Culture. It’s a term we hear tossed around HR every day. But what does a strong company culture really look like? And what’s its true value? Glassdoor is known for its transparency, positivity, and disruption in the way employees communicate about their brand. But does the company practice what they preach?

Culture as a key to sustainable success

Research continues to prove that a positive work culture is connected to higher business performance. So investing in your company’s culture and workforce is also an investment in the success of your business.

So what can you do to build out a stronger culture within your organization?

Here are some tips we tried at Glassdoor.

1. Define values

The first ingredient to any successful culture is a unique set of organizational values. These are the qualities and concepts that make up your foundation—they let your company grow and give you something to strive towards.

Creating a definitive list of core values not only communicates to employees what matters most to your organization, but it also creates a framework of standards to hold both company decisions and employee actions accountable. Successfully implementing these key company values is crucial to creating a system that maintains these ideals through stages of growth and scaling.

Equally crucial is developing an interwoven feedback system that helps monitor company culture and intervene when disconcerting trends emerge.

In essence these words and phrases define your company. Glassdoor values are:

People Matter: value and respect each other

At the heart of Glassdoor is the emphasis that we’re a team. Our “people first” mentality is key to our continued organizational spirit and stability.

Integrity: always do the right thing

Trust is another key to success as we continue to grow. Trusting in our fellow coworkers, company mission, and business objectives is how we continue to overcome inevitable market setbacks.

Passion: be committed in heart and mind

A progressive brand needs a workforce that embeds determination and passion into everyday activities. Without passion for your product or your mission, you’ll never deliver on company objectives.

Ownership: treat the company as your own

Every employee is unique with their own set of goals. Giving employees ownership of their role empowers them to go above and beyond their basic responsibilities.

Accountability: stay true and walk the talk

At Glassdoor, employees enjoy a high level of personal autonomy. But with that comes the firm expectation that our people always meet their promise to deliverables, coworkers, and the brand.

Leadership: shape a better future

Leadership is embedded at every level of our organization. This creates a cohesive and unified vision for the future across the entire business—and ensures that we remain focused on a common set of goals.

How did we select these values?  Our leadership team researched and identified values that are universal to successful organizations. Then, we made sure to  select a unique set of values that would make Glassdoor’s work environment match our vision for the company.

2. Emphasize cultural fit and hire the right people

Maintaining a strong company culture centered on key values starts with hiring the right people. Potential hires should have both the technical skill set necessary to succeed in their position and the attitude that will make them a seamless fit within your organization.

Culture fit is essential to the long-term success of a person, as is their ability to perform their role successfully. Hiring teams understand that the more comfortable new hires feel in their new work environment, the more likely they stay satisfied in their role over the long run.

How do we achieve this?

Throughout the Glassdoor interview process, candidates must pass a character test to make sure they fit our unique culture. We need to know if the candidate values the principles that define our organization.

So we ask questions that probe the way candidates solve problems and collaborate with coworkers to determine if they can work independently or need constant supervision.

When the time comes to filter down our hiring pool and extend an offer, it’s character that helps us determine the ideal fit.

3. Promote transparency and invite feedback

Next up is self-evaluation.

Feedback is your most valuable tool here. Identify which areas need improvement and address these concerns head on.

Start by conducting internal surveys, develop a system of quarterly check-ins, or integrate Q&A sessions at company all-hands meetings or department huddles. Make sure you’re collecting appropriate feedback throughout the various stages of an employee’s lifecycle— from the hiring process, to their first 90 days, to their exit interviews.

At Glassdoor, each of these touch points give our organization a clearer picture of the current state of our culture. It’s also an opportunity to address any potential issues that could damage it.

You can also engage with your employees on Glassdoor by reading and responding to reviews posted about your company. Encourage your employees to share their experiences on Glassdoor to help make your company more transparent.

At Glassdoor, we practice what we preach. Leadership looks to address concerns and dissatisfaction voiced in recent company reviews in both departmental huddles and Q&A sessions with CEO Robert Hohman. By being proactive, leadership monitors and remains conscious of company morale.

To address morale, management collaborates with every department. This hands-on approach earns us greater employee trust and pays dividends when it comes recruiting.

4. Implement a feedback loop

Listening to your employees is only half the equation. After collecting useful feedback, you need to action this information to drive meaningful change and inform new programs. Whether you’re working to strengthen your new hire orientation process or support greater work-life balance, it’s critical to create feedback loops to improve organizational practices based on your employees’ insights.

Here at Glassdoor, we provide people with opportunities to voice their opinions through anonymous surveys and questions fielded by the CEO. Our HR department uses this  workforce-generated feedback to inform programs and strategies.

Giving feedback should be simple and easy for employees. Because you want their honest opinion, but you also want it to be as simple as possible. Creating a seamless feedback system that’s easy to use encourages employee participation and greater, more useful info for the organization. In turn, this creates a culture of transparency throughout the organization.

Look to continually gauge the success of these feedback channels. Set appropriate metrics ahead of time so that you can measure the level of employee engagement appropriately. We measure the engagement of our workforce through attendance numbers at company-wide huddles and anonymous survey responses, and compare participation against our expectations.

5. Celebrate wins and acknowledge milestones

Employees want to feel happy and valued at work, so finding ways to highlight both individual and team successes is an essential part of building a supportive culture. Encourage promotions, celebrate work anniversaries, and recognize personal and team achievements.

At Glassdoor, we celebrate traffic achievements, new product launches, and birthdays as a team. But we also look to bring specific attention to team members who’ve led successful initiatives. These small actions have a big impact on the mindset of employees.

Plus, the University of Warwick found that when employees are happy, they’re 12% more productive.

Parting words on positivity

A positive culture:

  • Sets you apart from your nearest competitors
  • Weeds out unqualified applicants or bad fits for your company
  • Contributes to employees productivity and morale

The first step to getting started? Invest in your culture—it’s the bond that endures the challenges of the marketplace by bringing your vision, your goals, and your people closer together.

For more information on creating a strong culture, check out Glassdoor’s new Company Culture Code Cookbook or Employee Engagement Toolkit.

Marcus Alfred is the Partnerships Outreach Manager at Glassdoor. He works with thousands of news outlets, blogs, and universities to provide content and tools to aid job seekers and improve their experience on Glassdoor.