Company Culture

Company Culture – An Asset or A Liability – Part One

Taking Inventory of Your Company Culture

Your company culture plays a big role when it comes to attracting and retaining employees and customers and in how effective you are in getting work done. In fact, probably much bigger than you might think. 

In this two-part article, we will discuss how you might get your arms around what culture is in your company and in the next, discuss some of the important elements to consider. 

According to a survey by Jobvite in 2021, 40% of workers believe corporate culture is very important compared to 37% last year and 81% of workers feel that corporate culture is somewhat or very important in deciding whether to apply for a job. 

When you think about it, it makes sense. Your company culture is your company’s personality. You likely wouldn’t hang out with someone eight hours a day if you didn’t like them, so why would employees or customers do this, if they don’t really like your company. 

Over and over, I hear people say the reason they are unable to retain or attract employees is because they are not able to pay high wages. There is no doubt wages are important, but according to a different survey by Lexington Law, nearly 70% of people place greater importance on benefits and corporate culture than on salaries. The benefits are not only what you pay in dental or drug coverage, but in other things like tuition reimbursement, abilities to advance within the company, perks, likeable managers, etc. 

The tough thing for many leaders, is how do you address something as big as company culture? It seems to be created all on its own, so how do you go about changing it or how do you even know what it’s like in your company, versus someone else’s? 

In having been in hundreds of businesses, I can tell you every business has a unique culture. From the minute you walk in the door, you can see it and then once you start interacting, it becomes clearer and clearer. Start to notice yourself. 

Some businesses are fun and sometimes can seem a little goofy while other can be more serious and hierarchal. Different businesses are creative or curious and others more transactional, with little personality. Some businesses have tight and demanding deadlines, while others are more lackadaisical and freer flowing. When you walk into some spaces, they are bright and open, and others are dark and dim. Some are organizations are incredibly transparent and others are full of back room meeting and information on as needed basis. 

Again, they are just like people. Everyone is different, from the clothes they wear, to how outgoing they are or approachable, to whether they are easy to talk and relate to, etc. 

Here are some of the big questions you can ask yourself to start to explore your company’s culture. In doing so, think about things objectively from a couple of different perspectives; an employee’s perspective, a customer’s perspective and from yours (without justifying why things are the way they are). 

  • When you walk in your door, what is the first things people notice about your company? Do they notice the people? Do they notice the interior? Do you present the imagine you want others to see? 
  • When you look around how are your people interacting, or not interacting? Do people look engaged? Are people inviting and friendly, or quiet and shy? 
  • What approach do you use in solving problems? Do people get together to discuss the problem and solution? Are individuals assigned to them to resolve? Do you seek assistance from others? 
  • How do you go about resolving conflict around your organization? Do you avoid it and hope it goes away? Do you deal with it head on and look to win? Do you seek to understand and look at specific resolves? 
  • How do you show or demonstrate you care about the people interacting with your business? Are things done transactionally? Do you make attempts to build relationship? Do you show appreciation or are things just expected? 
  • How much importance do you place on developing your business? Do you do much to develop your employees? How often do you reach out to your customers? How much do you engage professionals in helping to move your business ahead? 
  • Do you have a list of values and in reviewing the questions above, do you believe your company is reflecting those on a consistent basis? Is so, then what proof do you have? 

If you are not getting the results you want as a business, chances are your culture might need a little tweaking. Answering these questions as objectively as possible, you might find there are things that maybe aren’t as you would like. Identifying those allows you to put together a plan to work on that, with a few pointers in that arena in part two. Stay tuned! 

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