In today’s workplace environment company culture is more important than ever, after all it is the unique genetic makeup of an organization. It defines the environment in which employees work and in some cases make or break an organization. It can include elements such as work environment, language, value, ethics, company mission, expectations, goals, or even benefits. It is not something individuals bring with them and often times, is pre-existing within the organizations’ core values and practices.
Why is Company Culture Important?
No matter how large or small; a unique company culture can be found in any organization and if done right will guide employees towards victory, development and success.
In a workplace landscape a positive culture will attract and retain loyal, top talent employees which in turn will strengthen relationships with clients and further enhance the organizations success.
The impact of company culture has been proven to be a key factor in employee performance. Studies suggest that when employees share similar values and visions as their employer, they are more committed to the organization and in turn, perform better.
Types of Company Culture
There are many different types of organizational culture that materialize in different environments. Some occur naturally and some are implemented by an executive team. As mentioned previously, no company exists without a culture, but rather operate under different types of techniques and practices.
According to Udemy, there are two tiers to company culture, weak culture or strong culture. In a strong culture employees have a sense of empowerment and understanding of the company’s goals. In a weak culture, employees are lost, unmotivated and fearful. Under those two models are 9 types of organizational culture. They are as follows:
Academy culture depends on employees who are highly skilled, studious and welcome further training and advancement. This workplace thrives off intense training for new employees and ongoing training for existing employees. This kind of management keeps turn-over rates low and employees eager to perform well. Example: hospitals and educational institutions.
This environment includes the everyday corporate workplace. Normally very cut and dry, employees follow strict regulations and guidelines to uphold policies. Employees rarely deviate from their roles and only do what is asked of them. This type of environment is definitely not for every type of employee.
The customer or client is always right. In this type of workplace, employees don’t adhere to strict rules because whatever the customer wants, the customer gets (within reason of course).
This type of culture requires employees to be very skilled and competent in their work. Club culture can be seen in organizations like the FBI, commercial pilots and specialty branches of the military. The hiring process can be intense, requiring multiple interviews, an impeccable resume, background checks and so on. These employees are often recognized for their hard work with promotions.
Baseball Team Culture
Baseball team environments is all about the employees. Opposite of pragmatic culture, as long as workers are happy, comfortable and feel respected, the work will get done. Google is a good example; their employees get to do pretty much what ever they want to make them feel creative (on the company dime) and company outings are definitely a regular occurrence. This environment will definitely make employees want to stick around.
This type of environment is all about the numbers. If the organization is doing well as a result of the employee’s productivity, then the employee continues to have a job. If the organization begins to see a downfall in success, then the individuals that aren’t pulling their weight are terminated. The downside to this type of work culture is the time and money invested in training these employees and the high termination rate.
Tough Guy Culture
Tough guy culture is basically another way of saying micro-management. Employees are monitored every step of the way and when something does not meet the standards or expectations of the company the employee is given guidance and monitored further. An example of this would be in a customer service role.
This type of office culture provides a set of regulations and procedures that the employees follow. It’s different than the normative culture as the regulations are not a list of do’s and don’ts but rather an ideology that the employees follow. Employees know what they are getting into when they sign-up. And unlike the tough guy culture, these employees are not micro-managed. Government agencies normally run under this culture.
Bet Your Company Culture
Organizations that follow this culture are known to literally bet the success or failure of their company on single decisions of which the outcome is unknown. The consequences of the decisions made by the individuals working in the bet-your-company culture can be so ominous that the company goes under; or, they can be so excellent that the company thrives.
It’s important to note that some companies practice more than one of these and some are strictly one.
Assessing Your Company’s Culture
Understanding the core culture of your organization is the first step in bringing needed change to the environment of your workplace. You may have had pre-existing plans for your company, but as your team grows things may begin to change. Individuals may not bring company culture with them, but rather their own unique talent and practices – which may help shape the future of a company. So, if you have been spending time building your business and bringing on new members, now would be a good time to assess your company’s culture and see what kinds of trends are emerging.
A simple way to make a cultural assessment of your organization is to observe and ask questions. Involve your employees in this process as well because their thoughts and feelings are important to understanding what changes needs to me made.
Here are 8 simple questions to consider when evaluating your company’s culture:
- What does the workplace “feel” like?
- How would you describe the personality or character of your organization?
- How do people interact?
- Are their any common behaviours (good or bad)?
- What milestones are celebrated?
- What social activities exist? Are they well attended?
- What is the core value of your organization?
- Do you know your organization’s vital purpose?
While these questions may not reflect what your company culture is, they will help you make necessary changes to improve your operation. This assessment can also help you outline the symptoms of a weak or strong cultural environment and knowing this information is important to helping your company thrive. If your company has a high employee turnover rate, you may want to ask yourself two simple questions: What does having this job mean to my employees and would they rather leave if they had the chance?
The Next Step
Although the assessment questions are designed to reveal some attributes of the core culture of your organization, the answers may not always be definite. If you have done a good job of assessing your company’s culture, then you should have a clear idea of some of the patterns that are emerging, areas where employees are dissatisfied, issues that need to be addressed and the direction of your organization. The next step would be to focus on areas of the workplace where you can improve the atmosphere and your employees’ productivity. You do not have to tackle the areas you think needs improvement all at once. Take it one step at a time. First, focus on the areas that are most important then go from there. Also, if you need ideas on how to improve your work environment, ask the people who make up that environment and what they would like to see. Again, involving your employees in some company decisions creates a stronger team.
Ways to Create Great Company Culture
So now that you know the type of organizational culture your business falls under and you have done an assessment and figured out where you need to make improvements, let’s talk about the starting points of a great culture which you can easily implement within your organization.
First, great company culture comes down to the people you hire. While you may define the values, the mission and the goals of your organization, it’s up to the team to enforce those rules and develop the culture of the company. It’s important to have a cohesive team that’s willing to trade ideas, praises and sometimes even lunch recommendations to develop a positive culture within your company. Choosing individuals who are a right fit for your organization may be challenging at times, but while you may have your own plans for your company, as your team grows you may find that it can change for the better. According to Fortune.com, these are some ways you can build a great company culture:
- Start off with clear goals and reward your employees for results. People are interested in knowing what they are responsible for and how they are being evaluated. Setting clear goals, assigning responsibility and defining success is important for improved productivity. People will worry less about what to do and focus more on how to get things done.
- Empower your team. Today, many people work in small organized teams and great companies let them decide how to succeed. When people take ownership for their work and the results, they take it more seriously because it become a reflection of who they are.
- Continued learning, talent mobility and agility is key. Rather than letting people own their jobs and stay stagnant, encourage them to move around and change roles. They will learn more, develop important skills and may offer great ides to other departments within the organization.
- Training and learning is valuable. Even though no organization does everything right and no individual is perfect, great companies look at problems as an opportunity to learn and improve. Organizations that give people time and resources to learn are usually the ones who push ahead.
- Know where your company is going. Great company leaders inspire through vision and culture. Communicate meaningful and inspirational direction and live up to the culture of the organization. People want to be a part of a winning team and when leaders align with each other and communicate well, people will want to get on board and want to succeed.
While the culture that works for one company might not work for another, you can definitely take a look at what other companies are doing to improve their workplace environment and improve employee productivity. This may help you get started on some company traditions of your own such as company dinners, lunches, charitable work and celebrations. Some great companies to look at are Google, Facebook, Progressive, Discover, P&G, Walt Disney, Nike, Apple and Twitter.
When looking at some of these examples, think about the goals of your organization. The right culture will fit the direction and strategy of your company. Additionally, hire people who fit your culture. People want to feel like they belong. Have your employees know that you are a team and not just a group of individuals. Ultimately, encouraging your employees while ensuring customer satisfaction is the best balance. Talking to your employees about what they like and dislike about the workplace will help you understand what changes need to be made to create a healthy company culture.
So what’s your company culture like? Share your thoughts with us!