“How do you create a strong workplace culture?” is one of the questions I get asked every day. Another question I hear is about the apparent ‘weirdness’ of a strong culture.
It seems plenty of people think that exciting places to work are spontaneous, crazy joints where no one really knows what will happen next. That myth is just not true. Yes, working at a great place to work often feels exciting and spontaneous, but, despite the facade, it takes consistent effort and lots of discipline to keep the excitement flowing.
Strong workplace cultures start from a compelling vision and are nearly always reinforced by a simple foundation of inspiring core values. What’s not always so obvious is the behind-the-scenes discipline that keeps the culture firing. From Google to Zappos, RedBalloon and every other organisation with a strong culture, robust systems to keep the culture alive are one of their obsessions.
At The Physio Co, Australia’s 8th Best Place to Work, we have heaps of fun. Some of it is spontaneous, but most of it’s planned. It takes a huge amount of discipline to obsessively execute on the big and small programs that create a strong workplace culture. The Power of Birthday Cake post shared the rhythm of parties that we use to celebrate milestones and successes.
Another tradition we have at The Physio Co is our annual Culture Book. This little book – this year with the subtitle ’26 secrets from Australia’s 8th Best Place to Work’ – is an account of The Physio Co culture as described by our team members (TPCers).
It’s one of the most important and exciting things we create each year that helps strengthen our culture. It’s released at our birthday party and TPCers immediately grab a copy and flick to the page with their photo and responses. The anticipation and pride of seeing your own words in print is hard to describe!
Behind the scenes, the culture book takes discipline and a heap of work:
- In November I email every TPCer and ask for their thoughts on our culture.
- In December we collate the responses and outline the book.
- In January, it’s all about design. We create the layout and publish using Blurb.com.
- In February we promote and then release the Culture Book to our team at The Physio Co’s birthday party.
- In March we share the Culture Book with as many people as we can via our website, blogs and word of mouth.
- From April to October we ask every person who has read a copy to please share it with a friend. The book is made to be passed around.
The system behind creating and sharing the Culture Book is just one of the many ways The Physio Co team works continuously to build a strong culture and a great place to work.
Your systems don’t need to start out so complex, but they do need to be consistent. Years ago, I learnt that you can have a culture by design or a culture by default. Disciplined systems are the key to building a strong workplace culture.
Grab your copy of The Physio Co’s 2013 Culture Book: 26 Secrets from Australia’s 8th Best Place to Work right here (Please be patient, it takes a few seconds to load).
Please read and share it with at least one friend. Our little book is made to be passed around 🙂
Tristan White is a husband to Kimberley and a dad to little Alexandra. He’s a qualified physiotherapist, ironman triathlete, blogger and CEO of The Physio Co – Australia’s eighth Best Place to Work. His passion is to build a strong family and workplace culture and share what he learns with the world. Tristan’s Culture is Everything blog was ranked by SmartCompany as one of Australia’s 25 Best Business Blogs in 2011.