The Building Blocks of Company Culture
In the last article, we provided you with some questions you could think about in terms of defining your company culture. We pointed out that a company’s culture can have a huge impact when it comes to attracting and retaining good employees and customers and in the overall effectiveness in your company’s performance.
Now it is time to look at some elements that work together to improve company culture:
- Defined Values – Every company or business operates with a set of values, whether they are formally documented or not. Those values are the reflection of the people working within the business and they will be based on individual values. However, collectively defining (and I don’t mean everyone in an organization necessarily, but the leadership of the company) the values in which you want the company to operate lets employees and customers know that if they share those same values, then there should be a good fit.
- Walking The Talk – Just because you have a defined set of values, doesn’t necessarily mean leaders are demonstrating them, or that the policies or practices of the company are aligned with them. For example, if you have a value of being “action oriented,” but have meetings that drag on for hours, then there is a mismatch. If the value is honesty, but the company is hiding things, then also a mismatch. It is important that leaders reflect on the actual practices of the company and the leadership team, to know confidently they are walking the talk. Employees will reflect you, as a leader, regardless of what you write down for values.
- Job Security/Company Security – Perception really is reality in this case. It is important for people to perform well and for customers to want to buy from you, if they believe they will be around tomorrow. In the case of employees, if they feel they may not have a job whether that be from fear of layoffs, firing, offshoring or automation, then their focus will be on that rather than on helping you succeed. For customers, they want to know you and your products or services are reliable. People gravitate to the certain, so you need to create that in your company culture.
- Learning and Development – As people, we like the chance to learn new things when we can do so in a supportive environment. No one likes the risk of failing, but sometimes learning involves temporary struggles. How a company engages their people to learn and more importantly how they help them through the struggles, can have a significant impact on company culture. The number one reason people do not like change is because of the fear of what failure could bring, and yet our world is constantly full of change. Tackling this is fundamental in successful organizations.
- Toxic Managers and Employees – Not everyone is a good fit for every organization. Sometime there are employees or managers whose style or attitudes are destructive to a workplace. It does not necessarily mean they couldn’t be great in a different workplace, but they might not be a good fit for yours. It is up to the leaders of the company to address this when it comes up, either through attempting to correct the behaviour or by moving them out of the organization.
- Recognition – Perks, salaries and benefits are certainly forms of recognition that need to be considered when it comes to company culture, but at the same time, it is important to look at how you recognize your employees and your customers. People like to feel important and they like to know that they have done a good job. Letting people know you see them and their contributions is critical to building strong company culture. Above all things, when people (employees, customers, family) know you need and respect them for the work they do, they will move mountains to help you.
Building a strong company culture is one of the ways you are able to differentiate yourself from your competition, whether that be for customers or employees. In today’s world of copy cats, it can be easy to deliver the same products or service you provide…almost. The “almost” is attributed to the personality you and your company has, or your company culture. If you want to set yourself apart, build it from the inside and see how you will transform your business.
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