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How to Bring Company Culture And Values to Life

A company that takes the time to define and shape culture and values is one that employees are proud to work in. Companies with strong culture can, in fact, reduce job turnover. Studies show that organizations with high company culture have just 13.9 percent turnover whereas others with low company cultures have 48.4 percent.

But what does it mean to have company culture? What are company values?

At Cision®, we’ve invested a lot of time and energy in defining who we are and what’s important to us. Here’s a slide that identifies our values:

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Our focus is on working together cohesively to soar above customer expectations. We thrive on diversity, welcoming people with different ideas and backgrounds, and understanding that they provide rich insight that helps us all. We strive for continual innovation in all we do, and we celebrate all wins, big and small.

Doesn’t that sound like a company you’d like to work for? That’s our aim: to show who we are as a team, to get past the facade of being a corporation and humanize what we do.

Real Life Examples of Living Our Company’s Values

Listing a bunch of ideals on a PowerPoint is one thing — actually embodying them is something completely different. But I’m proud to say that Cision’s staff (and there are more than 4,000 of us) works hard at living these values.

Following are a few examples:

In our UK office, we’ve created what we call a “Culture Cabinet.” A committee of “cultural champions” plans and holds one cultural event each quarter, as well as smaller events each month.

But these aren’t mere “let’s get drinks after work” events. They are open to all employees, and center around themes like health and well-being, recognition and communication. The volunteer committee takes its work seriously, dedicating several hours each week to these events.  The most recent example of a Culture Cabinet event was for Valentine’s Day.  It was titled “Share the Love” and employees were invited to share a memory, a thank you or a mention of a colleague they value. 

Having events accessible to all employees, as well as having volunteers work together, fosters that value of “we are one” and allows people to get to know one another outside of the confines of the office.

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In our Cleveland, Albuquerque, and New York City offices, Cision’s values and culture start at the top and move down. Regional managers are encouraged to integrate values with their teams to create cohesion across areas. Initiative owners are encouraged to plan events that reinforce company values, such as a global scavenger hunt that employees can work together to win.  

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Photo: Albuquerque office celebrating Halloween 

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Image: Harborside employees welcomed at the Manhattan office as the two locations merge.

Because it’s not often that employees work together if they’re focused on different regions or departments, we encourage office-wide communications to keep one another in the loop about how values are being imparted in each region. And regular culture ambassador calls ensure innovation in how teams align with Cision’s values and culture.

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Photo: Cleveland ambassadors brainstorm session

Another recent initiative at Cision is what we call The Cisionaries. Our global recognition awards program recognizes individuals and teams that embody our company values. We will announce three to four individuals and one team winner each quarter. Winners will receive Cisionary swag, a $100 gift card and a charitable donation of the winner’s choosing. Additionally, individual winners will be entered to win the Cisionary of the Year Award.

Our goal with this program is to make each and every employee aware of who’s exemplifying those values and empower them to nominate someone they feel is deserving.

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Developing Values for Your Company

Have you taken the time to create a list of values the way Cision has? If not, now’s an excellent time to start. Dedicate time (a day or two) for key employees at every level to come together to brainstorm on what the company stands for.

It’s important to bring together executives, mid-level managers, and entry-level staff, as well as those across departments because these values will be defined for the entire organization, and everyone should feel like they were represented even if they weren’t in the room. 

Address questions in these sessions such as: 

  • What values are most important to us as a team?  What does “good” look like?
  • What do we stand for?  How does that look in action?
  • How can we achieve these values in our daily work?
  • What activities would reinforce these values companywide?
  • What are the inhibitors and the expectations?  What do we need from each other?

Once this brainstorming team has established a list of values, decide how they will be introduced to the greater company. At Cision, our values are introduced by our executive team via video, which enables us to reach different departments, regions and offices easily.

Have a plan for how those values will be imparted and reinforced over time.

How to Ensure that Your Company Culture and Values Shine Through

How we do things at Cision is just one way to reinforce values. Every company has a different strategy for doing so, though some organizations struggle. They find that once they brainstorm and jot down those values and define that culture, they seem to vanish into thin air.

The key is to bake those values into activities and communications throughout the company. Managers should communicate the importance of the organization’s values to team members, and foster discussion on what each employee thinks of the values and what they mean to them.

Executives should lead by example, exemplifying those values so that others can be inspired to incorporate them in their daily work.

Whether togetherness is a company value or not, providing peer-to-peer recognition for staff who emulate the values, the way Cision does with The Cisionaries, can foster cohesion and productivity.

And don’t overlook how effective social and cultural events can be in cementing those values! What may seem like a midday respite from work to participate in a scavenger hunt might actually be a team-building exercise that fosters those values.

Culture and values are the soul of any organization. Your company is made up of dozens or even hundreds of individuals, and it’s your job to collectively ensure that there is a beating heart that humanizes the workplace. 

We’re always looking for highly-skilled people that believe in Cision’s culture and values. Check out our Cision Careers site often for great opportunities.

About Whitney Benner

Whitney Benner is the Chief HR Officer for Cision. In her role, Whitney is responsible for developing and executing human resources strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization, specifically in the areas of succession planning, talent management, change management, organizational and performance management, training and development, and compensation. Whitney was previously Senior Vice President of Human Resources for PR Newswire, where she set and implemented Human Resource strategy in support of the company’s overall business objectives. Before Whitney joined PR Newswire, she held human resources leadership roles at Medialink and MJI Broadcasting. Whitney holds a Bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College.

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