The term “internal communications” when it comes to company email usually makes rainbow-colored vomit bubble up at the back of my throat. It’s one of those sterile jargon phrases put together by HR departments to suck the color out of life. The objective of jargon like this is to create a little distance between people and work, because when we’re at work, we’re not people: we’re “resources.” Resources do work, and when they talk to each other, it’s not conversation, it’s “internal communication.”
So I can understand why you might think using a word like “culture” in the context of corporate existence is Orwellian at best: clearly, “cultures” in corporations grow on unclean soap dishes in unisex bathrooms. But when it comes to startups, where the distance between work and people is not very far, culture is everything. When everyone in the company works on the same floor as you, and you know everybody by name (even the HR person, if you have one), you can’t afford to treat people like resources. Their sense of belonging is just as important to their long-term survival at the company as their physical and financial well-being.