Company culture seems to be one of those trendy hot topics that everyone is talking about at the moment. Yet despite people recognising its importance, most don’t know how to improve it or even define what it is within their own business. This leads to poor attempts at trying to create or change their companies culture which are often ill conceived and superficial.
It’s extremely helpful to agree on a common definition for culture before you start working on it. Forbes offer this: “company culture is patterns of accepted behaviour, and the beliefs and values that promote and reinforce them”. So it’s not necessarily about what your company does but how you and your people do it.
Hire the right people
Hire for passion and commitment first, experience second, and credentials third. Passion is arguably the most valuable commodity within an individual or a company and it shines through everything that you do. It inspires confidence and excitement both within your organisation but also from your customers and potential new customers. The right people will not only help you maintain the right culture, they will help to evolve it too.
Communication is key
Some of the most successful companies in the world have taken the time to develop a certain language. The consistent use of certain key words and phrases helps big businesses to create clarity of their brands messaging. It’s a way to get everyone in your team singing off the same hymn sheet whilst promoting your companies most important values. This in turn effects the way your company is perceived both internally and within the market place.
Today’s culture in the workplace is much different and more diverse than even just a decade ago. Diversity is more than just being willing to hire all types of employees. It is accepting, celebrating and valuing all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and age. There is also growing evidence that more diverse companies are more profitable. According to a research by US firm McKinsey, companies with more culturally and ethnically diverse executive teams were 33% more likely to see better-than-average profits.
Recognize your employees. This is by far one of the most effective ways to enhance your company culture. Provide them with a space in which they grow, evolve and get better. You should be celebrating the victories, no matter how big or small. Small perks that reward the right behaviour go a long way to help ensure the right culture takes shape within your business. By recognizing the efforts of what your employees put into their jobs in a public setting, you positively reinforce behaviours, causing these behaviours to become engrained in your corporate culture.
Take the long view
In a recent Time magazine article, the idea of growth as a purpose and end in itself is highlighted as something to be weary of as it can corrupt every area of the company — “determining the people who are promoted and, increasingly, the people who are hired. Left unchecked, it subsumesall other primary values—including empathy, collaboration, and professionalism”.
The obvious signs of negative workplace culture are high staff turnover, infighting, gossiping, and dissatisfied clients and/or investors. Pouring money into feel-good stuff like childcare and staff retreats when your company is hurting financially is counter-intuitive, but team building is necessary for growth and productivity. If your company culture needs fixing, the first step is to gather feedback from your team. Once everyone’s pain points have been acknowledged, it’s possible to start repairing past wrongs and get on the right track