A culture committee is a group of diverse people from different parts of an organization who meet and interact regularly to help promote, address, and work on shaping the culture of a company. Importantly, this group is not responsible for culture or for “fixing” any issues—this should be addressed by leadership. Instead, the committee develops events that will enhance company culture, brings observations to the forefront, and acts to propel change. Members also regularly communicate with team members and leadership, acting as a direct link between employees and the executives at the company.
Culture committees meet regularly to discuss ideas that could serve company culture and to create initiatives or make decisions that could positively impact the business. The committee may differ depending on a company’s needs. At a new company, for example, the culture committee may be focused on creating company traditions. At a larger, established business, the culture committee may be primarily working on team building and ensuring culture stays consistent across multiple locations.
Should You Create a Culture Committee at Your Company?
A culture committee is a grassroots effort that allows people from all levels and areas of your organization to help shape your company culture instead of following a top-down approach developed by leadership. There are many reasons why this approach can be a positive step for your organization:
- Culture committees can help you get perspective on culture at your company: Committees can communicate with and survey team members, allowing them to get a sense of what employees think of the existing culture and where improvements could be made.
- They can encourage engagement: Since committees allow employees to drive culture at a company, employees may become more engaged with culture and the organization as a whole. With only 13% of workers globally feeling engaged at work and low-engagement companies seeing 33% lower operating income when compared with their more engaged workplace peers, finding new ways for employees to feel part of the workplace is important.
- They help you attract talent: Studies show that 88% of job seekers consider company culture to be a relatively important factor when deciding which companies to apply to, with 46% citing it as very important.
- Culture committees can foster new ideas: Without a committee, cultural efforts may be ad hoc. A successful committee can bring forward new and more effective ideas, such as special events your company can celebrate or recognition programs it might be useful to create.
- Culture committees can address the challenges of today’s workplace: While in-person businesses can develop culture over time through face-to-face interactions and events, it can be harder for deskless, remote, and hybrid workers to benefit from this. A reality of modern workplaces is that in-person contact can be increasingly limited, meaning that it can be harder for employee camaraderie and culture to develop naturally. A culture committee can address this and work to consciously create a sense of community by encouraging workers to stay in touch, championing asynchronous or remote events to help team members bond, and keeping culture at the forefront of a company’s priorities.
How Can You Create a Successful Culture Committee?
Culture committees need leadership support. While leadership and executives may not take part in culture committee meetings or projects, they should champion the culture committee and its work so that the ideas the committee develops become reality at the company. Obtaining an endorsement from leadership is the first step in creating a strong culture committee. After that, you may want to:
- Inform your team: Discuss what a culture committee is and why you are creating one, and help your team understand what they can approach committee members about. You can use Connecteam updates to quickly tell your whole organization about your plans.
- Seek diverse, cross-functional volunteers: Ask for team members who might be interested in taking part and narrow down volunteers to build a committee with a variety of backgrounds, ages, company roles, ethnicities, and genders. You should also look for a diversity of opinions and views. In addition to committee members who are enthusiastic about culture at your company, look for individuals with a more critical view to help bring new perspectives to meetings. You may need to approach some individuals directly rather than waiting for them to volunteer.
- Create clear, written expectations: Decide what role each member of the committee will take on and how often reports will be sent to leadership. Create a charter and a written set of goals to shape the committee’s work. At some companies, HR oversees this committee, but in other organizations, committee members may report directly to a CEO. Decide how this will work at your organization.
- Set a budget: Create a budget for events, special treats, and meetings. Even a modest budget can allow the committee to bring in coffee and dessert occasionally to boost morale.
- Set up meetings: Decide how often your culture committee needs to meet and schedule meetings in advance. You can use an app like Connecteam to set up group chats so that ideas can be discussed in between meetings, ensuring that initiatives move forward.
- Consider evolving your committee. Think about whether you want to rotate volunteers every year or two. This approach allows more team members to get directly involved in your company culture, and lends different voices to your committee.
What Initiatives Could Culture Committees Develop?
Once you have created a culture committee, your committee may brainstorm ways in which to further shape culture at your company. Here are some ideas you could initially develop:
- Surveys: Poll your entire organization to find out what is and isn’t working in your company culture. What behaviors or practices are they seeing that run counter to what they would like the culture to be? What culture initiatives would they like to see?
- Celebrations: Consider which holidays your company would like to celebrate and how. Think about how you could reward your employees and how often you might want to recognize them.
- Retreats and meetings: Get-togethers don’t have to cost much and can be held online to include everyone on your team. You can host weekly casual lunches, meditation meetings, and simple catch-up chats. You might also like to occasionally take your team to a hotel conference room, national park, or other venue for a self-care or personal development retreat.
- Culture training: Your culture committee can offer culture training to help all team members get familiar with the company’s values, mission, culture, and the best ways to embody these. Mentorships and onboarding culture training can also help everyone get familiar with how things are done at your organization.
- A culture book: Zappos publishes a culture book, filled with images of the year’s celebrations, holidays, and other culture initiatives. You could put together your own book, or even create an art installation or online website sharing your culture events. This might involve placing a large canvas or board in your workplace and asking team members to draw or write in memories and paste in photos of what they have enjoyed at work. Or, it may involve creating a website where your company can add in pictures of company events, such as parties and celebrations.
- Company perks and benefits: Do your perks and benefits fit with the culture you’re building? If, for example, your culture is built around giving back to the community, do you offer paid time off for volunteer work? If your culture is focused on developing a healthy community, do you have a wellness program?
- New tech: Consider an app that lets your employees talk to each other without sharing personal phone numbers. This can make it easier for workers to connect and communicate about work while getting to know each other, helping to build a stronger culture.
- Interest groups: Create chat groups that reflect the interests of your team members, whether they like cooking, hiking, knitting, or other hobbies. Being able to chat with co-workers about hobbies can create a closer team.
- Company goals, mission, and values: Reviewing your company’s values, mission, goals, and purpose can help you determine if these elements of your company are bringing you closer to the culture you wish to create. If not, you may wish to make changes to these parts of your business.
Committed to Culture
A culture committee helps you move from an ad hoc approach to a more sustained and focused development of your company culture. With a diverse team, your committee can help everyone at your company envisage and commit to a healthy and rewarding culture.
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