When people think about company culture, they often think of open, collaborative floor plans, company-provided gym memberships and lunches, plus unlimited vacation time. Although these on-the-job perks can play into employee morale and retention, building a great company culture doesn’t involve an office redesign or an updated employee benefits sheet.

By making your company personal, finding a way to communicate your vision and putting your employees first, you can begin to build the foundation for what is a great company culture—one that makes your employees want to stay.

1. Make Your Company Personal

Having a clear, consistent and, most importantly, authentic brand voice across communications is one of the most important aspects of company culture. This voice should first come from the business owner or leadership team. Your company culture should be an extension of your own morals and beliefs, followed by a clear mission that doesn’t involve monetization.

In other words, how are you going to change the world and what are you doing to help others? There is nothing more personal than creating meaning in someone else’s life.

If you aren’t personally invested in your company, will anyone else be? You should lead by example and get your feet wet in all aspects of the company. This is how your authenticity can really begin to shine through.

A regroup is sometimes necessary in order to find your company’s roots again. When the company was created, what were your goals? What did you want to give back to the world? What do you envision for the future? Most importantly, build a company that you would want to be a part of if you were on the outside.

2. Find a Way to Communicate Your Vision

Now that your company’s personality is established, how are you going to communicate it? According to a study by SIS International Research, 70% of small to midsize businesses claim ineffective communication is their main obstacle.

If the company has a leadership team that isn’t blessed in the world of communication, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to communicate your company’s vision, even if it doesn’t come naturally at first.

  • Visually through the workspace environment.
  • Holding frequent brainstorming sessions.
  • Scheduling innovation retreats.
  • Hiring creativity.
  • Creating messaging around your voice.
  • Installing collaborative whiteboards.
  • Sending out company-wide emails.

3. Put Employees First

Employees are the backbone of any successful company. Oftentimes, we build our lives around our jobs which can cause stress and unhappiness, followed by unproductivity and a lack of motivation. To combat this, we must see employees as real people with lives outside of work.

It’s not always about money and benefits that inspire people to work hard. When employees feel cared about and valued as people, they do their best work and tend to stay with a company longer. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. Keep in mind, you can’t create a company without great people, and you can’t create a good company culture without recognizing the humanity in your employees.

This way of thinking also trickles down into customer service. When relating to others is engraved in a company’s culture, this shines through when speaking with customers.

All in all, you don’t need a huge budget or fancy perks in order to create a great company culture. If you sit down and think about a company that you yourself would enjoy working for as an employee, you already have a head start.