Why Should You Care About Your Company Culture?

 

“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”

Jack Welch, ex CEO, General Electric

 Culture And Why It’s On Everyone’s Lips

Corporate organizations worldwide regardless of size have equated success to those things that produce income such as flow charts, financial spreadsheets, and more. Yet, underneath their success lies their culture which is the heart and soul of any good company.

The business culture is that which addresses trust and fear head on. It understands that employees are the heart and soul of a company’s success. The challenge comes in understanding what business culture really is and how to maintain its effectiveness within the company. (Ryan, 2016)

The business world is rapidly moving away from focusing solely on business success and has become more focused on setting up a successful and highly innovative company culture. This culture includes the benefits that employees reap when working for said business, the enjoyment around the work that they do, the values and vision of the company, etc. The more defined business culture is within a company, the clearer it is to employees of what their role and purpose are within the company.

More and more employees are realizing that over 30% of their time is dedicated to working at a company. As a result, businesses are becoming more focused on creating a business culture that is fun and highly motivating in order to appeal to the elite employees in their industry.

Corporate Culture Defined

Corporate culture can be defined as the beliefs and behaviors that dictate how employees interact with their clients or customers and the outside world. Usually, business culture is implied rather than explicitly stated thus allowing it to form organically according to its staff. (Investopedia)

You can often identify a corporate culture by the office setup, employee dress code, business hours, employee benefits, client interaction and satisfaction, employee turnover, deciding factors in hiring new staff, etc. (Investopedia)

 

A Historical Overview

The 1960s saw the awareness of corporate culture in both business, organizations and universities. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that the term corporate culture began to be used with its usage increasing in popularity over years. By the 1990s the term corporate culture was widely used and known. 

During the 1990s, managers, sociologists, academics and others used the term corporate culture to identify the character of a business as per its management strategies, employee communication, and relation, value systems, work ethos, and work environment (to name a few). (Investopedia)

By the time we reached 2015, business culture was influenced by more than just managers, founders, and employees. National culture, economic trends, products, company size, and more began to contribute to the overall business culture of established business and up and coming new businesses.Thus business culture has become more complex than ever before yet its simplicity can be maintained when stated clearly and enforced regularly.

Why Should I Be Focused On It?

“93% of workers working in a toxic culture will leave for a 20% pay raise.” – State of Workplace Culture Report 2017

 

According to William Vanderbloomen’s article for Forbes titled The 4 Keys of Remarkable Company Culture, there are four main benefits or characteristics to a great business culture.

  1. Agility which is the ability to quickly find a need within the market for your particular industry. This agility is responsible for company success and productivity. Virgin Airlines in one of those success examples. Richard Branson was set to fly from Puerto Rico to the Virgin islands when his flight got canceled. Deciding that this was unacceptable, he chose to charter a private jet. From there, he sold the seats available on this jet for $39 and advertised the plan as Virgin Airlines. It wasn’t long before he had “sold out”. After this, Virgin Airlines was launched and has continued to be successful. (Vanderbloomen, 2016)
  2. Purpose. Employees need to know why they work for the company they do and what their company’s vision is for. This gives a purpose to their efforts and hard work. Instead of being part of a job, purpose allows employees to have a greater impact because of a vision that is bigger than them and is changing the world. This attracts many top-notch employees furthering the quality of the business. Hubspot is an example of this. (Vanderbloomen, 2016)
  3. Employee Empowerment is another fantastic benefit to a successful business culture. This comes in the form of employees being given authority and entrusted with a variety of responsibilities. Employees are able to grow in themselves, experience a place where they are valued for their skills and who they are as business people, etc. This, in turn, begins to filter into customer interactions bringing about customer satisfaction, employee loyalty, and a low turnover of employees which also improves customer loyalty. An example of a company that has benefited from this addition to their business culture is Nordstrom which is known for its excellent customer service thanks to its open door policy between employees and management. This open door policy permits employees to ask questions, seek guidance, and exercise their good judgment. (Vanderbloomen, 2016)
  4. Values are part of everyday life. Having a business culture that is not lived out will not generate success. Your corporate culture needs to be practiced every working day so as to be integrated fully into your business. An example of implementing a business culture in daily business is the Ritz-Carlton Property which encouraged employees to take turns at daily meetings to share how the company was or was not upholding its values. From these feedbacks, adjustments and recognition were made. (Vanderbloomen, 2016)

Other benefits include:

  • Lower employee turnover – Thanks to a great business culture your employees will want to stay thus increasing their loyalty to your company and reducing your employee turnover and finances spent on hiring, training, etc.
  • Less stress, more teamwork – By cultivating a business culture your staff is more likely to have a sense of belonging or family. As a result, they are quick to resolve any issues amongst themselves without requiring management input or intervention.
  • Trust towards management – Building a strong business culture allows you the opportunity to know what is happening amongst your staff and in your teams. This all thanks to trust. Your employees trust you to speak what’s on their minds without fearing a retaliation or disapproval.

What Do Employees Value In Company Culture

Most employees consider a good job to be a place where they can have fun and contribute meaning or value to the world around them. In an ideal world, their workplace would not be overly stressful either but a place that they want to wake up in the morning to go to.

Some of the other factors that employees value in company culture include:

  • Supportive management
  • Transparency
  • Higher purpose or focused on changing the world around them by doing greater good. Such a company is Discover
  • Easy communication between staff and management
  • Community among colleagues and management
  • Exemplary training that conveys the company’s value for employee growth. Protector & Gamble is one such company that provides fantastic training to its employees thus illustrating its desire to see employees better themselves and advance in their careers.
  • Great benefits
  • Foster creativity and innovation
  • Well-defined strategies
  • Room for promotions
  • Daily living of company values and culture which often brings fun with it. USAA is known for holding to its values and culture thus its employees enjoy the room for growth they experience as USAA.
  • Heritage and pride are synonymous with Disney. Disney is famous for its excellence, creative atmosphere, and supportive community. People who work for Disney enjoy the many opportunities for growth.
  • Common goals unite staff together adding to a sense of belonging, community, and purpose.
  • Teamwork and support.
  • Committed to diversity and transparency within the business. Intuit is one of the company’s that provides its employees with these factors. They also create an environment where employees are not overworked since their staff is not pressured to arrive at work before 9 am and leave after 5:30 pm.
  • Respect among colleagues and management. Each person is treated with respect and value for what they hold and bring to the company.

A successful business culture will go a long way in setting your company up for success while reducing unnecessary financial costs. Not only will you gain ground as a successful business but you will also reap the many benefits listed above. Create the company you dream of and leave an impact on the world around you by working on your business culture.

Resources

Ross, Marie Claire. 2015. 11 Insightful Leadership Quotes on Culture. Corporate Culture Creator. http://www.corporateculturecreator.com/2015/08/24/11-insightful-leadership-quotes-on-culture/

Investopedia. Corporate Culture. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/corporate-culture.asp

Vanderbloomen, William. 2016. The 4 Keys of Remarkable Company Culture. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/williamvanderbloemen/2016/04/10/the-4-keys-of-remarkable-company-culture/2/#1faaff2acad2

Wilson, Ella. 2016. 5 Benefits of a Good Company Culture. Get U Wired. https://www.getuwired.us/Small-Business-Web-Marketing/2016/03/5-benefits-of-a-good-company-culture/

Ryan, Liz. 2016. How Important Is Corporate Culture? It’s Everything. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/09/16/how-important-is-corporate-culture-its-everything/#2bed6a19414d

Bort, Julie. 2014. The 25 Most Enjoyable Companies to Work For. Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/25-best-corporate-cultures-2014-8/#-10-h-e-b-16

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