For business leaders, setting the company culture should be high on the priority list. Company culture can make or break organisations, as employee satisfaction is paramount. Defined as a shared set of goals, values, attitudes, and practices that make up a business, company culture also encompasses the beliefs and behaviours that determine the actions of employees and employers. Company culture is one of the foundations of success and a happy workforce. Without a positive company culture, firms may be open to a high turnover of staff and a toxic workplace.
Here, we look at why that is and how leaders can shape their company culture.
More than 50% of executives saying that corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rates. Percentages as large as that are hard to ignore, so it might be time to pay attention to company culture. Company culture starts at the top and works its way down, not the other way around. By setting an example and treating others how they would want to be treated, managers can shape company culture.
Only 15% of executives said their firm’s corporate culture was where it needed to be, which shows that there is still a long way to go. Productivity and success are greatly improved when employees are happy in their environment, and culture is the key to a healthy work environment. Managers or bosses should focus on business leadership and being a leader over a boss. By shaping the culture with relationship building and practising company values, teams will reflect the culture.
To foster a positive work culture, leaders should focus on some key areas. From social events to company values, there’s a lot for organisations to remember. Below, we run through the must-haves.
Social events are one of the best ways for a team to gel and get to know each other. By encouraging a team to bond outside of work, they will begin to feel more comfortable working together. This can be achieved by Friday drinks outings, summer and end of year parties, monthly social events, or even a running club. Employees will feel valued and taken care of if the company funds these events, too.
Company values guide a business in everything they do, defined as principles and fundamental beliefs that help an organisation function as a team. Every business has different values, but a company must set itself apart with its own unique values. This helps establish an identity and acts as a compass in challenging situations. For employees, having a good set of values will build trust and faith in their leaders that there is integrity and drive at the heart of the business, which is integral to positive company culture.
Encouraging staff members to be themselves is one of the most valuable moves you can make when running a business. It’s not about ticking boxes; it’s about ensuring the team come to work each day knowing they can express themselves and feel comfortable in the workplace. Having a team made up of various backgrounds and from all walks of life will benefit the business too, with differing ideas coming to the fore as a result.
Rewarding employees when they’ve done an excellent job or worked particularly hard is a must. Employee recognition is one of the bedrocks of motivation. By showing the team that they’ll be rewarded for the effort they put in, you are incentivising them to work harder and aspire to achieve more. This aids the culture as positive reinforcement fosters friendly competition and high performance.
Encouraging a culture where employees feel comfortable talking to their line managers and above is highly important for company culture. Staff members need to know that they feel respected and that their opinion is valued. The benefits to the company culture, as a result, are almost immeasurable, with team members feeling like they can voice concerns and offer feedback – as well as contribute to decision making.
Building on the above ways to set the culture in your company, there are some great examples we can look at to get an idea of how they work. For example, communication can be demonstrated by the environment at SquareSpace. Employees feel like they are heard and are not stifled by layers of management.
Southwest Airlines share their goals and vision with their employees, leading to a happier, more driven team aiming to get results. Another example of communication is 02, with employees saying the company is honest and open with employees regularly updated.
With six key areas to work on to develop company culture, there’s plenty of room for improvement in every business. Try hosting a social event on the business or hosting listening groups with staff members to discover how they feel. Alternatively, a creative idea might be to redecorate the office with company values on the wall.
Making it clear what the goals are for a business is crucial, but most importantly, organisations should focus on the needs of their employees and how they’re feeling. By focusing on how employees feel and solving their problems, a positive culture will start to breed.
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