What defines great company culture?
Posted Nov 25th, 2015 by Expedite | 0 comments
“Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.”
- By Edward Burnett Tylor, an English anthropologist and a renowned founder of cultural anthropology.Culture can mean different things in different spheres, but in the context of business, culture is essentially the ‘personality’ of a given company. A set of guidelines or leadership principles of a company depicts its culture – these include values, ethical parameters, managerial practices and company policies. In fact, company culture is not something that employees bring with them, it is pre-existing in your company’s genetic code. For instance, a sole proprietor would seek out those individuals who they feel would be a good match with their existing vision for the company.
Why company culture matters in the workplaceIt is time to think about not just building the product but also focus heavily on the kind of culture that is emerging in your company. However, this reference point is different for every fast-growing company. As you grow, you will find it difficult to communicate, to get consensus or to create a process and procedure for everything. And so, a company must make an effort to build a strong culture that can help design a proper framework to work within.
The six elements that make great company culture:
- Assign an owner who is directly responsible for culture.
- Leadership sets tone - so make sure your leadership team exemplifies the type of company you want to be.
- A company’s structure says everything about its culture. The best example is Apple’s famous structural change – they elevated the design team by having them report directly to the CEO.
- Hold a session (off the main location) on a regular basis - gather employees who represent the culture you want to build, and ask the questions: ‘What do you like about the current culture?’ or ‘Why don’t you like it’. At the end of the session, you may not define culture, but you will know where you’re headed.
- Focus on your company’s vision and prioritise everything. Identify how to adapt your products to emerging markets. If your customer’s request is not in your company’s best interest, don’t be afraid to disagree. They don’t always know what they need!
- Communicate – it is tremendously important if you want your company to thrive. Both internally and externally, communicate your values and culture explicitly and continuously.
Assessing your company’s cultureAlthough employees don’t bring culture with them, they do play a vital role in shaping the future of the company. If you’ve done a good job of assessing your company’s culture, then you’ll be able to see where your employees are headed.
Key areas for assessment:
- Clarity of purpose – it’s not enough for you to merely propose a ‘purpose’ for your employees, they have to feel that their work has a measurable impact on the success of the company.
- Engagement – you have an engagement problem if your employees don’t feel empowered enough to fulfill their purpose to the best of their ability.
- Trust – as a business owner, it’s your job to make ‘trust’ a company value. However, your trust issues could ruin it even if the people you’re hiring are trustworthy and passionate. Instead, look for ‘integrity’ – because a lack of integrity will inevitably lead to a lack of trust.
- Constant learning – the culture of continued learning has sprung up and it allows employees to continually improve themselves. Provide learning materials and ensure your library has a collection of books that are relevant and current.