The Coal Crew’s Tips For Cultivating an Authentic Company Culture

Cultivating an authentic company culture can benefit your business in many ways. Most notably, it can ensure that your top talent remains loyal and invested for the long haul. After all, 71% of employees say they would start looking for new job opportunities if their company’s culture deteriorated [1].

To provide insights into the topic, we interviewed two members of the Coal Crew, Holly (CEO) and Camaryn (Managing Director), on what authentic company culture means to them.


What Does “Authentic Company Culture” Mean to You?

The formal definition of authenticity is “being true to your own personality, values and spirit, regardless of the pressure to do otherwise [2].” 

Thus, the first step to becoming more authentic is clarifying your company values. At Coal Creative, our core values are laid out on our About Page: We’re authentic, human storytellers. 

We asked our wonderful CEO Holly to elaborate on what an authentic company culture means to her. She said, “Authentic company culture puts a focus on being open, honest and transparent every step of the way. I find it builds trust and assurance within the team. I will always do my best to share where we’re at, what’s happening behind the scenes and how that may affect everyone.”

Camaryn said that she thinks it “means taking care of your people because you first and foremost care about their well-being—not because it’s what you are ‘supposed to do.’ It means implementing things that your people actually care about and things that will positively impact them.” 

The right cultural initiatives can vary from one company to the next. If you want to inculcate more authenticity at your company, start by asking yourself what an authentic company culture means for you. How do you ideally run your daily operations? How does your team engage with one another? How do you serve your customers or clients? 

The values you extract from your answers will lay a worthwhile foundation.


Why Is It So Important To Have an Authentic Company Culture?

Now that you know what an authentic company culture entails, you may be wondering if it’s worth pursuing. Based on the research, we certainly think so. An authentic company culture can enhance your employee’s engagement, performance and job satisfaction [3]. 

According to Holly, authentic company culture matters because, “You have to take care of your people. It’s our people who make Coal Creative as a whole possible. We spend a good chunk of time with Coal Creative, and its collaborators, so why shouldn’t it be a place people actually want to show up to?”

She went on to discuss the way that an authentic company culture takes into account employees’ well-being: “I’ve always imagined a true work-life balance… Being an owner of the company has allowed me to help ensure that goal is met for the people who choose us. Life is constantly throwing us curve balls as individuals, and I want our team to know they’re supported both professionally and personally in those moments.”

Camaryn added that authenticity is increasingly valuable in the job market. “A lot of companies lack authenticity. They have policies in place because they are forced to, not because they actually care. People are seeing right through it. When you facilitate an authentically good company culture, people want to stick around. It is much harder to have the ‘Sunday Scaries’ when you have a good support system in place.” 

To put it plainly, people prefer workplaces where people are genuine, honest and sincere. By fostering that type of environment at your workplace, you’ll have an easier time keeping high-value employees on board. 


What Steps Have You Taken to Create an Authentic Culture at Coal Creative? 

While every organization is different, learning about Coal Creative’s cultural initiatives can help you generate ideas to try out at your own company. 

Holly explained that “We have consistently and intentionally created spaces and real-time opportunities to share insights and feedback. We want our team members to feel heard, seen, understood and ultimately comfortable enough to share their ideas and constructively criticize in the process.”

Another exciting shift we introduced at the start of the summer in 2022 is half-day Fridays. We now close at 2PM on Fridays, instead of 5PM. Initially, this schedule shift was only intended for the summer. It was so successful that we made it a permanent Coal Creative perk. 

Holly explained that this scheduling shift, “shows we truly want our team to enjoy their lives outside of work. We don’t want to buy into the grind culture. We don’t want to put unreasonable hour expectations on them. We want to encourage a work-life balance and this is just one example of how we support that intention.”

Camaryn also described how she has formalized our cultural upgrades in our company handbook, The Coal Code, to reflect the input of our team. “I am always looking for ways to improve the foundation that was built. I listen to the team and think of creative ways to implement the things they need.”

She went on to say, “Working on The Coal Code has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my job to date. When I came to Coal Creative, there were loose procedures in place, but nothing was written down or easily accessible for the team. Working on it has allowed me to see where the company was at, and add things that were missing.”


What Tips Can You Give to Those Who’d Like to Create An Authentic Company Culture? 

To finish off this discussion, we asked our Coal Crew duo for some actionable steps companies can take to set up an authentic company culture.

Camaryn’s biggest tip is to listen to your people. More often than not, their suggestions are doable. By implementing your employees’ feedback, you can ensure your cultural initiatives make a meaningful impact. You’ll be more likely to generate feedback from your team if you curate a welcoming environment where they feel safe to speak up and share their ideas. 

Additionally, Camaryn noted that “what works for one company might not work for you. When implementing a new policy, I recommend starting with a short trial period and reassessing to make sure it is creating the outcome that you intended.” 

We hope this discussion has inspired you to prioritize authenticity at your company. Until next time, stay Coal!

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