What does company culture refer to?
When we consider an individual, culture refers to a basic set of values or principles that a person has. Similar to this, company culture refers to the core values followed in a company, right from the CEO to the junior employee. In addition to values, a company culture consists of goals, ideologies, purpose, mission, vision, beliefs, learning, leadership, assumptions, expectations, work environment and ethics. A company’s work culture can also be referred to as its personality. Just like each person has a unique DNA, every organization has a unique culture too. Company culture is indicative of how a particular organization functions and meets its objectives or goals.
You surely must have heard about some of the popular companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Adobe, Microsoft and Starbucks. All these companies are highly successful in their own domain. However, they have one thing in common. Any guesses? Yes, all of them have a positive and phenomenal work culture. The employees working in these companies are passionate about their work and complete it with great precision. Not only this, all the employees share a strong bond with each other at the workplace. Their purpose is clearly defined and their goals are aligned with the goals and objectives of the company. This is what makes these companies stand out from the rest and the best place to work for the employees.
“A company’s culture is the foundation for future innovation. An entrepreneur’s job is to build the foundation.” – Brian Chesky
What does excellent company culture mean?
Positive and excellent company culture is the one where all the employees work together in synchronization as a team and achieve the best possible results for every project or task given to them.
Employees working in a company having a world-class culture automatically feel motivated to come to work every day and do not feel a sense of monotony about the work they do. In such a work environment, the vibes of the positive and happy company culture can actually be felt.
There are some elements that demarcate an ordinary company culture from the extraordinary one. These include synergism, trust, respect, responsibility, innovation, growth, flexibility, problem-solving attitude and many more.
Why is it essential to have a great company culture?
On average, most employees spend nearly 8-10 hours each day, i.e. nearly 1/3rd of a day in the office workspace. It is quite obvious that having a good company and work culture would go a long way in keeping the employees happy, ultimately making an impact on the productivity of the company.
1. Reflects the identity of an organization
If you are of the opinion that turnover, sales, profits, bottom line, and revenue are factors that define the true potential of a company, then you are highly mistaken. All these are just byproducts of good and powerful company culture. It is the company culture that defines its identity, something which is unique and peculiar to the company.
2. Builds a company’s reputation and image
Having a healthy and happening company culture helps an organization in building its reputation and name in the market. The positive and enthusiastic vibes inside the company spread through word of mouth to the outside world too. This helps in attracting fresh talents to the company making recruitment easier. In addition to this, having a good reputation in the market helps expand a company’s client base as customers prefer to buy products and services from a reputed company. This ultimately adds up to the profitability of the company.
3. Employee retention
A strong and positive company culture ensures that employees are appreciated, respected and valued for their valuable contributions towards the growth of the company. Employees working in such a workplace feel happy and content when they are acknowledged for their work. This is the reason why companies having a robust work culture are able to retain their existing employees and do not face the problem of a high attrition rate.
4. Enhanced productivity at work
A nurturing company culture takes care of the overall growth and development of employees. This helps to boost the spirit of employees which reflects in their productivity at work. Higher productivity at the workplace ultimately strengthens the financial health of a company.
5. Reduced workplace stress
Stressed-out employees have a negative impact on the morale of the entire workplace. Businesses having a strong and powerful work culture helps in reducing the stress of employees significantly. This improves the mental health of the employees at work and boosts the overall productivity of the organization.
6. Improved customer experience
A positive and enthusiastic work environment inside the office reflects in the way the employees take care of your clients. A happy and motivated employee is likely to go the extra mile in providing the best customer service to the clients. This helps businesses to improve customer experience leading to higher satisfaction levels amongst customers.
7. Facilitates effective teamwork
A healthy and engaging company culture enables the employees to gel as a close unit and works efficiently as a team with a high degree of precision, speed, and accuracy. It also facilitates clear and streamlined communication between several employees from different departments in a company.
8. Keeps employees motivated
A healthy and rewarding company culture recognizes the valuable contributions and efforts of employees. Such a company regards employees as its most valuable asset and praises them. This keeps the employees motivated at work and they are ready to take on added responsibility happily if the need arises.
9. Brings out the leader in everyone
Encouraging and exciting company culture makes employees more responsible for their work. Employees are more involved in their projects and do not shy away from taking initiatives that are for the betterment of the company. In such a healthy and positive workplace, employees need not be reminded time and again what they have to do, they are already aware of their responsibilities towards the organization. This inculcates leadership qualities in them which will ultimately be beneficial to the company in the long run.
Ways to build a strong, positive and everlasting company culture
Deciphering the code of building a healthy and happy company culture is not a cake walk. It is something which will not happen overnight. It is a continuous process that requires an investment of time, patience and dedication from the entrepreneurs and business owners. There are no predefined rules or any SOP manual on how to create a good company culture. It all varies from individual to individual and from company to company.
Below are some simple but effective suggestions using which you can foster a healthy, happy, cohesive and everlasting company culture.
1. Scrutinizing your existing company culture
If your business is constantly losing its best employees, then it is time for you to sit down and scrutinize your existing company culture to identify the loopholes in it and set it right before it is too late. Having a very high attrition rate in any organization is an indication that it is time for some restructuring and remodeling of the current company culture. One way to find out what’s going wrong is to ask the employees directly by conducting an in-house survey. The participation of all employees is really important to identify the core problem. Ideally, this scrutiny should be performed by taking the assistance of a business consultant or any third-party.
2. Figuring out the best fit
While transforming an existing company culture or defining a new one, it is very important to understand the values that are best suited for your business. Depending on these values, the first step towards building a good company culture is to chalk out a blueprint of it. While some entrepreneurs may prefer a casual and relaxed atmosphere in their office, some may need a more formal one. The voice of all the employees must be taken into account while identifying the culture that best suits your organization. Remember, it is important to build a company culture that is in the interest of all the employees and not just the top-level ones.
3. Implementing the outlined culture
Once the right company culture has been defined, the toughest part is to implement it. As an entrepreneur, you have to lead by example so that others follow you. For any company culture to be successful, it is very important that everyone in the chain follow it. Remember, your attitude regulates the work environment in the office. You must walk the talk to set an example for others.
4. Recruiting the right talent
In today’s world, there is a talented pool of individuals to choose from for companies, especially those having a healthy culture. However, you must take care to hire individuals that best fit into your company culture. Not all talented people would be perfectly suited for your company culture. Hence, it is important to be a bit choosy in the hiring process so that you can get the right set of enthusiastic people on-board who can blend with your company culture and take it forward. Choosing the wrong match would result in a high attrition rate, which going forward is likely to affect the image of your company.
5. Recognizing and rewarding employees
One of the main reasons why good employees leave organizations is not being appreciated and acknowledged for their good work. Appreciating and praising employees for their valuable contributions to the company, irrespective of the department they belong to, makes them feel valued and respected. The rewards maybe in the form of an appreciation certificate, an employee of the month trophy, gift coupons or even monthly or quarterly bonus clubbed with their salary. All this will increase the employee satisfaction ratio in the workplace and empower the employees to go the extra mile in whatever work they do, which is ultimately beneficial for the company’s growth.
6. Breaking the larger goal into smaller milestones
Sales are the most important aspect of any company. It helps a company in generating revenue. Every company has quarterly and annual sales targets, which is the larger goal for the company. However, more often than not, most employees are likely to be overwhelmed by the sales figures that they are required to achieve. Here is where a good boss or a good manager comes into the picture. You can break the long-term goal into small monthly or weekly milestones for the convenience of your team. Weekly or monthly milestones are not so far into the future that your employees will just wait till the end to take action and neither is it so big that they will be daunted by the task in hand. If monthly milestones are successfully accomplished, the larger goal will automatically fall into place. Hence, dissecting the bigger goal into smaller milestones will make things easy for your business as well as your employees.
7. Backing your employees
Hiring the ideal fit for your business is just the start. You need to back your employees for them to accomplish a task successfully. Employees must be nurtured, trained and backed for them to beat your expectations at a later stage. New employees must be given sufficient time to express themselves in your company. You must remember that all employees are not the same. Some would be brilliant right from the beginning, while some need time and proper guidance before they can outshine. Thus, it is very important for entrepreneurs to back any fresh talent.
8. Micromanagement is a strict no
There is no employee in the world who wants to be micromanaged by his/her boss or for that matter by anyone. It is one of the most commonly made mistakes in the workplace by managers and even bosses. Micromanagement is not only detrimental to employees but also to the entire organization. Employees need to be given their own space and time to perform the job effectively. This would help boost their confidence levels, which will ultimately be beneficial to the organization.
9. Prioritizing work-life balance
It is important for entrepreneurs and managers to understand that just like them, employees to have a life outside the workplace. Employees like spending quality time with their friends and family. Few ideas that would help promote effective work-life balance in a company include having flexitime, rest days after the completion of a long project, scheduled paid vacation, childcare facilities, birthday celebrations, movies, company outings, picnic, company-sponsored lunch, healthcare and medical services for employees and their family, free shopping vouchers, gym and club membership. Focusing on work-life balance allows employees to be more enthusiastic at the workplace and not feel stressed out by the work. Just recently, Microsoft Japan experimented with a four-day work week and witnessed a 40 percent surge in productivity.
10. Trusting your team
Trust is an integral part of any relationship. Trusting your employees and having confidence in them to get a particular job done will act as a learning curve for them so that they are well prepared to shoulder bigger responsibilities at a later stage.