Defining your Company Culture
Company culture is a popular buzz word in today’s business world; but what is it? The dictionary definitions of the two separate words are listed below:
Company: a number of individuals assembled or associated together; group of people
Culture: the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group
So what happens when you combine the two?
The behaviors and beliefs of a group of people
Of course, effectively combining the two concepts is something easier said than done. Company culture is difficult to create. It takes time, patience, sweat and sometimes even tears. And it takes a lot to keep it going once off the ground. But good organizations make the investment to do it right.
Difference: Perks and Culture
In a recent article on Entrepreneur.com appropriately titled Good Company Culture Is Not About Silly, Attention-Grabbing Perks the author gives a few examples of companies that became well known for perks that they offered to their employees. Such as paying for a wedding or for college tuition for employee’s children, but those companies still were known for having a bad company culture.
Culture is about more than expensive gifts, fancy office spaces, or free food. It is deeper than that. Culture comes from the hearts and minds of the people at the top – and is only successful when those feelings trickle down to every part of the company. Even more, it is about commitment to the principles that define your culture, even when it costs something.
Defining Culture or Building Culture?
Do you already have a company culture – and are just looking for a way to define it, to be able to explain it to others so you can keep the momentum going and build in the future?
Or perhaps you a new company looking to define your culture while trying to establish a beach-head on the shores of market viability?
Either way, the process begins with defining your core values. This shouldn’t be too difficult, most people know what factors are important to them. What should your business be about, how will we get things done, what will our offices would look like, who will we hire, how do we motivate, reward, why?
Once you figure out what you want your culture to be, make it part of the fabric of your company’s DNA.
Talk about it, consistently. Have it inform your business decisions. If you define it, put it on the wall and never look at it again, that is not culture.
For example, is one of the characteristics you value hard work? It will be something you talk about from the interview process on and communic
ating in a tangible way day in and out. Are the people who lead in this value recognized for that leadership? Rewarded?
What are you doing, or what can you be doing better to make sure your company culture is thriving.
How the World Sees You
Company culture is also a major factor to prospective employees who will look at a company’s website and social media presence before deciding whether or not to apply to a job. How you portray your company online is important. But more important is making sure that the online portrayal is an accurate representation of life at your company. You could have the best social media presence in your industry, it could look like a blast to work at your company, but if reality doesn’t stack up, none of it will matter.
People are smart, they sniff out a phony ‘lip-service’ culture quickly. The truth will come to light the very first time uncorrected activities occur or a decision is made that runs counter to your ‘culture’.
Make sure you not only promote a great company culture, but take a look around and make sure the values you want your company to represent are actually happening.
The idea of creating a company culture is a challenge. It is about creating for your employees a consistent environment that fosters the respect and passion that you wish to model. We reap what we sow…make it good, make it consistent and it will serve you well!