The term “company culture” has undoubtedly become a buzzword, but this doesn’t mean the concept lacks merit or importance. Indeed, the importance of company culture cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, it cannot be easily quantified either. Every company operates differently, after all, and there are no hard and fast rules for establishing, maintaining, or adjusting a company’s culture. That said, if your business is falling behind, losing employees, struggling to onboard solid people, etc., chances are your culture is the culprit, at least in part.
Conversely, a strong company culture often yields growth, boosts morale, increases reputation, and spurs innovation. Why? Simply put, humans are social creatures that thrive in environments that offer and encourage both freedom and collaboration. If we don’t feel comfortable expressing our ideas in an open, receptive environment, a lot will go unsaid, and a company can grow stale as a result. Likewise, people perform their best when they enjoy their work and the atmosphere in which they work — this atmosphere directly stems from culture.
So, the question remains: have you established a strong company culture? If you’re not sure, here are some ways to assess your current culture in order to improve it.
How to Establish a Strong Company Culture
Remember: Performance Often Reflects Culture
As just mentioned above, employee and team performance is inextricably linked to culture. Other factors come into play, of course, such as competence, how well someone fits their role, and elements that are mostly out of anyone’s control. For the most part, though, one way to gauge your current culture is to track performance. If you notice a decline or consistent lack of progress, these issues may stem from cultural issues. Perhaps employees do not feel adequately incentivized to perform better. Maybe there is a general lack of enthusiasm or morale. Team members may not feel well-connected, either, which can impede communication.
Turn to Your Turnover Rates
Your business’ turnover rates can also cue you into cultural problems. Some level of turnover is to be expected in any enterprise — people move, change careers, find better opportunities, and so on. However, if your company experiences high levels of turnover for your industry, this speaks to a weak, potentially toxic company culture. Strong company cultures make everyone feel welcomed and valued day in and day out. And team members are more likely to stick with a company that recognizes their contributions and compensates them accordingly. So, if you want to hang on to your best people, you must cultivate such a culture.
Recognize The Role of Human Resources
If your goal is to create and maintain a great company culture, you must properly invest in your human resources (HR) department. One of the main goals of HR departments is to build and influence a company’s culture for the betterment of all employees, teams, and the organization as a whole. In order to do this, HR leaders take on a number of responsibilities, such as facilitating training, education and communication; identifying, clarifying, and reinforcing company values; empowering individuals and teams; mediating, mitigating, and solving issues; recognizing individuals, teams, and organizational efforts, and more. HR leaders also play a pivotal role in the hiring process, helping to identify candidates that will fit into and/or enhance the existing company culture.
Hear From Your People
One of the best ways to get a pulse on your organization’s culture is to receive feedback from those within the company. You might distribute a standardized, anonymized company culture survey to collect key data. Your survey might feature a list of questions, prompts, and/or parameters for individuals to answer directly and/or rate on a scale of 1-5, “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree,” etc., such as:
- I feel like I have the opportunity to grow in this organization
- I like what I do
- I feel valued
- I trust my team
- I feel comfortable speaking my mind
- I feel heard
This information can be used to make sweeping and granular changes within your business to improve and adjust the culture as needed.
Finding the Balance Between Stability and Flexibility
A strong company culture is not necessarily an unmovable company culture. Put another way, the best workplace cultures should be sturdy but flexible enough to adapt to new challenges and developments. While businesses should exercise caution when changing company culture, they should not fear doing so when it is truly called for. Finding this balance between stability and flexibility is not always easy, which is why it is so important to collaborate closely with your HR departments, employees, and teams to establish a set of shared values that will properly move the organization, and everyone in it, forward.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.