Most companies I know with great cultures are pretty modest about it. “Working here speaks for itself,” one CEO told me recently.
But does it? While it’s true that positive word of mouth does tend to spread, organizations that excel at culture usually don’t receive anywhere near the level of recognition they deserve.
When it comes to culture in the workplace, the only thing that seems to be on most people’s radar is Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For list. Now that the list is almost three decades old, other publications have joined the ranking bandwagon, including Working Mother and Crain’s. If you're looking for recognition and promotion of your company's culture, you can apply to one of these lists, but the process can be arduous and the ratio of those that apply and those that win is daunting.
Take company culture recognition into your own hands. Whether you have a public relations staff or it’s just you, publicity is essential to furthering your cultural mission, motivating staff internally and encouraging others to emulate you. It's not as hard as it sounds. Try these easy, inexpensive ways to promote your culture.
1. Reach Out To Local Media
I don’t recommend pitching national or high-profile media cold unless you're responding to a specific inquiry from a site like Help a Reporter Out. More often then not, your email is simply going to get lost in the shuffle. Local media, however, is a different story. Regional radio, TV stations and publications are always looking for angles relevant to their readers, so consider this: Does your culture help your business solve a pressing problem in your town? Rather than talking about yourself, talk about solutions. Make sure you're available to respond to reporters and producers promptly, and let them know about other topics for which you could serve as a source.
2. Start A Culture Social Media Group
When it comes to social media, it’s hard to get noticed through all the noise. You can certainly start a group on Facebook or LinkedIn that’s about your business specifically, and maybe you’ll get 100 customers to join. But a better idea is to start a group that focuses on great workplace cultures in general. There are very few groups like this, so you're likely to attract a wide audience. Keep the discussion to cultural issues rather than blatant promotion of your business, and designate someone on your staff to keep the momentum going.
3. Publish And Speak Prolifically
Communicating your ideas about culture in writing—via an internal or external blog or other publication in your field—is a great way to share your expertise with a variety of audiences. While it’s helpful to have your own website, take advantage of platform-enhancing communities like Squidoo, a site that allows you to create a topic-specific page. Also, actively participate in the industry conferences and association meetings happening in your field. Speaking at these events will expose groups of potential followers to your culture’s nuances. Shoot video of your sessions and host snippets on your website or social networks.
4. Create Your Own Culture List
A move that’s been gaining in popularity is compiling a list of top thinkers or contributors in a particular area (e.g., 10 Culture Experts to Follow On Twitter). Research the “names” in the workplace culture space and promote your list of 10 or 20 via social media. This is a smart way to get high-profile people in the space to notice you and your business—everyone loves a compliment and some promotion of their own.
5. Partner With A Culture Expert
Of course, it’s always best when an external person with credibility talks about how great your company is. For this reason, think about working with a workplace culture author, speaker or researcher to share trends and advice with the general public and media. The spokesperson can leverage your business as a best practice example.
Read more articles on company culture.
Photo: Getty Images