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Bring Your Culture and Values to Life

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define your culture-and-values story.
  • Identify ways your company can bring its culture-and-values story to life.
  • Explain how leading by example reinforces company culture and values.

Define Your Culture-and-Values Story

The first step in bringing your own workplace culture to life is defining your culture-and-values story. Doing this allows everyone at your company to align on a common goal and identify actions that everyone should take to achieve it.

Develop the most compelling story of who you are as a company, what you value, and how you work together by first finding out how employees feel and are talking about the company. Get the ball rolling by following these steps:

1. Start a dialogue with well-respected high performers, and ask:  

  • What words describe us as a company?
  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • What would cause you to leave?
  • What do you think we value?
  • What characteristics do we look for in the people we hire?

2. Describe the company’s purpose and vision and identify the cultural characteristics and values that your company must demonstrate to fulfill that purpose and vision.  

3. Socialize your story with small groups to gather feedback, but remember that the goal isn’t to reach a consensus. 

4. Get approval from senior leaders before you communicate the final version of your culture-and-values story. 


As you’re developing your culture-and-values story, you also might consider key words or themes that consistently emerge in company reviews, employee engagement surveys, and focus groups.

Happy Salesforce employees

Here are a few more tips for making your culture-and-values story stick:

  • Ensure that your company’s story is concise and includes clearly defined values.
  • Enforce company values consistently, and be willing to hire based on them.
  • Uphold the company story in good times and in bad.

The most important step is next.

Bring Your Story to Life

Now that you’ve defined your company’s culture-and-values story, how can employees bring it to life in their day-to-day work? It’s as simple as implementing measurable programs and tools, along with communications, campaigns, and events. Here are some ways you can empower employees at every stage of their journey.

Attraction and Advocacy: Encourage employees to share and champion the company’s culture-and-values story.

  • Create a hashtag that employees can use when sharing culture-related content on social networks.
  • Encourage employees to share their experiences on employer-review sites such as Glassdoor.

Recruiting: Integrate culture and values into the hiring process.

  • Make sure hiring managers are trained on your culture-and-values story.
  • Develop interview questions that help hiring teams determine if candidates align on company values.

Onboarding: Immerse new hires in your company culture and values.

  • Include in the onboarding process an explanation of your company culture and values and provide specific examples of what they look like in day-to-day work.
  • Include orientation activities that let employees live your company values from the start.

Spreading the Word: Consistently tell stories about company values in action.

  • Share employee stories and tips on how to bring culture and values to life on a company blog, in customer executive fireside chats, and in town hall meetings.

Experiences: Build programs that reinforce your company values.

  • Create initiatives that help employees actively bring company values to life. For example, adopting inclusive hiring practices and employee resource groups increases equality. Providing volunteer time off encourages giving back. And offering wellness reimbursements and increased parental leave supports a healthy work-life balance.

Goal Setting: Include company values in individual goal-setting practices and measure progress.

  • Ask employees to include a culture-based or value-based goal and metric in their development plans.
  • Use performance evaluations and feedback, employee surveys, and other methods to measure and report on progress.

Performance Evaluations: Include company values in performance assessments and promotion criteria.

  • Don’t just look at results when you’re evaluating an employee’s performance or giving feedback. Also consider how they embody company values in their work and interactions with others.

Recognition: Integrate company values into recognition programs.

  • Publicly acknowledge individuals who live company values.
  • Integrate company values into your formal rewards programs.

Measure and Evolve: Regularly follow up to gauge how well your company is demonstrating its values. 

  • Regularly ask employees to weigh in (via employee surveys, for example) on how well the company is living its values, and act on feedback, adjusting your culture-and-values story accordingly.

Lead by Example

You’ve talked the talk about culture and values; now it’s time to walk the walk by personally living your culture-and-values story both inside and outside of your company. If you’re a people leader, it’s even more important that you lead by example. Your employees are watching your every move, so remember to ask yourself, “Does my behavior reflect our company values?”

It’s up to you—not HR, executives, or the marketing department—to bring company culture and values to life. Communications campaigns and formal programs all have a purpose, but the most powerful way to reinforce company culture and values is to model them yourself.

At Salesforce, we know what we stand for, and our customers, employees, partners, and communities do, too. You’ve seen how we’re intentional about our workplace culture and demonstrate our values in everything we do. Now it’s your turn to build and nurture a workplace culture that’s built on a solid foundation of core values! 


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