We’ve looked recently at a lot of topics related to the ‘Great Rethink/Resignation’ and one subject which comes up repeatedly is how ‘Great Company Culture’ help prevent resignations and improve employee productivity and engagement.
Fortunately, we as a team have been doing a great deal of work on our company culture lately, including measuring how well we are doing to foster a great company culture.
92% of our central team said they agreed ‘The Clean Space had a strong positive company culture’ – (June 2022 Employee Survey)
Culture of course, is not tangible. It’s impossible to explain, replicate or define easily. This is why so many companies struggle to explain succinctly what makes their company culture great. Add to this the effect of the pandemic, (which was a ‘make or break’ moment for many teams), company culture really became clear and dictated who thrived vs just about survived, the crisis.
Part One: What is Company Culture?
Company culture is best described as a shared set of values, goals, attitudes, customs and rituals that make up an organisation and how it does business.
Culture is subminimal, and often subconscious. Much of it is anchored in unspoken behaviours, mindsets, and social patterns. Our general way of doing things is the visible manifestation of our culture (that’s why we ensure to invest in ours continually). It’s not tangible but you can definitely ‘feel’ an organisation’s culture when you interact with its people, both instinctively, and over time as relationships build.
It’s a group phenomenon
Company culture is much like ‘group think’. It can be defined as the shared ethos of the employees and it determines how they decide to act and behave.
It’s often easiest to think of it like the company’s unwritten ‘golden rules’ for behaviour, decision making and conduct.
It can be hard to understand and influence
The challenge with fostering company culture is that because they are largely made up of deep-rooted subconscious beliefs, they are highly subjective and hard to influence. Understanding how your people perceive your culture now is by far the best way to start trying to build or improve it.
It is manifested through a company and its people’s actions
Strong positive company culture drives employees to act and behave. It is a huge motivator. When great culture is harnesses, valued and invested in, it breeds positive interactions at every level of a business and its dealing with the outside world.
Many leaders either let it [culture] go unmanaged or relegate it to HR, where it becomes a secondary concern for the business. This is a mistake, because properly managed, culture can help them achieve change and build organizations that will thrive in even the most trying times. [HBR]
It develops naturally
So, when company culture is not nurtured and managed, it will naturally occur and develop anyway. This, if unmanaged, can often lead to misalignment with company goals or expectations. In time, reputational problems (both internally and externally) may start to appear.
A company’s practices are where the ‘cultural rubber meets the road’
Company culture can manifest itself in a variety of ways – from leaders’ behaviours, communication styles, to policies and rules. It’s in everything a business does and how it carries itself in dealing with its people – it’s staff, customer, key stakeholders and local community.
Company culture can, if positive, act as a significant competitive advantage for businesses. Strong culture can undoubtedly unleash a tremendous amount of energy toward a shared purpose or goal which can drive a business forward at sustained pace.
Companies that prioritise culture can also weather difficult times and changes in the business environment and come out stronger. [Achievers]
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”
Without a good culture, companies may set goals but miss them. Great company culture is needed to help drive tangible business outcomes.
Companies who can identify and foster what great culture looks like for them will use it to attract and retain new talent, strengthen team resilience and encourage teamwork and innovation.
- Businesses with ‘healthy cultures’ are 10 times more likely to experience revenue growth.
- Culture is the reason that almost two-thirds (65%) of employees stay in their job.
- Companies that actively manage their culture boast 40% higher employee retention.
Next time, we’ll take a look at what components make up ‘great company’ culture and how companies can arm themselves for cultural success…
Check back soon for: Part II: What Makes ‘Great Company Culture’? and Part III: How Can Companies Improve Their Company Culture?