What is company culture, and how does it affect the values of your company?BusinessDictionary.com defines “Company Culture” as follows:
“Organizational culture includes an organization’s expectations, experiences, philosophy, and values that hold it together, and is expressed iin its self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations. It is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten rules that have been developed over time and are considered valid.”
Company culture is intangible. However, it affects not only your employees, but also your clients or customers. So how can you evaluate and manage your company culture to ensure that your employees want to come to work every day, but also that your employees are representing your company mission and culture to your customers?
Mission and Values
The environment of any company evolves over time. Many companies I work with on a regular basis have written mission and values statements. However, if you were to talk to the employees of those companies, they would not be able to explain how the company defines itself, or if they did, they would not know where they fit into achieving that mission/vision. When there is a breakdown in communication from the executive team, it often adversely affects the culture of the entire workplace.
If culture is defined only by “unwritten rules” and the executive team has not communicated with the staff the importance of their roles to the company’s success, the culture may suffer greatly. This is because employees often do not focus on the good things you have done as their employer, but instead, take an attitude of “What have you done for me llately?”
It is clear that company culture breaks down when its leadership ignores, glosses over or does not communicate effectively regarding difficult situations within the company, i.e. terminations, big policy changes, reorganizations, compensation structure changes, vision changes, etc. If your employees do not understand the “why” behind these changes, it is often difficult for them to support them, resulting in a lagging or negative culture.
There are many different ways to measure your company culture. I know many CEOs who walk around the company and talk to each staff member every day. Anonymous surveys, which can be conducted via free online survey software like SurveyMonkey, also are effective. However, a very easy way to gauge your company culture is to talk to a few clients. If your employees are unhappy, it will be reflected in your employees’ attitudes towards your end customers.
If your employee survey comes back with negative feedback, the first place to start is with frequent and honest communication with your employees. This can be done in several ways:
- A quarterly (or monthly) company meeting
- Frequent company update emails
- Request for the employees’ input on some of the things they would like to see implemented or changed
- Reiterate the value and importance of employees to the company
Each of your employees chose to work for your company for a reason. Find out what those reasons are and tap into them!
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