Why do companies place so much emphasis on building a culture within their organisations? Do employees really need to know the company’s mission? Does it make a difference to their daily working life?
The simple answer to this is a massive YES.
Without a positive corporate culture, many employees will struggle to find the real value in their work, leading to a variety of negative consequences for your bottom line.
A survey by Deloitte found that “94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.” while according to Forbes; “Companies with strong cultures saw a 4x increase in revenue growth.”
Those statistics can’t be ignored- Deloitte’s survey also found a strong correlation between employees who are happy and valued at work and those who say their company has a strong culture.
Here at MadeYou, we place huge emphasis on our own company culture as well as promoting the benefits of instilling a strong company culture to our clients.
What is Company Culture?
Your Company’s culture is an evolving set of beliefs, behaviors and attitudes that define your business. These values can make or break your company and have a huge impact on strategic direction and growth.
Recruitment, productivity, engagement, reputation and profitability are all heavily impacted by culture.
Core values are the definition of your company’s culture; a shorthand way of defining the behaviors that you see as important to your business.
Company culture affects how people ‘feel’ about the work they do. The ‘values’ they believe in, what the company plans are for the future and how they plan on getting there affect employees on a fundamental level. A positive culture can make staff feel valued and happy at work, which leads to loyalty and commitment.
Our favourite way to define the idea is ‘Culture is what people do when no one is watching’.
Top tip: Your core values only work if you can hire, promote and fire within them. If you can’t do this, chances are they’re not clear or strong enough and you need to revisit them.
How Can You Instill a Company Culture?
Unfortunately, you can’t just put your newly formed values on the wall and think you’ve changed the culture overnight. Read on to find out how you can go about promoting a new culture for your business or, better yet, building it into the very foundations from the start:
Having a Core Value Statement
When a company establishes it Core Value Statement, it sets out the foundation that the company’s culture is built on. It ensures that everyone is on the same footing, irrespective of the position in the company; applying to everyone from the CEO to the junior apprentice.
These values are there as a yard stick for the culture of the company so that, if someone isn’t following the statement, they can be held accountable. Having this statement builds confidence in staff that everyone is valued and treated equally.
Your statement should outline what the company’s aspirations are, what is valued and what is incredibly important. The power of these words can never be underestimated in helping motivate your employees and drive the business forward.
Having a clear, effective core value statement can turn a ‘doing OK’ year into ‘Wow, what a year that was’. It encourages staff to go the extra mile because they feel they are part of something much bigger.
This really is Company Culture 101 but, as we said above, writing your values on the wall won’t instill the culture you want all by itself…
If your culture is clear and apparent to outsiders, you’ll naturally attract the right kind of people to add to your team. A strong, positive company culture will give you a competitive edge when searching for new hires who will no doubt be looking at past and present employee reviews which will be very telling indeed.
You want to find the best talent from a pool of people that fit with the ethos of the company so that, once employed, they will feel at home, valued and more likely to treat their work as more than a stepping stone.
If you achieve this, you’ll see your attrition rates plummet and your culture grow stronger and stronger as more like-minded, talented people join your team and, most importantly, stay.
Making your culture obvious in your job adverts and online presence is vital to attracting the right people and enhancing your company culture with every hire. HR professionals rely on a strong culture for attracting the right candidates.
As we mentioned in our top tip above, if you can’t fire based on your company values then they’re not strong and clear enough.
Your culture should support excellence and, as difficult a decision as it may be, that involves letting go of poor performers or those who’s behaviour doesn’t match your company ethos.
It may be simply impossible to transform a beach donkey into a Grand National winner – even with all the training, development and motivation in the world.
Sometimes we have to accept that an employee doesn’t fit the bill, go through the necessary heartache and then commit to improving the hiring process to avoid the same mistake in the future.
Many employers assume that a fantastically modern, open plan, collaborative environment will promote a great culture on their behalf. Do not be fooled.
While a great environment can support a clearly upheld company culture, it can’t do the leg work for you. You can work from the best environment in the world and still have miserable staff and an unhealthy culture.
By all means, choose your working environment carefully so that it reflects your goals and values but, rest assured, even the most open-door (or no door) policy in the world won’t be utilised by your team if the culture isn’t truly engrained and encouraged by the whole staff.
Ensuring Job Satisfaction
There is nothing more rewarding for employees than to feel their efforts are being recognised- especially when they go above and beyond their title.
Appreciated employees become empowered to strive for excellence, knowing they are doing what’s ‘right’ for the company and not just for themselves. A positive work culture that puts an emphasis on credit where credit’s due encourages a sense of loyalty and willingness to go the extra mile.
In companies that create a culture of communication and openness, it’s so much easier for individuals, teams and departments to come together, come up with amazing ideas and achieve maximum results.
Mutual respect and a sense of caring for one another is paramount here- no one wants to put ideas forward if there’s a chance of being shot down or thought less of by their mangers and peers. All ideas should be given the time of day and all contributors should be treated equally.
This is a big one.
For a company to thrive, there has to be a culture of trust. Employees need to be assured of transparency and fairness based on mutual respect.
Enlist, Empower and Encourage
To create a genuine company culture that permeates all teams you must actively and mindfully shape people’s thoughts and beliefs around the vision you have.
Reading that back it may sound manipulative and a little creepy… it’s not, we promise!
What we mean is you have to make the effort to get people excited, proud and appreciative of the culture. Enlist them, empower them and encourage them. When they “own” it, the culture will thrive.
Our Final Words
The biggest mistake some employers make is to strive for all of the above without living the ideals of the culture themselves.
You have GOT to walk the walk, be the example and lead from the front.