How do you pass on your company culture to new employees?

If you are like 99% of SMEs in Quebec, you perform better with a committed team that has your corporate culture tattooed on their hearts.

Here’s the good news: a powerful tool exists to make it happen! It’s essential to ensure a smooth welcome and integration of new employees.



That tool is the corporate culture guide, or the “culture book,” in the United States. It is a booklet or website that expresses the DNA of your organization.

The Company Culture Guide vs Employee Handbook

No, this is not a new name for the employee handbook.

It’s the complement. It’s the little brother. Less serious. Funkier. The kind of thing you want to show your friends: “Look, this is where I work! It’s cool, isn’t it?”

Less serious but ridiculously important. The good news is: that it’s (relatively) easy to develop.

The employee handbook tells you how many hours you have to work per week and defines the vacation allocation rules, internal regulations, etc. Let’s just say that it’s not the most inspiring way to welcome recruits. Even if the employee handbook is an essential element and a great communication tool, it too often has that beige side that puts you off.

(By the way, if you want to give colour to your employee handbook, let us know!)

The company culture guide’s mission is to convey your organization’s values to the newest additions to your team. Recruits are encouraged to ask questions or give their opinion, participate in foosball tournaments at lunchtime, and attend the hockey pool.

The culture guide conveys the soul of your company to new recruits.

Where does it come from?

From Zappos. You know, the online shoe company, which today sells all kinds of things? Zappos has consistently been recognized for its strong corporate culture, and many analysts attribute part of its stellar success to that culture. Their culture guide surely has something to do with it.

It started like scrapbooking: the employees put in a notebook everything that seemed representative of their daily life at Zappos with quotes, photos, ideas, success stories, anecdotes, etc.

Little by little, the project became a pillar of their culture before serving as a model in other companies.

To this day, their company culture guide is a vital tool in the onboarding box of many organizations.

How do you build a culture guide?

There are at least three ways to look at this tool.

Employees can do it.

That’s how Zappos was born: employees.

A team is then responsible for promoting creativity, coordinating work, structuring initiatives and providing the necessary equipment. The result? It’s the company seen by the team.

The benefit of this approach is that you get an uncensored sense of what your world is living, thinking, and feeling. It’s a great way to mobilize. People own it.

In other cases, the guide is produced by the management, most often in collaboration with an agency (because you have to add some pizzazz!).

It is then more directly an extension of the employee manual: everything you want to say to your troops so that they feel good, enjoy their work environment, and want to stay with you. The main advantage, of course, is that you control the message.

What to include in your guide?

Start by collecting all comments- yes, including negative comments. In 2020, it was necessary to welcome the not-so-good sides of the organization, making them opportunities for improvement.

There are all kinds of fun things in a culture guide:

  • The organization’s DNA
  • Its values, its mission, its vision
  • Management’s promise to the team
  • Quotes
  • Testimonials
  • Concrete examples of values in action
  • Drawings, videos, photos
  • The words we like to hear
  • A code of honour
  • Etc

Each guide is unique because each organization has its own personality.

But keep sight of the ultimate objective of the guide: to report on the culture of your organization, to make recruits want to participate, to retain the team in place, and to motivate the troops.

The corporate culture guide is like an outstretched hand. “Welcome to the team; come have fun with us!”

Read also: Employer Branding and HR Marketing 2023: THE ultimate guide.

Significant benefits

With a culture guide, you are a double winner.

Recruits will feel warmly welcomed, and you’ll shorten their acclimatization time. Translation? They’ll perform faster. 

You will then solidify your organization’s culture and strengthen the esprit de corps– invaluable assets for any company.

Whatever the outcome, the exercise is highly profitable.

If you’re saying to yourself: “Yeah, I want a culture guide for my business!” but you cannot see, for the life of you, when you’ll be able to put some time into it? Call us.

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