Company culture: what it is and why you should care about it
It’s the sort of buzzword that crops up on a regular basis – and in many different guises, too, But, whether you know it as corporate, organisational, or company culture, one thing’s for sure: you will absolutely have come across the concept of “workplace culture” at some point in your career.
We know that a so-called good company culture has been shown time and time again to be the key to revenue success. But what is it, really? How can we go about building a great company culture of our own? And why should we take the time and effort to do so?
Here’s everything you need to know, then, about company culture.
What is company culture?
Well, according to Achievers, the term “workplace culture” can be defined as “the collection of values, expectations, and practices that guide and inform the actions of all team members”.
“Think of it as the collection of traits that make your company what it is,” they add, noting that a good workplace culture is “created through consistent and authentic behaviours, not press releases or policy documents”.
What factors contribute to company culture?
There are a number of different factors that contribute to company culture.
company vision and mission
systems and rituals
Why is company culture so important?
When you reduce it down to the simplest terms, it becomes clear that company culture is very much a… well, a sort of metaphorical handbook for your employees. As Frances Frei and Anne Morriss, Co-authors of ‘Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business’, put it: “Culture guides discretionary behaviour and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off.”
They continue: “Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is our guide.”
“Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is of course most of the time.”
Throw in the fact that a strong company culture helps to attract and retain the very best employees, and you’re onto a surefire winner.
How does a strong company culture impact employee retention?
Glassdoor’s 2022 Mission & Culture survey, as published by Business News Daily, polled more than 5,000 workers from the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany to measure the importance of a shared mission and company culture in today’s workplace.
Explaining the results, Christian Sutherland-Wong – aka Glassdoor’s president and COO – said: “Having a compelling mission, culture and values are critical for attracting and retaining top talent in a competitive job market – it is what differentiates each and every employer.”
“Across the countries we surveyed, it’s clear that job seekers are seeking more meaningful workplace experiences.”
According to the survey, some 73% of respondents from all four countries said they “would not apply to a company unless its values align with my own personal values.” A further 89% of those polled told researchers that it was important for employers to “have a clear mission and purpose.” A whopping 56% added that they found a good workplace culture to be “more important than salary” when it came to job satisfaction. And, as if that weren’t persuasive enough for you, let’s not forget that 64% of all those polled said they were more inclined to stick around because of their company’s mission.
Essentially, then, a strong workplace culture is hugely important when it comes to attracting and recruiting the very best talent – not to mention winning the enduring loyalty of these employees.
How can I create a strong company culture?
One of the easiest ways to create a strong company culture is to hire great managers – the kind of people that inspire their employees to be their very best. And make sure to give these hard-working managers the tools and resources they need – not just to get the job done, but to also enable better collaboration and teamwork across the board.
On that note, setting clear goals and targets is a great way to boost company culture; that way, everyone knows what is expected of them – and they can cheer on their colleagues when it’s their turn, too,
Some other easy ways to create a strong company culture are as follows:
Ask for and collect feedback – and be sure to listen to every employee’s concerns, too
Dish out fair (and regular) pay rises
Offer flexible working patterns
Be available and empathetic
Provide appropriate opportunities and career advancements
Check-in with employees regularly
Offer the tools required for a collaborative work environment, and be sure to schedule in some fun team-building events
Create a culture of appreciation (aka an environment in which employees frequently provide recognition and thanks for the contributions of others)
Keep employees engaged by providing plenty of learning and development opportunities
When hiring, ask questions to ensure a good cultural fit
Ensure that your company lives and breathes its values by weaving them into HR policies, benefits programs and even volunteering opportunities
Above all else, you should ensure that you are exemplifying your company’s values at all times – because the best way to lead is by example!