Corporate culture isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a phenomenon that businesses of all sizes and across all industries are talking about—both in public media and private boardrooms across the nation.
The management team at our employee rewards company identified culture as the number one priority for this coming year, and we’re definitely not the only group focusing on that particular aspect of business success.
Why is company culture important? Simply put, for businesses operating in 2019, culture is everything.
What Happens With Bad Company Culture?
To understand the business world’s current obsession with corporate culture, you need to get an accurate picture of what it looks like when corporate culture is less than ideal.
At one point or another, we’ve all been in an office with a culture based in stress, complaints, demands, or laziness. Here’s what that looks like:
- The water cooler on the sales floor is a hotbed of under-your-breath complaints and furtive over-your-shoulder glances, making sure no managers are within earshot. Disgruntled employees spend their time poisoning other employees, as misery loves company. And worse, they love to stick around, hurting your bottom line.
- Team members clock in and clock out mindlessly, never getting deep enough into projects to come into work early or voluntarily work through lunch. They don’t engage with their work or genuinely interact with each other, and at the end of the workday, they go home feeling simultaneously bored and exhausted.
- The HR team deals with a consistent problem of absenteeism and tardiness and is constantly having to mediate conflicts between managers and employees. Manpower is the most precious resource, and it always seems like there’s just not enough to go around.
- Your team is a constant revolving door of new hires. Nobody sticks around long enough to be a true asset to your company. You’re constantly training new recruits who you hope will remain with the company for longer than six months.
Companies with poor culture are places where employees dread coming into work. They’re disgruntled and disengaged, and the company’s bottom line is seriously impacted by this lapse in productivity and employee longevity.
This is why good company culture is so important—because without it, your firm becomes a place where good employees don’t stick around for long.
Good Company Culture Brings Powerful Benefits
On the other hand, good company culture completely transforms this scenario. There’s a reason companies like Google and Apple are so highly praised for their company culture—because it makes work immensely more meaningful, manageable, and fun.
What does this look like in the life of your business?
When company culture is good, you’re doing your part to ensure team members leave work every day saying “I love my job!” You’ll see team members going to happy hours after work and building a valuable community outside the office. You’ll witness teams going all in with creativity and innovation when they start on new projects.
Appreciation, respect, passion, and vision are all critical aspects of good company culture. These are powerful motivators that also impact your employee retention rates. With a positive culture, you’ll feel less pressure as an employer to offer high-dollar raises and expensive benefits in order to retain your best people.
You’ll also notice people talking about your culture—specifically, by writing glowing reviews of your firm on Glassdoor and Indeed.
To understand how big a role culture plays in these reviews, check out Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work for 2019. Out of the top ten companies listed, eight feature employee reviews that mention company culture. This is one detail millennial applicants will pick up on immediately, and if your firm is interested in recruiting a young and talented workforce, you need to hone in on this elusive concept. It solidifies your brand identity—and brand experience—for employees, new hires, and customers alike.
With those benefits, who wouldn’t want to build a business around a culture of recognition, connection, and gratitude?
Practical Steps to Improve Your Corporate Culture
At this point, CEOs across the nation are hearing the clarion call to focus on culture. The hard part is figuring out how to influence a social, emotional, and environmental change within an organization that is already operational. Most companies fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes explored in this article and require small but mighty changes over time to mold their culture into the picture of positivity.
To start improving your company culture right now, try these steps:
1. Research Culture.
If you’re not sure which specific areas in your cultural landscape need pruning, try researching what works for other firms. Consult with other CEOs in companies similar to yours (and in companies you strive to emulate) and observe their culture firsthand if possible. Netflix’s culture manifesto is also a fantastic resource.
Note: it’s important that your culture and values can be summed up in just a few words. You don’t need a 7-page publication by any means.
2. Get Feedback.
Next, look inward at your company to discover exactly what your culture is like. Ask for anonymous, honest feedback from your employees and their managers. You’ll gain valuable insights into how they feel about their work, how they feel about their colleagues, and how they feel about your company as a whole.
3. Establish Values.
If you haven’t already, establish a concrete set of values that your company will prioritize. For our call center clients, that list might include “unparalleled customer service” and “impressive attention to detail.” These values form the backbone of your culture, so choose wisely.
4. Model Accurately.
Company culture—good or bad—starts with leadership. So it’s entirely your responsibility as an employer to model the thoughts, feelings, and behavior you’d like to see across your company. Collaborate with your managers to discover specific ways you can display those values in your everyday correspondence, meetings, and big decisions.
5. Manage Performance.
Finally, it’s time to get the team on board. The best way to impact culture on the ground level is to change the way you manage performance at your company. You need to recognize, incentivize, and reward your employees for meeting productivity and cultural standards—and the easiest way to do that is through implementing a custom employee rewards program. You’ll instantly change the way your employees feel about working harder and setting bigger goals and systematize a company-wide feeling of appreciation and respect.
Company culture is important because it impacts everything about how your company runs—from the very moment a potential hire discovers you on LinkedIn to the way an exiting employee writes about you on Glassdoor. By prioritizing these conversations and engaging in activities that help you understand and improve your corporate culture, you can begin to differentiate your firm among a vast and competitive marketplace.
At Inproma, we’re experts at helping companies improve their culture, engagement, and retention. We create custom employee recognition programs that incentivize and appreciate employees for achieving their goals. Our biggest goal is for everyone to enjoy coming to work—and our programs make that happen for firms across a wide variety of industries. Ready to jumpstart your company culture improvement? Let’s talk.