What…is Company Culture?
I will attempt to condense the answer to this question (about which entire books have been written) into one, short, simple sentence…
Company Culture is how your employees and, therefore, your potential customers feel about your company.
In other words, if your Company Culture (CC) attracts, and keeps, the best people…you have a good CC.
If your people like coming to work…you have a good CC.
If your people are productive, innovative, and always looking for ways to make your company better (in the market place, and as a company)…you have a good CC.
If your people aren’t afraid to approach decision-makers in your company with ideas that may, on the surface, seem “out there”…you have a good CC.
And the list could go on…and on…and on…
You get the idea.
And make no mistake, in this age of instant and full communication and disclosure…how your employees feel about your company will be quickly communicated to the “outside” world of your potential customers. So CC isn’t just an internal consideration for your company.
Maybe the best way to describe CC is to list a few widely-known examples of companies with outstanding CCs. You might have heard of one or two of these…
– Google (probably the “gold standard” in good CC)
And one company that’s taking a lot of heat recently (May 2020) for its less than ideal CC (as perceived by some of its employees) is Amazon. Understand that a company with over 800,000 employees won’t please everyone all the time…but…the reality of the internet is “whoever speaks loudly and negatively – gets the most internet exposure” means that all of Amazon’s employees who like its CC won’t be heard because that’s not “news”. Such is business life in the age of technology. Even Google gets negative comments on its CC from some employees from time to time. Your business must do the best it can to set up a CC where people want to work. Then carefully hire the best people. That’s all you can do. And that’s the bottom line.
Why…should your company define its Company Culture?
First, understand that because CC is 100% people-based, the definition of “good” CC is will change and evolve as generation after generation enters the work force. What was considered good CC in 1960 is dramatically different from what is good CC in 2020. So your CC must be open and flexible to evolve with the changing culture of society as a whole.
So back to the original question…Why should your company define it’s Company Culture?
Your definition is the anchor that keeps everyone from drifting away or going in directions that aren’t supportive of your CC.
How…do you come up with the right CC for your company?
There is no “cookie cutter” formula, or “magic bullet” Company Culture that will work for every business.
Yes, you need to start formulating your CC with the basics..
– Listening (people like to be heard, not just talked to)
– Including, not excluding your people in key decisions
– Fun (ever since Sesame Street, people have expected to have fun while they learn…and work)
But that’s not the end of your definition. Your people will, if you listen, help you shape and mold your CC into what works best for the type of company and business you are in. What works best for a technology company, like Google for example, won’t be good fit for a manufacturing company. Different types of people are needed in those two very different fields and since your CC is shaped by your people, the CC of a manufacturing company may differ in significant ways from that for a technology company….but the basics are still the same…
How…does your Company Culture help your hiring efforts?
Your definition of CC must be public knowledge. Modern generations often look, first, at what kind of company you are in order to determine if your company fits with the kind of company they want to work for.
Remember…in order to hire the right people, you must first attract the right people. And attracting the right people means having an attractive Company Culture.
In summary, your Company Culture is how your employees feel about your company. And that, in turn, translates into the market place. And that, in turn, directly affects the degree of success your company could achieve.
For more information, the Harvard Business Review identified “Six Components of a Great Corporate Culture” in 2013… https://hbr.org/2013/05/six-components-of-culture
Number one on their list? – Vision
Yes, we are right back to “Step 1” in starting your company…Creating your company’s Vision, Mission, and Values statements. These are the bedrock upon which your company culture will be built.
Hire the best people…then…get out of their way, and destroy roadblocks to their success.
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