At Choose To Thinq, we have helped companies and leaders solve wicked problems like these - how do you build a culture of innovation.
A company culture is the sum total of behaviours that people exhibit unconsciously, over and over. Every place will have a culture of its own. Employees get a sense of this culture from what they see around them - actions of other people, what others are giving importance to, and what is frowned upon.
A lot has been written about culture and the other answers have also covered them. Organisations usually do a great job of putting up values that they want to stand by and these words generally appeal to everybody. One under-rated aspect of this is making people understand what exactly do the behaviours mean in day-to-day life. Culture drivers like customer centricity, respect, fairness, entrepreneurship, etc. are great. Almost no organization will say NO to have these as part of their culture. But only a handful will do the hard work of explaining to their employees what these words mean in their context. This is where stories can be of great help. Stories of employees showing the behaviours you want to encourage is a great way of explaining to them what a particular kind of culture translates to.
Employees won’t go looking for these stories on their own. So you need to figure out a way for these stories to surface from time to time, find the right contexts, and triggers to bring them up. The more the stories reflect the situations that employees encounter on a day-to-day basis, the easier it will be for employees to understand what the culture is. The channels for distributing these stories have to be designed quite deliberately. Eventually, the culture of the organization has to be all-permeating so that employees automatically know the expected behaviours. That’s when showing those behaviours becomes less effortful for people and becomes the default.
Is any of this easy? No. But remember, every company has 'a' culture. Whether it’s the one you want to have is a matter of choice and will require deliberate actions on your part to build it.