Practice what you preach
What does your company culture says about your business?
Company culture is a key part of any business organisation and can make a huge difference to the success, or failure, of an enterprise. Your company culture defines who you are, how you deal with your customers and how you work together. Getting this right makes your business stronger and more effective, so it is something that needs to be carefully considered and planned to achieve the best possible results.
Creating or changing a company culture is not something that happens overnight. TMI has been dedicated, over the past 40+ years, to helping organisations shape and sustain culture. We’ve learnt a thing or two along the way!
In this article, we will look at how company culture can drive your organisation’s mission and values, the role employees play in creating and maintaining your culture and how effective leadership is essential for all of this to work.
What is a company’s culture?
One way of defining company culture is to think of it as the personality of the organisation. It shapes the environment within the company and the way the business appears to the outside world. The company culture encapsulates the values, ethics and expectations of the organisation as a whole and should be reflected in the behaviour of everyone within the business.
Many companies will now seek to crystalise their company culture with a mission statement, statement of values of some similar document. This might be a few paragraphs explaining the directors’ vision for the company, or it may be a series of statements that sum up their approach. However this is articulated, it can have a big impact on the way the business is perceived inside and out – if it is acted upon!
Why company culture matters for business
Many of the world’s top companies, such as Google and Apple, work hard to create a positive company culture, with ideas such as free food and no set hours seeking to create a more flexible working environment.
Although these kind of steps can help to create a good work-life balance for employees, there is also a strong degree of self-interest at play. By creating a positive work environment for your employees, you can actually boost their productivity and significantly reduce staff turnover. This helps to make your company more efficient and keeps skilled employees on your team for longer.
Company culture is also vital in the way that it influences your relationships with customers, suppliers and other key people external to the business. If you have a company culture for success, this is likely to be picked up on by the people you do business with, making them more likely to want to work with you. By choosing companies to work with that share similar values, you are also much more likely to create positive long-term relationships.
How company culture reflects your mission and values
Companies with the best culture tend to be those with a strong idea of their mission and values that can then filter down into every aspect of the way the company runs. This could be as simple as offering free fruit or subsidised gym memberships, which helps to encourage your staff to be healthier. You could take this further by offering incentives, such as giving out step trackers and giving rewards to the employees who log the most steps each month.
These kind of actions help employees to feel that you care about their wellbeing, or their ‘whole self’, while also having benefits for the organisation as healthier, happier employees are likely to be more energised and productive at work.
How to create a good company culture
Here are two simple, but critical tips to creating a good company culture.
1. Clearly define and communicate the core elements that express your organizational culture. For a company culture to exist, it is absolutely essential that all of your employees know it, understand it and feel part of it. That can’t happen if you don’t tell them what it is! Reinforce your organisation’s values, beliefs and behaviours at every opportunity.
2. Ensure any new hires fit your organisational culture. It is often much easier to on-board and train new people who don’t quite match the skills and experience you need, but who align well with your culture, rather than find people with the perfectly matched skills and experience, but different core values – and attempt to mold them into your ‘way of working’.
Incorporating key elements of your culture and work environment into job adverts and posing questions which help to identify company culture compatibility in job interviews are just a couple of simple ways to attract and assess the ‘right’ kind of people for your organisation.
Engaging employees with your company culture
Of course, company culture only has meaning when employees are engaged with it. The key here is to not only make sure employees are informed about the culture, but to allow them to actively influence it. You should always be open to good ideas, wherever they come from, so whether you are seeking to define your company culture for the first time, or if you have an already established culture, allowing your people to put in their own ideas to shape it will lead to feelings of greater inclusion and affinity with the company culture.
How good leadership encourages a positive company culture
This is where the importance of “practice what you preach” comes in! It is impossible to have a positive company culture if the senior people in the organisation do not demonstrate behaviors that ‘fit’. That means if you expect your staff to work until 6pm every day, you really ought to be there with them.
If you’re going home at 3pm, then expecting them to keep working hard for another three hours, you are likely to cause resentment and lack of respect. The key to encouraging a positive company culture, therefore, is to set an example and live it yourself.
After all, if you can’t live your own company culture, how can you expect anyone else to?
Create a company culture that drives success with TMI
TMI stands for Transformation Managed with Inspiration. We provide leading global consultancy and training for businesses around the world, focusing on the human side of growth, change and development. Our consultants and programme leaders create and deliver inspirational, innovative solutions tailored to their client’s needs, and helping to create company cultures that breed success and personal fulfilment.
Do you need help creating a company culture that drives success in your business? Contact us today to find out how we can help you.