What It Is Company Culture and why does it matter?
The term company culture or corporate culture is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “the beliefs and ideas that a company has and the way in which they affect how it does business and how its employees behave".
In very simple terms “it’s the way things are done around here” which includes both the written and unwritten rules that determine how employees interact with each other and your customers, the decisions they make and the way it feels to work in that business.
Whether we acknowledge it or not every business has its own culture. For many businesses, this culture is created by accident and develops without any or much attention. However, the most successful businesses will have a plan in place to create and cultivate their culture, a culture that is aligned to their strategy and goals and one that every employee understands, relates to and lives and breathes.
You can see, hear and even feel a culture by noticing things like the time people turn up in the morning and when leave at the end of the day, the type of clothes they wear to work, the benefits offered, the activities they do as a group both inside and outside or work and how they talk to each other and your customers.
Company culture contributes hugely to the way your employees feel about your business and how happy they are. A business with a great company culture typically has highly motived, satisfied and engaged employees who want to stay and progress within the business. They will typically be more productive as when you provide a work environment that your people enjoy spending time in, it can help to improve their performance every day.
And happy motivated employees in turn impacts directly on the success of your business. It’s often one of the reasons your customers will keep coming back too.
So how do you build a culture for success?
1. Define your company culture and values
Write down and plan out exactly what you want your company culture to look like, sound like and feel like and identify the values and behaviours you want the business to hold. Define your company mission, vision and values. A company that projects a strong and clear vision, and gives employees a sense of purpose in their work will be highly motivating to work for
2. Ensure your recruitment processes enable you to bring in the right people
People often choose the companies they want to work for based on their culture. They may even turn down more lucrative offers for a chance to work someplace exciting or that better aligns to their own set of values
If your new hires align with your company culture and values, it's easier for everyone to be moving in the same direction from day 1.
Try prioritising attitude and values over skills and experience. It’s easy to hire someone who can do the job “right now” and need as little training as possible but they may not fit culturally with the business and may end up leaving. Picking someone who is a great fit culturally and is genuinely excited about the opportunity means they often stay longer and also have the ability to grow into different roles in the future.
3. Process and structures
Cultures that thrive also have the structures and processes in place to enable it to happen. For example, great leadership support, champions across the business, training programmes and skills support and people who believe in what is trying to be accomplished
4. Review and Measure
So how do you measure whether your culture is actually the one you want, one that people buy into and like being a part of?
Here are a few ways culture can be measured. For example, employee engagement surveys, exit interviews, employee referral rates, voluntary turnover rates, employee review sites and listening groups are all useful ways of capturing the views of your employees.
Observation is another. Take time to notice what is going on day to day and ask yourself.is what you see happening around you, is what you hear people saying to each other and to your customers in line with your vision, mission and values? And importantly does it feel like the culture you wanted to create? .
5. Role model and live your Culture
You have to role model the culture you want.
It's easy to say you want a great culture, it's another thing altogether to consciously build values, beliefs and behaviours around this vision and bring it to life in a way that everyone understands. You have to get people proud of and excited by the culture, to want to be part of it and to get them to live and breathe it. When people truly "own" it, the culture will thrive.
So how would you describe your company culture right now and is it supporting or hindering your business success?
If you would like to know more about how I can help you assess your current culture and create a roadmap to even more success, please contact me on 0203 3755 509 or 07828 496 388 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.