Company Culture: Your Strongest Asset or Biggest Liability?

No longer can company culture be thought of as a trendy catchphrase or as a workplace with nap pods, Nerf guns, and employees riding Segways up and down the hallways. This soft concept has hard results in terms of employee retention, productivity, a company’s reputation, and overall success. Whether by default or design, culture exists in every organization. Culture is not a tangible thing; it is fluid, dynamic, ever-changing and always evolving.

A company’s culture is comprised of the shared values, missions, and goals of the company, employees, stakeholders, and customers. An organization’s culture acts as its identity and personality. Yet, many companies fail to view culture as a serious business issue and merely take a passive approach. Employers should treat company culture in the same manner as other valued business objectives, including financial growth, sales, marketing, and product development. Many factors, including procedures and policies (or lack thereof), leadership style, hierarchy, job titles, workplace atmosphere, and overall demographics help to shape a company’s culture.

Below are some tips on how to make your company’s culture a strong business asset:

• Culture is a “must-have,” not a “nice-to-have”. On average, employees will spend approximately 30 percent of their lives working. This is a fact employees know well, which is why many people will not stay at a job for too long if they are unhappy. When companies provide a work environment and atmosphere where employees are comfortable and motivated to work, employee morale will increase. In turn, there will be greater employee retention and increased productivity.

• A good company culture not only attracts but retains talent. New employees should be hired based on skill set or experience as well as because they fit in with your company’s culture. Talent may get employees in the door, but your culture is why they will stay. Employers should remember that gaps in skill sets can be closed over time by training. However, it is nearly impossible to change who people are at their core. Turnover costs can range from tens of thousands of dollars to two times the employee’s annual salary, hence, it is important to strive to retain as many employees as possible. Employers must view hiring as an investment in their company. Bad hiring decisions can quickly frustrate top talent when employees fail to fit in with your culture.

• Culture strengthens loyalty and promotes teamwork among employees. A company’s culture has a tangible impact on employees’ commitment to their job, team, manager, and organization. Employees should value the work they do and enjoy coming to the office. A company with poor culture will undoubtedly have employees who dread coming to work. A strong, healthy culture provides employees with a purpose and goals they strive to meet. A healthy culture will increase the employees’ willingness to go above and beyond their regular job responsibilities. Employees want to feel they are a part of and contributing to something larger than themselves.

• Culture builds your brand’s identity and differentiates your company from the competition. The more your employees, stakeholders, and customers understand and identify with your company, the more customers are likely to buy from you or clients are likely to refer business to you. Consumers want to feel a connection to your business, and it is your culture that will help form this bond. By viewing culture as an external issue as well as an internal issue, it will be easier to attract your target consumers, making your business the clear and obvious choice over competitors.

• Finally, culture can turn your employees into advocates. Leverage your employees to seek out the right people to hire. Good talent knows other good talent. Let your company’s culture encourage employees to share their positive experiences at work to enhance your company’s reputation. Motivating employees to speak positively on your organization’s behalf not only will increase the quality of candidates for hire, but can also bring in new business and more customers.



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