How important is it for an organization to develop its own ‘culture’? In fact, what is so important about having a strong company culture? Whether it was deliberately created or not, every organization ultimately creates a company culture for itself. It just so happens that the habit of fostering a strong company culture, from experience, goes a long way to direct that company towards success.
The BetterUp website defines company culture as “the shared values, attitudes, behaviors, and standards that make up a work environment”. In other words, it simply refers to standard practices adhered to in an organization. How things get done in that organization, in their own peculiar way.
Company culture encompasses all the established and shared behaviors and values, whether formal or informal, in a particular workplace. These shared values and behaviors are accepted as ‘the norm’ by internal employees, customers and other stakeholders that interact with that organization.
What Elements Make up a Company Culture?
The following factors contribute to building a company culture:
- The physical workplace: staff dress code, logos, lighting, interior (and exterior) decor, ambience, entry and exit behaviors, office rules.
- Expected (and cultivated) behaviors of the employees
- Leadership style(s)
- The mission/goals and values of that organization
- How daily operations are regularly run – the pattern of work
- How workers interact with one another (formally and informally)
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Why Develop a Strong Company Culture?
Beyond working for a good pay, a strong and positive company culture may very well earn the loyalty of an employee to that company. The Glassdoor’s Mission & Culture Survey of 2019 states that:
“over 77% of adults across four countries (the United States, UK, France, Germany) would consider a company’s culture before applying for a job there, and 79% would consider a company’s mission and purpose before applying. Furthermore, over half of the 5000 respondents said that company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction.
“ “Across the countries we surveyed, it’s clear that job seekers are seeking more meaningful workplace experiences,” said Christian Sutherland-Wong, Glassdoor President and COO. “Job seekers want to be paid fairly but they too want to work for a company whose values align with their own and whose mission they can fully get behind.” ”
From the foregoing, it is clear that:
- Good company culture eliminates the dreaded toxic environment. Workers do not risk suffering from strenuous work loads imposed on them, or bad treatment by their bosses, superiors or co-workers. This will inspire more confidence and loyalty on the part of the employees.
- Employees tend to do more satisfactory work in terms of quality and quantity of work, when a good company culture is in place. That is, there is higher productivity at work.
- A good company culture boosts the morale of the workers and keeps them going. Hence, it reduces job dissatisfaction.
- There is significant reduction in turnover (rate of engagement and resignation of employees) in companies with good company culture. Because employees tend to stay with that company for a longer time.
- There are better communication channels, mutual respect, less conflict, and more tolerance in a company with a good company culture.
- It is far easier to work in teams in any organization with a good company culture.
- Good company culture helps to attract and retain the best talents to that organization. More skilled people would be willing to work in that company.
- Good company culture contributes immensely to increasing the revenue (and reducing losses) of that company.
5 Steps for Building a Good and Strong Company Culture
The following tips are recommended to top management staff, supervisors and business owners to sustain a good and strong company culture. They include:
- Clearly define the mission, goals and values of your company. Whatever your company aims to achieve, it is important to clearly communicate it to your employees again and again. Similarly emphasize the core values you expect your workers to uphold, and dedication to their duties openly. Also clearly state the long-term and short-term goals of the company repeatedly whenever possible, and ensure your employees understand them. This will help them to stay focused and aligned to the goals of the organization.
- Be concerned about the well-being of your employees. Investing in the mental, emotional and physical well-being of your workers empowers them to perform better at work. This can be achieved through a number of initiatives.
A few suggestions include:
- Giving employees the opportunity to engage in professional training.
- Creating employee support groups.
- Providing mentorship programs.
- Offering flexible working hours.
- Giving enough paid time off.
- Organizing mental health sessions (e.g. meditation or counseling).
- – Training managers to have empathy.
- Encourage employees to build good workplace relationships. Staff members need to interact and know each other better. It will go a long way to reduce friction and foster healthy communication between employees. Actively encourage social interactions amongst staff members by initiating get-togethers, office parties, team-building games, outings, team meals, group photographs and more.
- Be keen on positivity. Recognize and honor, even reward the accomplishments of your employees. You can do that with small gifts, awards, circulated emails or any tangible ways of showing appreciation when employees go the extra mile for the sake of the company. Be optimistic and cheerful even in tense situations, and communicate it to your workers.
- Cultivate healthy communication across all levels. The use of modern communication and collaboration tools will allow workers to communicate openly and share ideas both within and outside the physical office at any time. Management staff need to prioritize treating everyone with respect and showing support for workers. Also, the managers need to be trained to handle conflicts and resolve issues with diplomacy and understanding.
Other important tips recommended to top management staff, supervisors and business owners to sustain a strong company culture include:
- Recognize that company culture exists. And consciously cultivate a healthy/good company culture.
- Learn to be good listeners. Seek for more feedback and suggestions from your employees whenever possible.
- Employ constructive criticism everywhere possible.
- Hire the right people – especially people who believe in your core values.
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