When it comes to corporate culture, a lot has been said about what makes a company great. But how do you turn buzzwords like transparency, engagement, or openness into your dream culture? It can be as simple as looking around your office and asking some honest questions. To find out what your corporate culture can become, you need to evaluate where it is now. Here are five basic questions to ask yourself to get your mind going:

  • What is it like for people to work in your office?  Look around the physical workspace and think about how it impacts your employees. Are there cubicles and offices, or does everyone work in the open together? The traditional way of working with managers in corner offices is on the way out, replaced largely with open spaces for employees of all levels to mingle and collaborate. Is your workspace giving employees the tools they need to be productive? Some offices may thrive and necessitate with more walls, while other industries need openness. Many employees associate an open work environment with transparency and trust. The happy medium is often an open space with plenty of conference rooms for meetings or alone time.
  • What does the hiring process look like? Employees get their first taste of your organization from the hiring process, starting with the job posting. Older companies may still include a mandatory reading of the company's manual in the hiring process, while forward-thinking companies typically include a more personal touch. Does your hiring process allow potential employees to get a good feel of the company and see if it would be a good fit for them? Does your hiring process have a good track record of finding quality employees who contribute to the company? Look at the process from a potential employee's eyes and see if they get a good feel of the culture, the employees, and the work they will be doing.
  • What role does technology play in your office? Consider if your company is fully embracing technology to create a digital environment that matches your believed company culture. Do your employees have the technological tools they need to thrive? Companies with strong cultures tend to include technology into all aspects of their work life, from a cloud-based service to digital tracking and communication. Using new technology shows employees and customers that your company is working towards the future.
  • What fun perks do you have? We've all heard of the fun offices at companies like Google that offer great employee benefits and perks to increase morale and community. Not every company has to offer the same perks, but consider what would be the most worth to your employees. Perks can be as simple as a free ice cream sandwich once a week to fitness facilities or an extra vacation day. Get employees involved in what perks they want to see and what would make their work experience more pleasant and help them feel more valued at the organization.
  • What is the human interaction like? If you have an idea are you able to present or share it with someone at your organization? When you wake up in the morning do you get the pit in your stomach from fear or the butterflies in your stomach from excitement? Is the corporate structure very much top down or is a bit flatter in nature?

Corporate culture looks different in every setting, but it is important to be honest with yourself and see if what is being portrayed in your office setting actually matches the culture you believe you have. In a world where employees need to feel more valued and empowered, organizations with strong corporate cultures stand out from and pack and ultimately tend to have greater success. An honest appraisal of your current state may lead to great rewards in the future.

Published on: Jun 30, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.