So, you’ve read our whole culture series. You’ve taken notes. You’ve determined your company values. You’ve led from the top. You’ve inducted new hires into the culture. You’ve let culture grow naturally. So, you’re done, right?

the original starbucks store

I hate to break it to you. I know I promised you all this would build a strong culture. But the truth is that the work of building and maintaining culture is never done.

Many a great culture has fallen. Starbucks (originally known for high-quality coffee, now reviled for terrible coffee.) Rome. Even Zappos’s legendary culture may fall someday.

So, one last to-do list for you:

Check in with staff on the state of the culture.

Once a year, or however often feels comfortable, let staff anonymously comment on how well they think you’re following company values. Find areas where you’re not and figure out ways to address them.

Iterate your values.

As more people join and your mission shifts, you may want to clarify your values (we did this last year), combine similar values, or even add new values. A recent Ask Your Target Market survey run by UserCentered said that 61% of employees don’t think they can change company culture.

Make it clear to them that they can. You might even consider redesigning your values page or posters to emphasize the fact that changes have been made.

Nurture great culture, and remind people about it.

Find examples of people doing a great job following your values and share them with the staff. Encourage employees to take other employees aside if they’re not following values, like BoomTown does. Call out a value when you see it being broken (I’ve posted our don’t be a dick poster into our team chat several times in the last few months.)

None of the things I’ve written about in this series are a guarantee of good culture. Nothing is…cultures rise and fall through complex, multifaceted means. But if you follow the tips we’ve laid out you’re well on your way to building something that’s more powerful than simply a paycheck. Something that can create amazing products, loyal customers, and even – in some cases – something like a family.

Good luck!

Photo courtesy of Postdlf.

Alien party photo courtesy of JD Hancock.