Think of every business in the world as a machine. Some are towering behemoths that run with precision, others are bare-bones and tactful in their management, many function in wide-open spaces meant for innovation, and others grind at the gears in desperate need of an oil can. What sets these machines apart from one another? What’s the difference between Apple and Microsoft? Between Netflix and Hulu? Between Barnes and Noble and an independent bookstore? Between Ruth’s Chris and McDonald’s? The key factor that makes any company is its culture. Company culture is what makes your business your business. Read on to learn about what company culture is, why it’s so important, and how you can use this universal concept to your advantage.
What is Company Culture?
There is no single definition of company culture because it’s such a fluid concept. Essentially, company culture is the personality that lies at the very heart of your business. It’s what defines the space that all of your employees call “work.” It’s composed of your collective values, goals, expectations, behaviors, attitudes, and practices. It’s the way your company hires, holds meetings, and maintains the status quo. It’s the ladder you give employees to climb and the casual chat at the coffee station (or dog petting station, if that’s a piece of your company culture). That is to say—company culture is everything.
The Importance of Company Culture
Company culture can mean the difference between a tired, unmotivated team and one that’s excited to get to work every day and innovate. More than two-thirds of surveyed workers emphasized the importance of company culture when considering applying for a new job, and it may be the deciding factor in what draws people to—or away from—your business. That being said, there is no single “correct” company culture, but there is such a thing as a match between a company and an employee. Some people thrive in an open office with bean bag chairs and slides, while others prefer a more traditional environment. While many employees prefer a hierarchy of roles, others prefer a more even playing field with their co-workers. Establishing your culture is a fantastic way to determine your goals and draw people who can help you make them happen for you.
Benefits Of A Strong Company Culture
Additionally, companies with a strong culture maintain employee engagement that is 72% higher than their counterparts. Establishing and managing it is a surefire way to keep your team engaged at work. Your employees are who make your company function. When their needs are given the attention they deserve, they will respond in kind.
How to Change Company Culture
While there is no such thing as a universally perfect business culture, there are surely bad features to avoid. Negative gossip, lousy communication, micromanagement, low engagement, and lack of empathy are just a few examples. If something feels off and you’d like to change that, there are simple steps to take in the right direction.
1 | Make a Plan
It’s essential to recognize your current company culture first. From there, assess your goals and core values. What do you want it to look like? Be sure to include as many people (from the CEO to the interns) in this discussion. Be open to input. Once you’ve established your goals and intentions, create a plan to steer the ship in the desired direction.
2 | Execute
Work with HR to develop incentives to maintain the new culture. Set an example for those around you and provide feedback to your team. Keep your co-workers informed of the efforts you’re making and keep your eyes and ears open to how they’re reacting to the changes.
3 | Follow Up
Reestablishing company culture is a long game that requires consistent attention and effort. Be sure to encourage and support co-workers who are taking steps to do better. You might even consider putting together a position or team that works solely to maintain the new company culture that you’ve worked so hard to create. Ask your co-workers (again, from the CEO to the interns) if they feel that their voices are being heard.
Company culture is more than a fad in modern businesses that serve tacos on Tuesdays and have slides connecting the top floors to the bottom. There’s a good reason why companies use fun and whimsy as key components of their culture: many people resonate with it. Creating a space that reflects your business as a whole will enable a focused, happy team working together towards your ultimate goals. If you can master it, you can take pride in the environment you’ve worked so hard to create. If you are looking for an off-site space to define your company culture, we would love to host you. The Centre Escondido has spaces large enough to host your next corporate event, or culture training seminar in San Diego County. Our team is here to help you work out all of the details and set you up for a productive day.