes, or putting in the minimum.” @AnnDiab
  • “Company culture has been both toxic and invigorating. Swimming against the tide of opposite values can be draining.” @MaureenOnPoint
  • “The close-knit & small team setting that most startups encourage has allowed me to develop my skills a lot faster. LOVE IT.” @winniegiang
  • “B/c of great company culture, I don’t count hours in the day or days in the week. I see work as a positive part of my life.” @conradc
  • “Sad truth is, many unhappy experiences. Usually a stated culture w/ no backing to it. Inspired me to improve myself though!” @ItsADinah

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: What would you suggest as the first step for shifting an organization’s culture?

From Matt:

  • One of the most powerful steps is gathering other people who also care about the org’s culture to form a network.
  • Understanding how the people with the power want things to be, so you get a sense of where you’re starting from.
  • One step could be not trying to convince everyone. You could start small and go where the energy is.
  • Once conversation has happened, experiment. When there’s debate it’s difficult to know ‘right’ answer until you try (safely).

From the community:

  • “Let the employees lead! People will be more willing to be a part of a culture that they helped create.” @martinlieberman
  • “It has to start from the top, be communicated effectively and have those in charge lead by example.” @MNDEmpire
  • “The first step? Getting super clear on what you want that culture to look like.” @kristlyuen
  • “Also take a reality check: what cultural attributes do you have now? If total opposite of desired, may be a stretch too far?” @little_lj
  • “Not knowing what your company values can impair your ability to shift to a culture that aligns with those values.” @mwilton13

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: As a company grows, how can it maintain its culture?

From Matt:

  • Culture will change, though it can become better/stronger as the company grows – you may need to invest more into it.
  • Remember/discover what made your company unique earlier on. See if it’s still relevant – if so, protect and amplify it.

From the community:

  • “Communicate goals & values w/ employees. Make sure everyone knows they’re contributing to the company.Don’t forget abt them!” @NatashaWest_
  • “By hiring the right people. People affect the culture of a company more than anything else.” @SearcySledge
  • “Build social into business; have retreats; encourage a portion of time to be dedicated to meeting each other.” @incipecoop
  • “Engagement + encouragement. If people feel they belong, they will keep this culture in their hearts & guard it well.” @ionafresnova
  • “Eliminate the gap between management & employees in decision making.” @ramoscheryle

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: What’s a big challenge when it comes to changing company culture?

From Matt:

  • There are many things such as mindset, habits, and more, though one of the most significant is incentives.
  • People without power may be frustrated with status quo, but things may be working exactly as the people with the power want.
  • It’s hard to influence people to change when they’re incentivised to keep things as they are.
  • If achieving short term targets is prioritised at the cost of longer-term culture, there may well be cause for concern.

From the community:

  • “Inertia to change. People pay lip service to change but change is hard.” @ideakid88
  • “it takes more energy to be #positive than remain #negative.” @M2Franz
  • “Patience! Company culture can’t be changed in a day.” @sola_eclipses
  • “Leadership lacking self-awareness, not knowing something even needs to be changed.” @thegrumpygirl
  • “Finding the balance between bringing in the new and keeping what worked before.” @YesSharleen

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: What’s one thing an individual can do at their own company to positively impact the culture?

From Matt:

  • Gather others who care about your company’s culture. A network is a powerful force that really can make change happen.
  • Recognise and curate examples of things you’d like to see more (or less) of.

From the community:

  • “Celebrate the little things, be present in your co-worker’s life and make sure to listen to others!” @danielleirogers
  • “Empower those around you. Be a resource when they’re struggling and don’t be afraid to reach out when you are. Builds trust.” @TheKyleMurray
  • “Actively reach out to colleagues in other teams to learn about their work, and add value when possible.” @bestcapetownSA
  • “Engage with new hires – you are a key in transferring positive values & including those who come after you #setthetone.” @kyriemelnyck
  • “Just that of course, be positive. In your actions & words. They are contagious, and move mountains.” @patriciachang87

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: What are great resources for learning more about creating/changing company culture?

From Matt:

From the community:

Books

Blogs

Companies

See all the great answers to question 7 here!

Thank you so much to Matt for sharing his awesome insights and to everyone who participated in this awesome chat!

Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am PST, 12 pm EST, 5 pm GMT **OR** at 4 pm AEDT (Sydney time, UTC+11). Join our new Slack community with over 1,000 members to continue these awesome conversations all week long!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!

  • CMGRMelissa

    Thanks for hosting this, Buffer, and for your recap, Arielle! It was great hearing about everyone’s company culture experiences – learning from the good and the bad. Very interesting and relevant topic!

    • I’m so glad you could be part of the discussion, Melissa! Love hearing your insights each week 🙂

  • Thanks for such a detail guide. The points you discussed should be consider while changing culture of any organization.

    • Arielle Friedlander

      So happy to hear that you enjoyed the recap! There were so many awesome ideas shared during the discussion, and I hope people can put them in action at their own companies and organizations! 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing – I’m so glad culture is being discussed. It’s essential for any business!

    • Thanks for reading through this one, Mark! We feel the same 🙂 I feel like we also barely scratched the surface on discussing culture! Maybe we’ll have to have another #bufferchat to dig into it more soon 🙂