If you have any experience in managing teams and running a business you would know that company culture has a big impact on business revenue and employee retention.
In 1992 a Harvard Business Study found that companies with strong culture saw a 4x greater increase in revenue and more than 12x increase in stock price.
Sometimes people may not realize it but company culture is actually at the root for every business’s success, failure, fraud, collapse or growth.
It’s no secret that happy employees lead to happy customers. This is clear in service of companies such as SouthWest Airlines and Google. A fun and safe culture also attracts new talent to the company.
Here are some ways to build a better company culture at your workplace.
You must first decide the culture that you want your company to have. Simply copying the values of other successful business will rarely work.
Your company culture comprises your values, beliefs, purpose and philosophy in serving others. The company culture is almost always a reflection of its founding members and should be as unique as each human being is.
Think of the kind of atmosphere and working style you want in your office. A small start up will naturally have its founder’s culture but will require conscious effort as the team grows bigger.
Use stories and brand ambassadors within your company to propagate values. These stories could be of founders or top level employees.
Personalities such as Richard Branson (Virgin brand) and Steve Jobs (Apple Inc.) are an inspiration in themselves. They form a major part of the brand they have built.
Not every company will have a popular personality to influence its culture. Even everyday stories by frontline employees or action on social media can be used to reinforce values and build culture.
Zappos the online shoe seller is loved for its company culture and customer service. Did you know that Zappos gives cultural fit a 50% weightage when hiring an employee!
That means a candidate with impressive skill sets could still get rejected because he is not right for the culture of the company.
Culture is made up of people and stories, so it makes sense to protect it from getting corrupted. It is possible to teach a skill set but it is much harder to change a person’s attitude and belief systems.
Always hire people who add to your culture and share your sense of purpose. Hiring employees who have conflicting values is quick way to turn your culture toxic.
It is also important to encourage the right behaviours after hiring the right employees. Make sure your awards and recognition reflect your values.
Take the example of Publix Super Markets, the largest employee owned company in United States. They offer their employees company stock after a year of service and additional stocks each year promoting the culture of inclusiveness and ownership.
As a result their turnover rate is as low as 5% and profits are more than that of Wal-Mart.
What you stand against is as important as what you stand for in building a strong culture. Make clear that behaviours and practices against the company’s values will not be tolerated.
Have a written code of conduct and policy that reflects your culture clearly.
Rewards and punishments are noticed by employees and travel through the grapevine quickly. It is an effective way to keep your company culture in check.
94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. Company culture does require time and effort but it is well worth the effort.
In fact, it is impossible to have a sustainable long running business without a strong culture.
Building a culture starts with having a purpose, hiring right people and nurturing it daily. Company culture will evolve as the business grows and next generation of workers are hired.
However, the core of the business and its essence must always be preserved and reflect in everything the company does.
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