At a fundamental level, company culture is when employees share the same set of values, principles, and purposes, and it represents the way an organization completes business-related activities. It’s how employees, potential new hires, customers, and society perceive a company.
A company with a strong organizational culture dictates if employees find their work meaningful, as their company culture is an expression of the work they perform and the values they adopt.
Company culture encompasses many elements, such as:
Why is company culture important?
To explain why workplace culture is important, we must pose the question of what kind of company one is looking for. Is it a diverse multinational one that values teamwork? One that gives corporate gifts for employees? A results-driven workplace?
Or is it a small business where employees share a similar bond to a family? Do you appreciate a more well-defined and formal workplace that values efficiency and structure?
Companies with a strong organizational culture can enjoy many benefits, some of them are:
When employees’ values and beliefs are aligned with those of the employer, workers are typically happier, more productive, and engaged. Also, by having a strong work culture, employers can attract new hires that share those values. Conversely, if the organizational culture is not compatible with certain employees, they are likely to find the work less pleasurable and it will not give them a sense of purpose.
Workplace culture is of great importance to employers too. When employees fit in with the culture, they are more committed to the organization, which improves employee retention rate and gives a greater sense of individual and collective identity.
What are some workplace cultures challenges?
Existing & stated culture
When it comes to organizational culture, the biggest obstacle is implementing and managing the company in accordance with its stated culture. Often, there is a misalignment of what the existing organizational culture is “on paper” and what the actual culture is. The culture of an organization is ever evolving and change is inevitable. Embracing changes while steering the company in the right direction is one way of preserving traditions and abiding by the desired values.
Driving force of company culture
On that account, we are met with the question of who is responsible for the company culture. Each employee is accountable in their own way, and everyone should strive to achieve, maintain, or grow the ideal company culture they desire. Though every employee plays a role in company culture, those in certain roles have a bigger impact than others.
The HR team is there to support the corporate culture by setting and enforcing company policies, planning employee perks, implementing employee rewards programs, gathering employee engagement, and giving feedback to superiors.
The CEO and the senior management team play an instrumental role in directing and reinforcing how an organization will operate and what its core values are.
It is crucial to have systems in place to measure the effectiveness of your current culture, and to assess if there are any symptoms of a dysfunctional culture taking place. Through identifying key aspects of culture, we can gauge how poor or well an organization is doing in following the metrics set in place. Culture can be evaluated through employee engagement surveys, pulse checks, and conducting exit interviews or surveys. Reviews from sites such as Glassdoor also fit into the culture-measurement puzzle. Data analysis can aid organizations and provide much-needed feedback.
How to create positive work culture?
Creating an environment where employees thrive and their needs are met can be challenging considering today’s workforce is multi-generational and multi-cultural. Some good advice that any company can follow to create an overall positive company culture is:
- Establish your core values and continuously lead your company in line with those beliefs
- Be inclusive and involve your team in the decision-making process by asking for their advice and input
- Show your commitment to employee wellbeing by actively encouraging participation in employee wellness programs
- Create a diverse and inclusive environment where people can feel welcome regardless of their race, ethnicity, or gender
- Foster social connections, encourage employees to collaborate and work in teams
- Give recognition to your workers by using employee rewards programs to acknowledge their performance
- Create transparency and open internal communication to promote trust among your employees
- Hire employees who support and believe in your core values
- Model the behavior you wish to see in your workers and set a good example
- Empower your employees by giving them the resources they need, freedom in their decision-making, and personal expression
- Invest in your employee’s continual learning and development
- Highlight the importance of respect, integrity, and work according to all ethical manners
In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, company culture is the common denominator of the success of many companies. Organizational culture has become a strategic point and it is not just a written statement of core values or a PR stunt. It is the collective ethos, the behaviors of everyone, and the shared responsibility of everyone.