Written by: Darya Jandossova Troncoso
Companies are built around their employees. They provide them with opportunities to develop professionally and personally. As such, they also shape the culture of the organization.
This is why it is essential to create a positive environment where everyone feels valued and respected.
This positive environment helps to create a unique culture that sets them apart from other companies. This culture is often reflected in the company’s mission statement, core values, and corporate identity.
What Is Company Culture?
Company culture is defined as the way an organization operates, the way its employees behave, and the values it believes in. It is the company’s ethos. It includes the policies, practices, and beliefs that guide how people behave within the company.
To be clear, company culture also is not the perks, incentives such as remuneration packages and so on that employees receive in their workplace.
The purpose of having a strong company culture is to ensure that the organization remains consistent over time.
But how does company culture work?
It works by influencing the decisions made by individuals within the organization. Employees make decisions based on what they perceive to be right or wrong.
If these perceptions are aligned with the company’s culture, then they feel comfortable making those decisions. But if they do not align, then they may feel uncomfortable making certain decisions.
To build a positive culture follow these steps:
- Think of your ideal company culture
- Try to work out your current company culture
- Ask your employees for feedback
- Be pro-work-life balance
- Communicate your values and expectations clearly
- Automate your processes to make life easier
- Acknowledge successes
- Lead from the top
Company culture is not static; rather, it changes based on the needs of the organization. For example, if an organization is growing rapidly, then the company culture will reflect this growth by being more open and flexible.
The Benefits Of Positive Company Culture
You can have a toxic company culture or you can have a positive company culture. Of course, positive company culture is what you should strive for because of all the many advantages it brings to your business.
Some of the benefits of having a positive company culture are as follows:
Higher Employee Engagement Rates
If you have a healthy company culture then you will see higher levels of employee engagement. TINYpulse defines Employee engagement as "The extent to which one is emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally invested in their work”. When there is good company culture, employees feel like they belong to something bigger than just themselves.
They feel motivated to contribute to the success of the company.
Reduced Employee Turnover
Often having positive company culture means that you have happier employees. When employees are happy at work, they perform better.
Happy employees also lead to lower employee turnover as the company is giving its employees everything they need. Employee turnover costs organizations money as they need to invest more resources in the hiring and training departments.
Better Public Perception
Your company culture often sets how other companies and the public view your brand. A great company culture shows that you care about your customers and employees.
Having a good public perception is important because it helps to build trust in your brand and increases the chances of someone becoming a customer.
Attract Better Quality Job Candidates
If your company has a better public perception then you will attract better quality job applicants. People want to work for companies that have a great reputation. They want to know that they will be treated well and that they will get paid fairly. So when people find that your company has a good reputation and company culture, they are more likely to apply for a position with you.
A Better Customer Experience
Happy employees lead to better customer service and increased customer satisfaction, therefore, improving the overall customer experience. This is important because if you have a bad customer experience, you may lose customers.
Happy customers become loyal customers meaning there is more chance of them buying from you again in the future - or influencing others to buy from you.
So, we have spoken a lot about the benefits of having a healthy and strong company culture, but what is so bad about having a toxic company culture? Can it really be that bad?
Having a toxic company culture can impact all aspects of your business negatively.
If your employees are unhappy at work, they are less productive. They are not going to give 100% of their energy into working on projects and tasks. They are going to be distracted by things such as gossiping, complaining, and being negative. As a result, they are going to make mistakes that could lead to losing clients and impact your bottom line and long-term success.
And finally, having a toxic company culture can damage your brand. Your brand is your identity. The way that you present yourself to the world. You should always be proud of who you are and what you stand for.
How Can You Maintain & Manage Your Company Culture?
When it comes to managing and maintaining your company culture, the first thing you need to do is identify where your company culture is currently at.
You need to understand whether your current company culture is positive or negative.
If it is negative then you need to take action to turn it around, but if it is positive then here are some tips for keeping it that way:
Make Your Values Clear To Everyone
The first step to maintaining your company culture is making sure that everybody knows what it is and also that they know the values surrounding it. Making your values clear means that everyone understands exactly what is expected of them.
If you don't make this clear, then you run the risk of creating an environment where nobody feels comfortable speaking up.
Hire The Right People
Hiring is a complex process, especially if you are undergoing a remote hiring process. You need to make sure you are hiring people that can not only do the job but also fit into the company culture that you have already established.
If you hire someone that goes against everything you have set up, you risk dismantling everything and having to build your company culture up from the beginning again.
Encourage Consistent Communication
This is something you should be encouraging on a consistent basis between your employees and even your stakeholders anyway.
Improving communication should be on the top of your to-do list. Consistent communication has plenty of benefits but when it comes to company culture it helps to keep track of how employees are feeling and how they are performing.
Lead From The Top (And By Example)
There is no point expecting your employees to act a certain way if you (as an owner) and the other managers are not acting that way too. Good behaviors and habits are set from the top down.
Employees will often mimic how they see others around them acting so if you want your company culture to stay positive, you need to be leading by example.
Ask For Feedback
You have a wealth of data at your fingertips - your employees. So why not ask them for feedback regarding how they are feeling, what they think the company culture is, what you can do better and what would help improve it?
This gives you a chance to listen to what they have to say and take action accordingly.
It's important to remember that every employee has a voice in your company. And they all have their own opinions about your business and your company culture. Make sure that you give them a platform to express themselves and let them know that they matter.
Implement Regular Meetings & Get-Togethers
Regular meetings with your employees will help you to monitor how they feel about different aspects of the business.
For example, if one employee is struggling to get along with another, you might want to sit down with both parties and discuss why they are getting on each other's nerves so that they can talk it out rather than have it create workflow issues down the line.
Over and above meetings you can also plan get-togethers outside of office hours in order to foster a sense of community and to help build relationships between coworkers.
Meet The Changing Needs Of Your Employees
As we said before, your company culture needs to be flexible and fluid. As the needs of your employees change you need to adapt accordingly.
That doesn't mean that you need to completely overhaul your company culture, but it does mean that you need to pay attention to the changing needs of your employees and try to meet those needs as best as possible. But how do you know what your employees’ needs are?
An easy way to find this out is to just ask them. After all, if you notice a dip in an employee’s performance, this is a great opportunity to find out why this is happening and what has changed.
As you can see your company culture can be fickle as it relies a lot on your employees. However, as an HR leader, it is important to understand why it is there in the first place and then work hard to maintain it through a variety of avenues.
As we have pointed out, having a positive company culture brings plenty of advantages to your business.
But, without the right people behind the wheel, this won't happen. If you want to ensure that your company culture stays strong, then make sure that you're doing everything you can to encourage good behavior, high levels of employee engagement, and good values among your team members.