Defining Corporate Culture & It’s Importance
When it comes to “corporate culture” – the definition in itself can be a bit difficult to pin down. It tends to be a bit vague, and while there is no agreed upon definition, it can be generally described as the set of values, beliefs, and norms that guide an organization. It’s the feel of the office, how employees interact and treat customers, and the values that guide day-to-day decision making. Developing a positive corporate culture not only attracts and retains the best talent, but fosters creativity and productivity, and sets the tone for how customers perceive the business.
Understanding and defining corporate culture can be critical to a company’s success, influencing everything from employee morale and productivity to how customers perceive the organization. A strong corporate culture can help an organization attract and retain top talent, while a negative or toxic culture can lead to high turnover rates, as well as contribute to a poor reputation with future candidates.
Steps in Creating a Positive Culture
While the implementation process can, at times, feel as intimidating as defining one’s culture, there are a few main guidelines that, if followed, will guide one in the right direction. The four we’ve seen most consistently contribute to developing a positive corporate culture are listed below:
Hiring the Right People
Hiring the right people sounds obvious, but the true issue tends to lie in communicating what you’re looking for. Be sure to clearly convey your company’s values and expectations during the interview process, this way both you and the candidate have the opportunity to ensure the role is a good fit for their natural dispositions. The last thing you would want is to find this out down the line, once the hiring process has been finalized, and onboarding time and money has already been spent.
Consistently Promoting Company Values
As a leader of any sort, whether you’re a floor manager or the product manager, consistently promoting a company’s values is essential. It not only portrays a “lead by example” style of guidance, but shows a company’s team first hand that these values are not simply aspirations. Rather, they’re moral codes that each team member, at every level, is expected to uphold each and every day. If company values get swept under the rug as the ranks increase, it sends a signal back down the chain that they’re loosely held – thus, promoting a loose sense of compliance.
Creating a Positive Work Environment
Encouraging a positive work environment is a critical ingredient in keeping your employees happy, productive and efficient. However, instilling it isn’t as simple as throwing a few motivational quotes out in the morning and dishing out hollow comments. Cultivating a positive work environment needs to come from a deeper level – dependent on not only celebrating the good, but seeking out and remedying the bad. The old saying “it takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch” is exceedingly true, especially when it comes to a company’s team. This being said, it’s the leader’s role to seek out any “bad apples” and sort out any dilemmas before they catch traction.
Encouraging Positivity and Open Communication
All of this being said, it’s impossible to get every bit of the culture perfect. Your team is full of diverse members, each with their own wants, need and expectations. For this reason, it’s crucial to encourage an open line of communication. An unhappy employee is a natural part of the work environment, and happens time to time in even the most well-run companies. What can truly rot a company from the inside out, though, is an unhappy employee that doesn’t feel as though he or she can voice their opinion or influence change in any way. Managers should not only encourage, but actively seek feedback and suggestions from their team, communicating that their feedback is valued.
Maintaining a Positive Work Environment
While all the above bullets may make sense, they also come with a hint of “easier said than done”. While setting rules in place may be fairly simple, maintaining them day in and day out is an entirely separate challenge. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the most effective ways we’ve seen managers and other leaders within a company effectively promote their corporation’s values on a day-to-day basis.
- Encouraging employees to share their ideas on projects, office rules, etc.: This not only allows for a more democratic workplace, but also shows employees that their voices are valued by the company. Additionally, by encouraging employees to share their ideas, companies can learn about areas that need improvement and make changes accordingly
- Addressing problems and negative behavior before it takes root: As stated earlier, “one bad apple can ruin the bunch”. It’s best to have measures in place for employees to openly discuss problems and negative behavior, rather than have them resort to gossip and bottled annoyances. Managers and leaders within the company should be actively keeping their eyes peeled for this, and proactively resolving it at first sight.
- Promoting transparency and two-way communication: A huge part of implementing these systems is how comfortable employees feel in communicating with their superiors. It’s one thing to have a system in place, it’s another to make that system feel welcoming. Managers and leaders alike should be actively asking and listening to employees, as well as maintaining a level of transparency themselves to lead by example.
The Benefits of a Positive Culture
The benefits of developing a positive corporate culture are endless, but here are a few of the most immediately recognizable:
- Improved employee satisfaction and motivation: When company values respect their employees, they are more likely to feel satisfied and motivated, and thereby go above and beyond the call of duty. A satisfied and motivated employee doesn’t need to be pestered to complete their work – rather they naturally do it out of respect for their organization.
- Increased productivity: When employees feel like they are part of a positive, supportive work environment, they are more likely to be consistently productive. They tend to be more loyal to the company and less likely to leave for another job, thus allowing teams to focus on their end-goals rather than recruitment. This can save the company time and money in the long run.
- Better recruitment: Word travels fast. Candidates talk, and begin to clamor about which companies are attracting top talent with their killer culture and benefits. Improving your culture not just improves your company from the inside-out, but creates a positive feedback loop of bringing in the right talent, to ensure continuous improvements.
- Improved Retention: Retention is essentially the flip-side of the same coin, but having a corporate culture in place that makes employees feel valued and motivated gives them reasons to stay for reasons far beyond salary. Reasons that will help them produce quality work, and keep them doing so for years and years to come.
Investing in Company Culture is Worth Your Effort
Developing a positive corporate culture does not happen by accident. It takes effort and planning to develop a culture that is positive and supportive. As outlined by the steps and benefits above, though – it’s worth it’s weight in gold. A company is only as good as it’s employees, and if it wants to attract and maintain top talent, it must cultivate an environment as such. Employees are the heartbeat of a company, and corporate culture is what keeps them content and motivated day in and day out. As a whole, especially with the Great Resignation looming around the corner, it tends to be a non-negotiable to bring in top-tier talent.