3 Ways To Create Contagious Staff Culture


The desire to fit in is an innate part of life. Few people like to be the odd man out, and everyone wants to find others like themself to live life with. I believe this runs over into our desire to both attend church and work at a place that “fits” who we are as people and as believers.

Likewise, for church leaders or business administrators, it's a goal to facilitate a staff culture that embodies our values and beliefs and to find people to join us in that endeavor. Creating and maintaining a contagious culture at your workplace, however, is much easier said than done.

Here are 3 helpful steps to keep in mind as you work toward creating a seamless staff culture at your church or ministry.

1. Hire well.

The first place you can go wrong in creating a contagious culture is to hire people that just don’t fit. The caveat here is that in order to hire people who fit your culture, you first have to know your culture. You will have to make tough decisions when hiring. Just because you have a great, highly qualified candidate does not mean they will fit within your church or staff culture. Likewise, sometimes the candidate who completely fits your culture has a less impressive resume, and that can still work out well. In the long run, the latter candidate will do more, go farther, and be infinitely more enjoyable to work with.

To hire for culture fit, it can be helpful to have one question that you ask every candidate, just as an apple-to-apple measurement. Here at Vanderbloemen Search Group, we very much operate under the mantra of, “Hire slowly and fire quickly.” While that may sound harsh to some, it only takes one person who is a poor cultural fit or that has a bad attitude to slowly tank your entire organization’s culture. Don’t be afraid to make those tough calls and strive to create the environment where you’ve always wanted to work.

2. Train well.

Picture this: After what feels like a lifetime of searching, you've finally found the candidate that you feel is qualified to do the job and a cultural fit with your team. You’ve achieved your goal, right?

Well, sort of.

Hiring the right people is a big part of the task at hand. But if your search for cultural bliss ends there, you will end up exactly where you started: working in an environment that no one truly enjoys. You have to fully incorporate new hires into your culture. I believe the best way to do this is to show them. I once heard a pastor say that our values aren’t what we say; they’re what people see when they walk through the front door. Whatever you value – show them. Take your new staff member to lunch on their first day. Organize a game night for your team so everyone can get acquainted. Whatever that looks like for you, don’t miss the opportunity early on to infuse your on-boarding experience with culture. Creating culture from the beginning will always be better than trying to teach it months or years down the road.

3. Live well.

Every week at our team meetings, we take a few moments to share how we’ve seen our core values displayed throughout the office that week. We all have a list of them at our desks. Even our quarterly goals have an element that relates back to our core values as an organization. We make a point to infuse our personal lives with the things that matter to us, and we should strive to do the same thing at work. It’s easy to become busy and let things slide or do only the bare minimum, but battles are won and lost little by little. So even if your schedule is crazy – take a half hour and grab lunch with your team. Stop by your assistant’s desk to express your appreciation. These little gestures mean just as much (and sometimes more) than any large, but likely unsustainable, gesture you could do.

These are just a few of many ways to create a contagious office culture. Every organization is different and requires some personalization to achieve this goal. What are things you do to create a contagious team culture? I would love to hear the ways you create your staff culture, little by little, and day by day.

If you liked this, then you'll also like 3 Deadly Symptoms Of A Sick Church Staff Culture.

Guide to creating and implementing your church staff's core values