Developing & maintaining a strong culture has become an increasingly important concern for most of the world’s top companies. Innovative businesses are placing their employees at the core of their evolution & innovation efforts, working together to create a successful culture which aims to benefit both employees and the company.
Why? Companies that prioritise the development of a great company can see increased employee satisfaction, reduced job turnover and, ultimately, improved profitability in the long-term. While the term culture gets bandied about quite a lot these days, it’s not always clear what exactly it entails. So, what exactly leads to a great organisational culture?
What is Company Culture?
Culture is the explicit & implicit social order of an organisation: It shapes attitudes and behaviours in wide-ranging and lasting ways. Cultural norms define what is encouraged, discouraged, accepted, or rejected within an organisation. When properly aligned with personal values, drives, and needs, culture can generate tremendous amounts of energy toward a shared purpose and develop an organisation’s capacity to thrive.
Company culture is essentially a set of values that determine what you do and how you do it on a daily basis. It takes in everything from employee progression models to email policies to how you deal with your local community.
The Benefits of a Great Company Culture
- Increased Employee Satisfaction
- Improved Performance
- Reduced Stress
- Less Turnover
- Increased Loyalty
How to Find Your Culture
In an ideal world, the simplest way to identify a company culture, would be to go right to the source – to start interviewing a selection of employees (from all levels of the business) and find out their honest views of the company – what it’s doing right and what it’s doing wrong.
Do they feel motivated? Do they feel they have access to the tools they need to develop their own career? How is their work/life balance?
The challenge here is soliciting feedback that is frank and sincere. Depending on an employee’s grade, the perceived acceptance of candour in the organisation, and many other factors, you may not get an accurate picture from this method alone.
Anonymous surveys such as our developer survey at Tabspace can generate valuable insights into a company’s culture by soliciting feedback that is anonymous, verified and genuine.
Defining Your Culture
When attempting to get to the heart of your own culture, it’s important to remember that every business is different, and that means their culture will be different too. There’s no point attempting to totally replicate the culture of another successful business, you need to create one that is unique to your own team or company.
Once you’ve determined where you company or team is at present, you should seek to reconcile this with the set of values that you aspire to in order to shape the values that will guide your culture going forward.
It’s important that you put them in writing. Employees at every level should be made aware of your values and should have easy access to them at all times. Remember, these values will govern how anyone involved in the business will conduct themselves, so it’s vital that they are available to and understood by all. So, publicise them! Making the announcement of a new set of cultural values can be an inspiring and motivational event for team mates or employees. It lets them know you’re listening to them and taking concrete steps to improve their job satisfaction.
Developing and Growing Your Culture
When it comes to company culture, you have to think long term. Take your time, iterate and experiment, and you’ll see that a great company culture can have a huge impact on most aspect of your business.
You should include a section on cultural values when interviewing new employees – and during the induction process. Make sure to promote your new company values across all levels of the business. And as the adoption process continues, listen to your employees and make sure that they feel their thoughts and concerns are valued.