Why Culture Counts

Hire and retain more employees by building a company they like working for

Your company’s culture is the DNA of your business. It affects everything from your values to your employees’ behavior on the job site. Instilling the right culture can help your business recruit and retain more employees and set your team up for long-term success. On the other hand, a poor culture could be the reason why you’re struggling to find good help or keep your best painters.

In the PRO+ Training Series webinar “Recruiting and Building Culture,” Torlando Hakes, CEO of Craftsman Painters, and Michal Cheney, owner of No Drip Painting in Columbus, Ohio, offer these best practices for building company culture.

Why Culture Matters

If you’re struggling to hire new employees, it’s possible your company’s culture—or lack thereof—may be turning potential painters away.

“I want to work for a company I’m proud of,” says Cheney. “A company that is going to attract the right people. Before I make a job posting, I have to ask, ‘Is someone going to want to work for us?’ It’s about building your team and your culture.”

Many factors can go into a good company culture, from shared goals to recognition of accomplishments to leadership style. But it’s important to intentionally craft a culture and keep investing in it. Studies have found that companies with good cultures attract more high-quality job applicants, experience less than half as much employee turnover, and improve team productivity in the field.

Culture can also become part of your word-of-mouth reputation. If your business is known to stand for certain values, that might make you a more attractive business partner to certain clients. In a competitive industry where reputation is everything, don’t miss out on a chance to stick out from the crowd.

Culture Starts With You

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the right company culture. If you’re the boss, then your culture should be authentic to who you are as a painter and as a person.

“Build your culture around yourself, your values, and what you care about,” Hakes says. “But you have to ask those questions: What do I care about? Why is painting important to me? Why do I like this?”

“List out the answers to those questions, and then narrow it down to the top three things that are really important to you. Start there. Those are your values. Then try to find people that can vibe with that. After all, your vibe attracts your tribe.”

In other words, Hakes says, “Who do you want to be around for eight hours a day, five days a week?” The answer will tell you a lot about the kind of culture you want to create.

Hire for Culture

When hiring, it may seem logical to simply hire the most experienced applicant. But make sure they’re a good fit for your organization.

Hakes says his worst mistakes came from rushing the hiring process. It usually happened when he was buried in work and needed to quickly expand his team. As a result, he hired guys who were a bad fit. In hindsight, he wishes he’d hired a less-experienced candidate who fit the company culture better. Doing so would have avoided many headaches.

Cheney also recommends including specific language within the job posting to indicate the type of candidate you’re looking for. Mention company values, training options, or even include photos that describe the ideal applicant.

“We have this phrase that we use on my team,” Cheney says. “We hire for culture and train for skill.”

You can post a job listing today on Sherwin-Williams’ Job Board, the industry’s first free, paint-focused job site. You can also check out the Paint Your Path program at AmericaNeedsPainters.com, which offers free resources to help you recruit, interview, and onboard new hires.


Cultivating a positive culture is an important part of building a successful business. It helps bring new employees in the door and boosts your existing employees’ morale and productivity. Investing in this intangible force will help yield tangible benefits for you and everyone else on your team.

For more tips, watch the full PRO+ Training Series webinar “Recruiting and Building Culture.”