Company CultureA culture is the values and practices shared by the members of the group. Company Culture, therefore, is the shared values and practices of the company's employees.
Company culture is important because it can make or break your company. Companies with an adaptive culture that is aligned to their business goals routinely outperform their competitors. Some studies report the difference at 200% or more. To achieve results like this for your organization, you have to figure out what your culture is, decide what it should be, and move everyone toward the desired culture.
Company cultures evolve and they change over time. As employee leave the company and replacements are hired the company culture will change. If it is a strong culture, it may not change much. However, since each new employee brings their own values and practices to the group the culture will change, at least a little. As the company matures from a startup to a more established company, the company culture will change. As the environment in which the company operates (the laws, regulations, business climate, etc.) changes, the company culture will also change.
These changes may be positive, or they may not. The changes in company culture may be intended, but often they are unintended. They may be major changes or minor ones. The company culture will change and it is important to be aware of the changes.
Assess The Company CultureThere are many ways to assess your company culture. There are consultants who will do it for you, for a fee. The easiest way to assess your company's culture is to look around. How do the employees act; what do they do? Look for common behaviors and visible symbols.
Listen. Listen to your employees, your suppliers, and your customers. Pay attention to what is written about your company, in print and online. These will also give you clues as to what your company's culture really is.
Determine The Desired Company CultureBefore you can change the company culture, you have to decide what you want the company culture to look like in the future. Different companies in different industries will have different cultures. Look at what kind of a culture will work best for your organization in its desired future state. Review your mission, vision and values and make sure the company culture you are designing supports them.
Here are some characteristics of company cultures that others have used successfully. Decide which work for your company and implement them.
- Mission clarity
- Employee commitment
- Fully empowered employees
- High integrity workplace
- Strong trust relationships
- Highly effective leadership
- Effective systems and processes
- Performance-based compensation and reward programs
- Effective 360-degree communications
- Commitment to learning and skill development
- Emphasis on recruiting and retaining outstanding employees
- High degree of adaptability
- High accountability standards
- Demonstrated support for innovation
Align The Company CultureYou need to align your company culture with your strategic goals if it isn't already.
- Develop a specific action plan that can leverage the good things in your current culture and correct the unaligned areas.
- Brainstorm improvements in your formal policies and daily practices.
- Develop models of the desired actions and behaviors.
- Communicate the new culture to all employees and then
- over-communicate the new culture and its actions to everyone.
Only a company culture that is aligned with your goals, one that helps you anticipate and adapt to change, will help you achieve superior performance over the long run.