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Does Your Culture Accurately Represent Your Business?

Culture, Culture, Culture… you hear that word everywhere, but what is it really? Some people might define it as “the feeling you get when you walk in the door,” or “non-tangible environment and surroundings.” Merriam-Webster’s definition includes, “a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization.”

One commonly referenced example of a strong Company culture is Disney. With wholesome presentation and a pleasant backdrop, Disney has created a culture that is known as happy and inviting for both guests and employees (or as Disney calls them, “cast members”). Careful planning and extreme consistency has helped Disney promote a brand image that is unmatched. The smallest details, such as requiring females to have their nails no more than a quarter inch long or only allowing nude nail polish helps promote a culture both internally and externally.

At Disney, culture is conveyed through various policies and guidelines, many of which may seem unnecessarily specific, but all of which are designed to ensure the consistency of the culture. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Employee dress (always conservative, appropriately themed, and consistent among cast members)
  • Behaviors (pointing with two fingers instead of one when giving directions)
  • Grooming (only hair colors that compliment skin tone; if men’s sideburns are worn they are neatly trimmed, straight, of even width, and not extended below the earlobe).

While each of these things is minor on its own, together they help paint a picture and create an environment the business wants to promote.

Not all organizations are, or should be, as deliberate as Disney, preferring to let their culture “happen” more organically over time.  This may be acceptable, as long as it is a culture that the employer wants for its business. At the same time, a Company may be every bit as deliberate in its policies and guidelines, yet still have a culture that is not praiseworthy. Through poor hiring decisions and inconsistent management actions, a business might inadvertently adopt a culture of laziness, self-entitlement, or other undesirable adjectives. A business owner might be wise to ask, “What is my business known for and why?” If the answer does not match what the organization wants prospective employees and customers to think about, a culture fix may be in order!

To help assess your business culture, try one or more of the suggestions below:

  1. Throughout the course of a workweek, observe employees and how they talk about the business. As a general rule, what are some common themes?
  2. Specifically ask 3-4 employees at different levels of the organization how they view the culture and encourage them to be candid with their feedback.
  3. Conduct a formal employee opinion survey. This process should be confidential and could be administered via a web or paper survey. Results should be aggregated and shared with the team in addition to any plans for changes or improvements based on the survey feedback.

Whether intentional or not, every Company has a culture. It may be meticulously planned and orchestrated or more casual, and possibly even haphazard. More than likely, the culture is a reflection of many different levels of effort and is not on one end of the spectrum or another.  Regardless of what type of culture a business has and how it has historically been reinforced, it is always a worthy exercise to reflect on Company culture to make sure it represents the Company and its people appropriately.


If you have any questions or need help assessing or molding your company culture, please contact an EctoHR team member by calling 810.534.0170, or emailing



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