What is a company’s culture?A company’s culture is defined as “the shared values and practices of the employees. Note that the actual culture may not match the published culture.”
It’s the shared understanding of the way employees should behave, of how problems are solved, how new ideas are advanced. Company culture is the expected communication style, the amount of openness expected and exhibited. It encompasses the way the companies and its employees interact every day with each other and the way they interact with customers and suppliers. Company culture is their shared idea of how things should be.
Why is company culture important?Because it represents the shared understanding of the way things should be done, company culture is the glue that binds the company’s various parts together. It connects the employees to the company and to each other. It connects the different parts of the company together. Company culture embodies the standards that determine how things get done.
When a company has a strong culture, shared across all the different parts and understood and supported by all employees it is able to move forward efficiently and get more done. This, of course, creates more opportunities for the company and its employees.
When the company culture is weak or fractured, the company’s employees spend a lot of time and energy either negotiating the way things should be done or fighting with each other to get things done the way the separate groups of employees think something should be done.
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.
So why make company culture a firing offense?Whenever a company hires a new or replacement employee, it introduces change into the company culture. Of course, a company with a strong culture and many employees will see less of an impact on the company culture than a small company with a weak or fractured culture will. The simple act of adding or changing an employee introduces that change because the employee brings with them their lifetime of beliefs and behaviors. To the extent that these beliefs and behaviors differ from the culture of the company that hired them there is the potential for change.
So if a company wants to preserve, or even enhance, its company culture, it wants to hire and retain employees whose beliefs, behaviors, and values align closely with the company’s culture to lessen the pressure to change the culture, whether formally or informally. For that reason, an employee who doesn’t “fit” the culture of the company and its employees should be removed. It’s best for the company. It’s best for the individual being release. And it’s best for the employees remaining after the non-conforming individual leaves.
If that non-conforming person were to remain, the employees would have to spend some amount of time negotiating and discussing behaviors, standards, and processes with that person. This is time that a smart company wants spent on producing results instead. That is why, when you discover that there is an individual employee who doesn’t fit the company culture that you want to remove them. The smart course is to act quickly, but only if acting quickly is part of the company culture.