Your company has a culture, whether you realize it or not. And if you aren't actively recognizing and shaping this culture, you could be missing out on a valuable opportunity to positively impact your team -- and the success of your company.

These six entrepreneurs describe their own company cultures in one word and offer advice on how you can emulate them within your organization. Remember: it's all about empowering your employees.

Open: Encourage sharing.

An open company culture means team members feel comfortable sharing with each other and asking for, as well as offering, support. Mark Krassner, founder and CEO of pregnancy meditation company Expectful, facilitates this supportive culture by having sharing sessions during team calls.

"My team members share the best part of their day, what they are working on and whether they need support from anyone on the team," says Krassner. "This strategy of encouraging openness means that colleagues feel more connected to others on the team and are therefore more willing to support one another."

High-performing: Create a sense of ownership.

David Ciccarelli, CEO of voice talent marketplace Voices.com, knows that a successful business is buoyed by a high-performing culture of committed team members. By showing each individual employee how they contribute to the big picture, the entire company will see a performance increase.

"Create a sense of ownership over each area of the business, right down to the specific metrics that an individual can own, and show how their contribution plays into the bigger picture," says Ciccarelli. "We make this visible with company-wide dashboards, team or department dashboards and personal performance dashboards. Everyone in our company knows exactly where they stand in real time."

Free: Empower employees to make their own decisions.

"At our company, we give everyone the power and tools to make decisions on their own (with the appropriate guidance)," says Diego Orjuela, CEO and founder of Cables & Sensors, a patient monitor accessories company. He finds that this freedom fosters respect and trust among team members.

"Giving your employees freedom and responsibility empowers them and, surprisingly, builds trust among peers. It is an unexpected outcome of freedom," he says. "They will respect each other and build strong bonds."

Transparent: Leverage tools to stay on the same page.

It can be difficult to create a cohesive culture that includes remote employees. That's where transparency comes in. John Hall, co-founder and CEO of content marketing agency Influence & Co., uses online tools to maintain transparency and keep even remote employees in sync.

"We have a lax remote work policy and our employees are encouraged to work where they'll be the most productive, even if it isn't in our offices. To create a cohesive culture, we encourage transparency and honesty with task load, work location and priorities," says Hall. "We use Slack to keep conversations going and hold meetings via Google Hangouts to get on the same page."

Genuine: Practice what you preach.

Shilpi Sharma, co-founder and CEO of marketing performance and attribution company Kvantum Inc., knows that being genuine starts with leadership. Exemplifying this trait yourself will cause it to permeate every company interaction, both internal and external.

"Whatever we do is genuine, whether it is providing feedback to our peers or leaders, sharing recommendations with our clients, or sharing information with our followers on social media," she says. "It is very important to instill your core values in your employees by reflecting those values in everything you do, day in and day out."

Lighthearted: Have fun with it.

"From company weekends to ridiculous contests, we make everyone forget their corporate personas and act like fools," says Jacob Tanur, founder and creative director of video production company Click Play Films. Not taking yourself -- or your culture -- too seriously can often lead to creative ideas and strengthened relationships.

"This is great for us as a creative company, as it inspires us to get out of the box (office) and get inspired," he says. "It also helps everyone get along better and feel bonded through these experiences. We bring this back to the office and feel like we are surrounded by friends."

Published on: Jun 12, 2017