Culture Strategy Fundamentals

It’s too often the simple things that are overlooked in favour of the flashy, the new, the shiny, attention grabbing cure-alls. We respond to wants rather than needs, distracted from what really matters by superficial quick fixes.

Building, nurturing and sustaining great company culture is simple, but it’s not easy. You’ve gotta care, really care, and that requires a genuine commitment to practicing non-judgement, patience and trust. You’ll need self-awareness and empathy.

There are a few fundamental human needs that when addressed in the workplace, take care of what matters most. I consider these to be pillars of great culture; the foundation upon which all else is built. If your culture strategy meets these five needs, you’re doing it right.

Below is a call to business owners, company CEOs, people and culture leaders… anyone who’s responsible, or who’s up for the challenge of taking responsibility for the culture in which they and others work.

  1. Belonging. We crave belonging — to a group, to something we relate to, that we believe in, our tribe. Too often we feel alone and isolated in the world, please help us to connect with others and to why you do what you do.
  2. Significance. We need to know we matter, and that you care. Don’t just tell us, show us. Make it mean something. Know our language of appreciation and use it to validate not just the work we do, but us, as human beings. We freely offer loyalty and commitment in return.
  3. Contribution. We want to give. We’ve got plenty to offer beyond the work we do so if you can use the collective resources and goodwill of the tribe to contribute to something greater than the work we do, we’d be grateful. It’s the right thing to do, we want to do great work and we want to make a difference.
  4. Growth. We want to grow, to learn, to be challenged, we’re eager to evolve. Just be clear about expectations, where we are in relation to those expectations and how we’re going to work together to get there.
  5. Fun. We need an outlet, life and work is heavy sometimes. We need to shake it off, regain some perspective every now and then. We are so much more productive when in this state — having fun is not slacking off, it’s a smart way to stay engaged, creative and energised. And after all, it’s fun and that’s a good thing.