What is company culture?
Culture is like an invisible, informal, way of behaving, or control mechanism that everyone shares an understanding of. A strong culture can build trust and cooperation from employee’s, and therefore make them more effective and productive. This culture may have been an existing way of being and behaving, or it may be something that has been introduced by way of a set of values to adhere and work by. Therefore fostering a certain behaviour from its employee’s. A company’s culture may be good or bad. If a company has a bad culture this results in high level of sickness and absence and high staff turnover. How many times have you joined a new company, and the staff there say, ‘it’s just the way it is’? Or, ‘we have always done it that way’. Just because you have always done it that way, doesn’t mean that it was the right way. Your culture can define or destroy your company. Once you have a bad culture, it is very difficult to change it.
Why is it important?
Your culture and values set everything that goes on in your company. It defines what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable. It is the foundation of everything you do, and all processes and practices are built around it. When recruiting staff to your business, it is important to employ people that have the same set of values that your business has. The right company culture can have a positive effect on your business performance, employee engagement, staff retention, the standard of customer service you offer to your customers.
How can you create a positive culture?
- Have the right set of values for your business
- Lead by example, and communicate these values to your teams
- Create positive working experiences and a high level of employee engagement
- Create an open, transparent, and honest communication culture, allowing employee’s to voice their opinions
- Show recognition and appreciation
- Have regular and meaningful one to one catch ups with your team, to discuss performance
- Give staff autonomy
- Create purpose and meaning to what they do. Explain the ‘why’ so that they connect with the business
What can go wrong, and what can you do about it?
The bigger your company gets, the less control you have over what happens. You begin to rely on those around you more and more, but if you haven’t employed people with the right values and behaviours, then this is when things can start to go wrong. People cut corners, or don’t treat each other in the right way, bad behaviours can start to develop and embed. You become blinkered and don’t always see what is going on around you. No one will love your business as much as you do, and work as hard for your business as you do.
What you can do, is create the right environments for your employee’s, where they can learn and develop, which in turn helps to create positive employee engagement. Create development opportunities, and succession plans. Employ the right managers, with the right behaviours, who lead by example. Who understand that the team is more important than personal gain. Have regular team building events, or social events, where the team can come together outside of work. Listen to what your employee’s are telling you, they are the ones that are customer facing. There is so much you can do, but 2 way communication is key.