3 Ways to Communicate Company Culture with Employees
Internal Comms & Engagement Expert
4 Jun 2023
Here are three ways for internal communications teams to communicate company culture with employees, including practical tips and advice.
Company culture is what shapes an organization.
It’s built by shared values and priorities, but also by the office mascot, the weekly quiz, and the post-work karaoke.
More than ever, employees value company culture as much as – if not more than – the basic hygiene factors like salary, policies, and working hours. One study even showed that almost three in five people would decline a job offer if they didn’t feel completely on board with the company’s culture.
Research shows that companies with a positive culture of inclusivity and collaboration have up to 72% higher employee engagement than those without. And 74% of employees believe that company culture influences their performance and ability to do their best work.
“So what does that have to do with me? Company culture comes from the senior leadership team, not the internal communications department!”
We hear you, IC colleagues. But you actually have an incredibly important role to play in shaping and sharing your company’s culture. A strong culture and effective internal communications go hand in hand – you can’t have one without the other.
This blog explores three practical ways for internal communicators to share company culture with employees.
Let’s jump straight in!
1. Align content with culture
One of the golden rules of communicating company culture is to ensure you’re sharing consistent messaging that aligns with the shared values across all channels and platforms.
First and foremost, your organization’s shared values need to be brought to life and reflected across your internal comms. The simple and repetitive action of linking values to content shared on your intranet or employee app helps familiarize employees with them, and shows how they apply to various topics.
Workvivo’s employee communications app has a feature specifically for this, linking content to values to ensure they remain at the forefront of the organization’s activity. And if a piece of content does not clearly link back to one of your company values, pause and consider how important the message is.
Learn more about content filtering in our previous blog on how to avoid bombarding employees.
Share case studies and stories about employees who are living, breathing examples of the company culture. As an example, you might share a ‘Volunteering Spotlight of the Month’ along with a badge for each person featured, if one of the company values is to support the community. Or perhaps you might publish regular ‘Collaboration Stories’ that celebrate business wins made possible by excellent teamwork, if that’s one of your shared values.
The ultimate goal is to align content with culture in a way that shows employees practical examples of the organization’s values being brought to life.
2. Align communication approach with culture
We’re sorry, but we’re physically unable to stop banging on about the importance of alignment. And aligning your communication approach with your culture is equally as important as aligning your content.
Think about channels and tools, and consider how consistent they feel with the organization’s culture. For instance, a company that values collaboration would be likely to favor two-way communication platforms and community spaces that foster connectivity, even in remote environments.
Or a company that values innovation might have an ‘Ideas Hub’ linked to their intranet, or even an annual innovation event where teams brainstorm solutions to company challenges. And a forward-thinking company that develops punchy media content for its clients would be much more likely to use video shorts and podcasts to communicate with its employees, rather than a 2000-word monthly newsletter.
Put simply, you need to tailor your communication approach to suit your company culture.
Everything makes a lot more sense for employees when internal communications feel aligned with the culture.
3. Facilitate transparent communication between leaders and employees
Employees generally perceive leaders to be their key link to the organization, so it’s no surprise that they are the single biggest variable in engagement levels.
An effective internal communications strategy has the power to bridge the divide between employees and leaders.
Leaders have the largest and most direct effect on company culture, and transparent communication is necessary to build trust and engagement. Leaders must demonstrate the beliefs of the company and act in a way that reinforces its values, and internal communicators can support and facilitate this transparent communication in a number of ways:
- Supporting senior leaders to host frequent Q&A or ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions to encourage two-way communication by amplifying employees’ ideas or concerns, and sharing updates on the organization’s strategy
- Encouraging the CEO to publish a monthly blog or vlog that provides an update, highlights their connectedness to the values, and builds their reputation internally
- Providing the extended leadership team with training, tips, and advice about what they can do to bring the company values to life and build the desired culture across their teams, including clear guidance on the expected style and frequency of their team meetings
- Working closely with colleagues in the HR department to implement an effective internal comms plan around employee engagement surveys and other feedback mechanisms
Using an employee communication app like Workvivo helps give everyone in the company a voice by inspiring productive conversations and keeping teams updated and connected.
Go forth and communicate company culture
These tips and techniques will ensure you’re able to deploy your IC superpowers to amplify and communicate company culture right across the organization.
Remember that continually measuring the success of your internal communications is the key to building a comprehensive understanding of what works, and what doesn’t work. Take a few moments to read our four ways to continually measure your internal communications!
By Caitlin Kirwan
Caitlin Kirwan is a communication and engagement professional with over 10 years of experience leading internal communications. Since launching her career with BMW in 2012, she has managed national and global internal comms and engagement programs across multiple sectors for organizations including Deloitte, PayPal, and DAS.