This is a guest post by Tania Doshko
You probably heard about company culture, organizational culture, workplace or corporate culture. It’s the same phenomenon going under different names. This notion has much to do with your business and its potential success.
Every company has a strategy, but where a strategy fails, a culture succeeds. When a company has a solid corporate culture, employees know how top management wants them to respond to situations, and employees believe that the expected response is the proper one. Employees know that they will be rewarded for demonstrating the company values.
Proper company culture ensures your company has this level of understanding between top management and employees. Indeed the process is a bit challenging and starts when you decide to set up a business. This article covers the basic concept of company culture and its proper functioning within a company.
What is Company Culture?
Simply put, it is what your company believes in practice. Therefore, it is often defined as a set of values, goals, attitudes, and practices that characterize the organization.
Furthermore, company culture is a set of intangible, unwritten rules that drive employee behaviour throughout their professional life. Thus, your culture is how your employees work. Besides, all these traits make a business’s personality.
Company culture influences all the company processes from top to bottom and considerably affects the company’s potential. As people tend to spend a more significant part of their lives at work, the workplace environment largely predetermines the quality of their work and professional life. If the employees work for a company with a strong company culture that aligns with their values and beliefs, they are more likely to work hard and remain with the company for a long time.
On the other hand, if employees get employed by companies sharing different values, the worst thing they can do is remain with the company and underperform. Furthermore, as company culture is difficult to define, many companies face difficulties maintaining consistency in their messages about the culture.
Elements of a Solid Company Culture
Undoubtedly each corporate culture is unique and encompasses many elements and factors. However, several elements are essential for every company’s culture despite company size or industry. To better understand the concept of corporate culture and be able to adjust it in correspondence to your business goals, it is essential to know its basic components and how they function in practice:
1. Vision and values
The backbone of any corporate culture is the vision of how all these things will work for the company’s benefit. Values, in turn, predetermine the required competencies and behaviours for employees to cope with the tasks and work for the overall business goals.
Together vision and values are the guidelines for employees and company leaders on behaving, interacting, and communicating in a workplace.
2. Practices and people
The people are your corporate culture carriers. In other words, your clients, prospects, and stakeholders will perceive your company culture via the people who represent it. Furthermore, the company values are of little importance if they are not enshrined in the practices. Thus, no company can build a coherent corporate culture if its values are not shared by the employees and are not turned into actions.
Every company has a unique history. The essence of the company culture is the ability to communicate that story to the customers and craft it into a company narrative. When the elements and pieces of the company history are shaped into some objects and preserved over time, they become integral parts of the company culture.
The environment where people work, interact with each other, and make critical decisions for the company’s benefit is a vital component of the company culture. Various geographical locations and workplace conditions bring some characteristic features to employees` communication and behaviour.
Why Does Company Culture Matter that much?
Company culture is more than just a set of values, missions, and corporate legends. It includes the elements that guide your company to success and motivate every person to do their best work.
Thus the importance of company culture goes far beyond your office, from recruitment to workplace performance and a healthy work environment. Here are a few stats that support this statement and provide reliable evidence:
- A 2019 Glassdoor survey proves that most employees regard culture as more important than cash to ensure job satisfaction.
- CultureIQ states that employees who work in a strong culture company feel like the atmosphere and overall mission are more precise.
- 66% of job seekers consider a company’s culture and values the most important factor when considering career opportunities.
- Companies with solid cultures boast 72% higher employee engagement rates than those with weak cultures.
A strong company culture works for the benefit of your business in many ways. These are just a few reasons proving its importance. However, they are good starting points to get you thinking about what your organization brings to the table.
Factors that Shape a Company Culture
Now that we know company culture is a way of life for the employees and company management, let’s take a closer look at the factors that affect corporate culture and learn how to recognize them.
● Recruitment and selection
Nothing is more important for the company’s well-being and the solidity of its culture than hiring the right employees. The future company’s success and development largely depend on whether the hired team members are motivated for continuous growth by their nature.
● Leadership principles
How the leadership team runs the company directly influences employees’ policies, procedures, and rules. The values and philosophy guide and trickle down to the employees to bring the desired effect.
● Business Nature
A company’s primary purpose, market, and critical business goals affect the employees’ behaviour considerably. If the company makes something meaningful via its products or services, it immediately reflects its culture and attitude to business dealings.
● Company values and policies
Employees are expected to develop values and qualities stipulated by the company policies. Thus, solid company culture should predetermine and outline the fundamental truths that serve as the foundation for beliefs and behaviours.
If you belong to some company and feel comfortable there, you share the company values and naturally follow the guidelines of the company management. While rules on safety and security are typically required, effective time management practices serve as a motivating element.
● Clients and external interactions
Who you work with is essential for a sound working environment and solid company culture. The influence of clients and external company partners on the company culture is often overlooked, while these people directly affect the company and employees’ well-being.
Qualities of a Great Organizational Culture
Successful cultures are those where employees have a clear sense of goals, an understanding of long-term and short-term goals, and the courage to speak up and share their ideas with others. Every company’s culture is different, and it is vital to preserve its uniqueness. However, some qualities shared by many corporate cultures help easily recognize a good one. Here are some of these qualities:
- Good communication
- Psychological safety
- Learning and growth opportunities
Besides, fast and efficient delivery of services or goods is another necessary evidence of the company’s success. Business performance is similar to the work of a well-oiled mechanism. To ensure all the processes function well and the employees do not get stressed out, efficient time management should be harmoniously incorporated into the company culture.
The overall business success largely depends on the efficiency of every employee within the company. If you want to grow your business performance exponentially, you need your employees to develop a natural sense of time and effort value.
Tips for Establishing a good Company Culture
Believe it or not, companies that find themselves at the top of Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work provide not only high-quality products or services but foster a company culture that inspires innovation, dedication, and enthusiasm among their employees.
Furthermore, a Glassdoor study found that 56% of workers ranked a strong workplace culture as more important than salary. Thus, working on solid company culture is no longer a trend but a must for those aiming for success. Here are a people of simple tips on where to start building one for your business.
1. Define your values
People like to believe they are a part of something meaningful. Thus, a crucial role of solid company culture is to provide the employees with a strong feeling of affiliation to a common purpose.
In other words, your employees need to feel good about what they do. Therefore, defining and articulating your company’s core values is extremely important. Your value statement should represent your vision for what you believe your company should portray.
2. Focus on employee wellness
Creating a great company culture with unhappy and unhealthy employees will be impossible. For everything to work out as you intend, your team members should be physically, mentally, and emotionally at their best.
For this purpose:
- Encourage employees to use all of their allotted vacation days fully.
- Offer access to mental health care.
- Support an open-door policy with supervisors and managers.
- Schedule breaks during the workday.
According to Drtracygapin.com, companies with highly successful health and productivity initiatives generate 11% more revenue per employee, 1.8 fewer days absent per employee per year, and 28% higher shareholder returns.
3. Hire the right people
The people you hire have a direct impact on your business success. Furthermore, these people must fit the existing company culture and help make it even more solid. Therefore, make sure you hire not solemnly based on need but a culture fit as well.
Make sure your hiring process compliment and supports your company culture:
- candidates share your core values
- The interview process discloses the candidate’s personality
- Attitude comes before skills and experience.
A diverse workforce from different age groups and backgrounds means each person brings their point of view to the table. This means more creative and effective decisions are made.
4. Build workplace relationships
Fostering a positive and solid company culture also means building healthy workplace relationships. If your employees’ interaction is limited and there is no effective communication within the team, culture growth is impossible.
Companies with effective programs for communication and support are 3.5 times more likely to beat out their rivals, while well-informed employees outperformed their peers by 77%. Therefore, one of your key goals is to create numerous opportunities for healthy social interaction as part of your culture building.
5. Listen more
The most simple and, at the time, the most efficient way to build a good company culture is to be a good listener. Thus, according to CultureIQ, 86% of employees felt senior management listened to them in a healthy cultural environment, in contrast to 70% without a great culture.
Ask for feedback, whether it’s about the company’s values, business decisions, or a coffee brand for your office. Making sure your employees’ voices are heard is a top priority in a race for solid company culture.
Undoubtedly there is no set blueprint for a successful company and a high-performing company culture, as each business is unique. However, having several above features associated with your corporate culture means you are moving in the right direction.
The company culture is the only truly unique identifier of a company. Like a fingerprint, a solid organizational culture can differentiate a business from its competitors in the mind of its stakeholders. It’s the DNA that preserves the experience and knowledge through the years and is a natural guide for the future activities of your company. The best people always want to work for the best companies. A solid culture that goes far beyond the company office is the only true feature of a promising company.
About the author: Tania Doshko is a motivated and avid content creator who believes in the power of quality writing for business success. She finds her inspiration in careful observations and amazement with the fastly developing world.